Pershing Chinese Restaurant

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 Pershing duck

Pershing isn't exactly the name you'd expect for a Chinese restaurant, but that was one of the things I liked about it. No, make that the only thing I liked about it. Unfortunately, this newcomer in the plaza at the corner of Semoran Boulevard and, making sense of the name, Pershing Avenue is a little too much like most of the other Chinese restaurants in Central Florida: mediocre.

The steamed dumplings were flavorless, and so was the watery dipping sauce. My entree of roast duck looked impressive, and it might have tasted better, too, if it had been heated through. It was stone cold. I suppose I should be happy it wasn't sitting out at room temperature, but it would have been nice to have it heated up. And it was all quite dry, the duck meat, the broccoli and the rice. All perfect for a bland diet.

But what made the experience even less pleasant was that I felt as though I had walked into the owners' living room when I entered the storefront space. And I don't mean that in a good and welcoming way. All the workers were in the dining room staring at a sporting event on the large television. One got up to wait on me while most of the others kept watching. And when my food was delivered everyone went into the kitchen and returned with their owb bowls of food, which they sat eating while continuing to watch the tv. I felt more like an intruder than a guest.

I wish this was unusual, but when we're talking about Chinese restaurants this sort of thing seems to be the norm. Why is that? We've seen such great improvements in the quality of ethnic restaurants over the years. The big exception is the category of Chinese cuisine. I suppose we put up with it because they offer plentiful food for modest prices. But they won't get better until we start demanding that they do.

Pershing Chinese Restaurant is at 4542 S. Semoran Blvd., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-282-1882.