4985 Summer Avenue
Team Oster likes to drive up and down Summer Avenue in pursuit of groceries, car parts, hardware, and food. Yang's is one of those places that we've passed a million times. And each time Warren says, "Have you ever eaten there?" which really means, "Wanna eat there?" I always look in the window and report that the place is empty, which is my code for "Let's go somewhere else."
On Saturday I was in a rather conciliatory mood so when Warren asked if I'd ever eaten at Yang's, I said, "We can go if you want." He drove past and I looked in the window. Again it looked empty, but then I spotted a man reading his newspaper. "There's someone there," I said. That was all Warren needed to hear.
The kids (Satchel, 6, and Jiro, 5), who had not even eaten breakfast, were claiming they weren't hungry because our next stop was Target. (They needed to buy a birthday present for their friend. However, they each had birthday money of their own saved up and were already plotting their purchases.) I started listing some menu items for them, "They have hamburgers, chicken tenders, sandwiches, Chinese food..." Satchel looked at me and pointed at the chips lining the counter. "I'll have two bags of Doritos," he said. "I'll have Cheetos," Jiro added. I quickly disabused them of this idea. "You need to eat something else," I stressed. Eventually they agreed to split an order of chicken wings. I told them to get their chips and sit down.
Then Warren and I stared at the vast menu and tried to figure out what we wanted to eat. (Frankly I didn't want anything, but I was humoring Warren.) "I guess I'll try a gyro," I said uncharacteristically. I never order the gyro--not even at Elliot's where it is supposed to be awesome. (I think that's what I was imagining when I ordered it.)
Warren was leaning towards Chinese food, which I thought was smart since they had several signs saying they specialized in "Chinese food and sandwich since 1983." He finally decided on General Tso's chicken, which came with fried rice and an egg roll. By now I was wondering if a gyro counted as a sandwich and if I had ordered the right thing. There was a table of guys nearby and I tried to see what they were eating, but their food was hidden in their little red baskets.
I ordered four waters and waited patiently for the nice pregnant woman behind the counter to ring me up. When she presented me with four gigantic styrofoam cups full of water, Warren pointed out that I was being charged .25 for each cup. Our final bill came to $21 and I found myself in one of those "Should I tip?" situations when my credit card receipt came with a line for the tip. It looked like there was one guy cooking and that he was also in charge of delivering the food, so I added a three dollar tip.
We joined the boys at the table and I resisted the urge to list the dozen other places on Summer Avenue where I would rather blow $24. The boys were just about done with their chips and each was covered in fake cheese powder. I did my best to clean them off before they started wiping orange funk all over their shirts. Meanwhile Warren said, "I think this place has an identity crisis." I looked up and he directed my attention to the antlers and bass fish mounted on the wall next to the Christmas lights. "They have highchairs though," he added, trying to remain positive.
Due to there only being one guy doing all of the cooking, we had plenty of time to take in the ambiance. The most noticeable aspect of the dining room was the small TV mounted to the ceiling. After ten minutes or so it dawned on me that it was tuned to QVC or some other advertising channel. It was very loud and very annoying.
Jiro needed to freshen up, so I escorted him to the restroom area. It was painted Pepto Bismol pink. Despite this, and the general dilapidated state of the restaurant, it still appeared clean-ish.
A few minutes after we sat back down, our food arrived piping hot.
One look at my gyro and I knew that I had made a mistake. The meat was sliced very thin and looked very processed. "Uh-oh," I said. Thankfully Warren did not get mad. He offered to share his with me, and then eventually eat mine. His chicken was okay--nothing spectacular. The fried rice was just rice and very boring. The egg roll was okay. Jiro declared his chicken wings "nasty" without even tasting them, but Satchel ate the one he agreed to eat when I let him get the Doritos. I tried one and they were fine. I glanced around for hot sauce, but didn't see any, so I just ate it plain.
Eventually the kids were begging for quarters for the gum machine and most of the food on our table was gone. (The order of fries proving to be the most popular item.) While we were there people continued to filter in. I kept trying to see what everyone was eating, convinced that Yang's must have some secret treasure hidden among the hundreds of menu items.
Maybe it's the muffaletta?
I won't be back to find out.
After all of the comments, Warren and I couldn't resist driving through for a muffaletta on our way home from the movies. It is definitely worth going back for--and I liked the drive-thru experience much more than dining in. Now we just feel silly for ordering Chinese food!