The Service at Din Tai Fung - Arcadia
For every blog post that I've written about Din Tai Fung (there are two thus far: read them HERE and HERE), I've made at least five more visits to the restaurant that remain undocumented. Really, there's not much else I can say about the food. It remains as excellent as it's always been. The crisp snap of their flash-fried sauteed green beans; the anise aroma and vinegar tang of their dark-as-tea spicy beef soup; and, of course, the reason there is a Din Tai Fung: those perfectly steamed, broth-spewing juicy pork dumplings--a creation that has inspired two hour lines, and a few years ago, a second restaurant right next door.
In terms of the food, my most recent visit this weekend was no different than others; but their service seems to have been transformed. What was efficient but cold has become a model that all Chinese restaurant, nay, all restaurants should follow. The staff is all smiles, even obsequious and, dare I say, caring?
One uniformed hostess offered cups of ice water to those waiting outside in the Arcadia heat. When we were seated, our table was ready and spotless, the chopsticks and other accouterments in place.
We asked for water and they provided an icy carafe that was constantly changed out with a fresh one when they saw we were running low. Meals were still delivered promptly, the dishes ticked off from our tableside roster as each one came. Empty plates were whisked away to make room for what was next.
Another notable change: menus with pictures that eliminate the mystery of ordering for customers who, these days, aren't just Chinese speakers. Because of this picture menu, I discovered Din Tai Fung now offers marinated cucumbers: slightly salty, perky, sesame-oil scented rounds stacked like green bricks and whose cool and crunchy bite sent a frigid shiver up my spine.
And when we couldn't eat another bite, they took away our leftovers, packed it neatly in boxes, the soup in an air-tight lidded container, everything wrapped and tied up in specially-designed carry out bags that has a tie-down strap in the middle. It's probably the most ingenious plastic bag in the country. Yes, I'm obsessing on the bag...the same way they seem to be obsessing on customer service these days.
Din Tai Fung #2
1088 S. Baldwin Ave.
Arcadia, CA 91007
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