Ally
4406 Del Rio Road, Sacramento, CA 95822. (916) 457-8818





My dad left Tuesday morning and I'll admit I'm a bit blue about it. We had a great time during the week he was here, puttering about town. Since he loves Chinese food, we popped over to South Land Park and visited Macau Cafe on Monday for lunch. Macau Cafe offers both Chinese and Portuguese dishes so I figured it would be a good bet that he could find something he'd like there. I hadn't been there in quite awhile so I crossed my fingers and hoped that the food there was still good. I had forgotten about the Sunflower Market opening up in the same shopping plaza; but luckily, parking was still plentiful. The interior of the Macau Cafe had changed very little since my last visit- casual, clean atmosphere, walls covered in colorful photographs of their food and an entirely Asian clientele (always a good sign). My Pops and I were sat immediately at a large table to the right, next to a man happily gnawing his way through a plate of whole crab in chili sauce. The table was nice and roomy but it made it a bit difficult to chat. (At some points during our lunch I felt like we were like the two guys from the Muppets yelling at each other across the table.) We were each handed a large book-like menu. Pops was pretty impressed that such a little restaurant had such an extensive menu. There had to be over 200 dishes in the book. It took awhile for us to look over the vast array of offerings. Their menu ranges from authentic dishes to the more mainstream. Congee, Portuguese style curry, stir-fried frog with bitter melon, lobster e-fu noodles, pan fried duck bills, goose intestines in black bean sauce and Macau style crispy pig knuckles are just a few of the more exotic dishes offered at the Macau Cafe. If you tend to be a bit of a timid eater though, don't let those dishes scare you off; they do offer an array of clay pot, soup and noodle dishes as well.

The last time I was there, I decided to try the steamed flounder along with a plate of pan-fried turnip cakes in XO sauce. The flounder was perfectly cooked and took center stage- it softly flaked away from the bones as we jabbed our chopsticks into the flesh. The fish was moist and tender with a nice, robust ginger flavor. The turnip cakes on the other hand, fell flat. The cakes were soggy and luke-warm and the sauce lacked any sort of flavor. This visit though, I was craving some clams. I ordered the clams in black bean sauce and my Pops went with the shrimp in lobster sauce. Our waitress brought out my dish first and I knew immediately that she had misunderstood my order. I had wanted the clams in black bean sauce entree but she had mistakenly ordered me the clams in black bean sauce over chow fun, which was one of the day's specials. Instead of sending it back, I decided to go with it- especially since the chow fun noodles looked quite appetizing. My Pop's food hadn't come out yet but he encouraged me to start eating, so I did. Halfway through eating my lunch I stopped, as I noticed he still hadn't received his food. It took about a good, long 15 minutes after my order came out for his to arrive at the table and I think that was only because I sat there staring at the waitress until she acknowledged that the food was going to be coming out (easing my fears that she had forgotten to put in his order). I resumed eating once his dish hit the table but was a little perturbed as my food had cooled down considerably by then. Service throughout our meal was spotty but the portions and quality of the food didn't disappoint. The servings are generous (we had leftovers to bring home) and both of us enjoyed our orders. My dish had about 10-12 clams nestled on top of a hearty serving of stir-fried chow fun noodles. There was just enough black bean sauce and onion slices to add flavor but not so much so that it overwhelmed the dish.

Overall, I was glad we decided to lunch at Macau Cafe. The Pops enjoyed his meal and said it was one of the best Chinese meals he'd eaten since leaving New York (high praise indeed!). Definitely, keeping it on the "must return" list.

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