Often, when I go with a group to an Asian restaurant, especially if it's one I've written about, I end up doing the bulk of the ordering. I'm happy, in fact happier, if everybody has a hand in choosing, but sometimes the others are overwhelmed by the long menus and many similar-sounding dishes. How to choose from among half a dozen braised pork dishes at China Village in Albany, the best Szechuan restaurant in the Bay Area (hint: They're all delicious); or the many shrimp dishes at open-until-3 a.m. Yuet Lee on Stockton (where you should try the crispy garlic shrimp, roasted in the shell); or the five or more species of crab at the excellent Hong Kong–style South Sea Seafood Village on Irving (local Dungeness crab in season is sweet, meaty, and cheaper than the exotic imports)? Knowledge is power. Eating often at a place is the key to assembling a swell meal selection. And sometimes it's delightful to hand your menu back and say, "I'll have what he's having." Having someone else order for the table is a rare treat in my life, not to mention counterintuitive. But a recent trip to Marnee Thai with a greedy friend who has eaten there frequently was one of those rare treats — although I couldn't help... More >>>
A full house at Marnee Thai must choose from an extensive menu.