I have eaten many meals at Panda Inn in my life, as far back as I can remember, but I have not been there in several years. Yesterday I made plans to go to lunch with my mom and I suggested Panda Inn. (Some of my cousins were in town last week and they went to dinner at Panda with my parents but I wasn't able to go. They got 11 dishes in total and said they were all great, and I have been thinking about going to Panda for the last week.)
Like many Chinese restaurants, Panda Inn has several lunch specials. With the entree you get soup, a salad, rice, and an egg roll. I was torn between the orange chicken, lemon shrimp, and "spicy trio." I also considered for a moment ordering the sweet & pungent shrimp entree off the regular menu. That was always my favorite item. But I didn't need a full entree and I was craving an egg roll, so I decided just to stick with a lunch entree. Panda Inn, the precursor to Panda Express, is well known for their orange chicken, but you can get orange chicken lots of places these days. I opted for the spicy trio: chicken, beef, shrimp and vegetables in a spicy garlic sauce.
The waiter came over to our table. "Hi," I said. He gave me a dirty look and barked "OK, you ready to order?" People are so annoying sometimes.
I first got my hot & sour soup. This was good but not great. It was the thickest hot & sour soup I have ever had, almost gelatinous. I much preferred the soup at Fortune just down the street back when they were good (which hasn't been for years.) My plate arrived and I was impressed with the amount of food. The salad was great. The egg roll had a delicious filling. Unfortunately there wasn't very much of it.
All of my meat was good, as were the veggies. The shrimp was the best but, not surprisingly, there wasn't very much of it. I think there were only three of them. The beef was good and the chicken was really good. The garlic sauce was excellent. It wasn't spicy but it was very flavorful. There was plenty leftover and I used some of it on the rice.
My mom had the mango duck salad. It was a very large portion. She kept offering me some but I do not like either mango or duck. Eventually she put a piece of duck on my plate and told me how good it was and that I should try it. So I did. It was better than almost any duck I have ever tried, but I still didn't like it.
After we ate we received two complimentary white chocolate fortune cookies. These are reason alone to eat at Panda Inn. I remember being younger and my parents buying these by the dozen. They never lasted long; sometimes they would be consumed before we got home.
This was a really nice meal and very reasonably priced. Although I have not been to Panda in years, I intend to return soon to try some other lunch specials.