Little Peking's hostess repeats the name of each dish several times in careful Chinese-accented English, confirming the caller's take out order.
"Okay. Beef with Broccoli, General's Chicken, Pork Fried Rice, and Hot Sour Soup. 15 minute."
People are wild about the Honey Walnut Prawns here, and many a table had an Assorted Appetizer ($7.50) plate of egg roll, bbq pork, cream cheese fried won tons and fried prawns. In fact, if you go for Family Style Dinner B ($29), you'll get their appetizer assortment, choice of Hot & Sour Egg Drop or Won-ton Soup, Beef with Broccoli, and General Tso's Chicken along with Steamed Rice or BBQ Pork Fried Rice. And you best stick with their bread and butter.
Our server was young, sweet, and laughed at how many items we were ordering. The staff did their best to stagger our dishes so as to fit all of them on our table. For a non dim sum restaurant, they have a curious practice of delivering (and taking away) most of their dishes on a cart. Think big portions and lots of leftovers.
This is the kind of place where you should get your Moo Shu on. I chose to go for the Shredded Pork Peking Style ($9.50), mostly based on the providence of the restaurant name. Simply sliced pork is plated with slender scallion threads, a pot of plum paste, and six lacily-edged pancakes.
Order enough dishes and they'll remove the salt and pepper shakers if you need more room on your table, but you need to request a side bowl of chile sauce if you care to turn up the heat.
And this is my main beef — please do not get my hopes up by billing yourself as a Szechuan restaurant (granted "Peking Szechuan" should have been a clue) with fiery-looking pictures on your website. I WANT to sweat. I WANT my mouth to go numb from hua jiao, China's flower pepper. Judging by the happy diners around me, I have a feeling I am in the minority. You can get your spice fix next door at La Fuente.
Little Peking taunted my expectations with Double Color Shrimp ($14.95), a dish divided beautifully by orange halves, but neither yin nor yang worked. The Yang, or darker side, was so sweet with a ketchup-y sauce that all three of us left it virtually uneaten. The Yin portion had the opposite problem, like a frumpy wallflower beside a diva. Bland prawns made wokked pea pods seem exciting by comparison.
Pleasant wait staff don't pepper you with questions about spice quotients, just if you'd like a serving of rice. Szechuan Chicken ($9.50) was on the special board, yet proved to be as meek as the rest. The chicken was remarkably tender for white meat, flavored by a few whole chiles, onions, red and green pepper slices, and the questionable addition of fermented black beans.
The Kung Pao Tofu ($9.50) off the Chef Specialties menu was featured as a Hot & Spicy item — Yet, devoid of spice and peanuts. All the water chestnuts, snow peas, garlic, bok choy, and broccoli crowns in the world couldn't win me over.
Looking for simple and clean flavors, I ordered Fish Fillets with Ginger & Scallion ($15.50). Wrong again. I envisioned a plate of steamed fish fillets, but received a plate of catfish chunks coated in a tempura-esque-batter, drizzled with a brown sauce, and a boatload of chopped ginger and green onions.
If I sound acrid, all I have to do is look at a receipt for $81.03 before tip, to feel justifiably incensed. If you love Little Peking, keep ordering Dinner B ($29 for two). It's your best bet by far...
3217 Sunset Blvd NE, Renton, WA 98056
Mon. - Thurs. 11 a.m. - 9:20 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m.- 9:30 p.m.
Saturday 4 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Sunday noon - 9:20 p.m.