By Michelle Morano
Where in Leominster can you find sushi and Chinese food that looks and tastes like it belongs on the Food Network? At Tang Dynasty, located at 638 North Main St.
Discreetly set back from the road, nestled between two other seemingly vacant businesses, Tang Dynasty seems an unlikely place to find a gourmet dining experience.
On a recent visit to the restaurant, I was warmly greeted by the owner and his young daughter, who was dressed as a princess. The spacious dining area was sparsely populated. On the far wall I saw a long sushi bar, where the chefs create sushi masterpieces. Adjoining the dining room is the bar and lounge area, where the owner occasionally hosts comedy nights. The right wall is set up for buffets on Sunday nights, which cost $25 for all-you-can-eat Chinese food and sushi.
Our waiter, the owner’s teenage son, delivered prompt service with a smile and even gave me a lesson in pronunciation of menu items. After scanning the extensive menu I eventually decided on the Spider Maki Roll ($10.50). The roll consists of soft-shell tempura crab, avocado, cucumber, tobiko (the roe of flying fish) and spicy mayo.
My companion ordered the Red Tide Maki Roll ($13.95), which is filled with shrimp tempura, cucumber topped with yellow-fin tuna, black sesame seeds and chili sauce.
When our food was served, my jaw literally dropped. The plate looked like it belonged on the cover of Bon Appetit magazine. Both rolls had been expertly assembled on the same dish, with colors as vibrant as the flavors. One bite of the Spider Maki Roll had my taste buds rejoicing. The savory crunch of the tempura crab wrapped up with a kick of the spicy mayo and a touch of soy sauce was delicous.
The Red Tide Maki Roll was also scrumptious, but the chili sauce was overwhelmingly spicy.
The absolutely delicious food combined with the very reasonably priced menu and the warm, friendly service make this family-owned restaurant a hidden gem in Leominster.