El Estoque

Restaurant Roulette: XLB Kitchen

Ishani Singh

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]wice a month, El Estoque goes to restaurants around the area and takes a chance by asking the waiter to suggest food for us to try. This week, we continued the alphabetical theme by going to XLB Kitchen in Cupertino.

XLB Kitchen is a small Chinese restaurant tucked away off of De Anza Blvd. We arrived at around 12  p.m. on a Sunday, and were met with a short ten minute wait. The restaurant itself is compact, but does provide outdoor seating. The interior is decorated simply with little on its white walls, contributing to the casual and comfortable atmosphere.


Green Onion Pancake – $4.95

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The appetizer was, ironically, the last dish brought to the table. The small triangular pancakes were thin and crispy, but slightly excessive in oil. The portion size was ideal, though the pancakes themselves were slightly bland, seeming to lack a distinctive flavor. The dish definitely could have been improved with the addition of a sauce or curry on the side.

Rating: 6/10


Griddle Chicken Wings – $12.95

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The griddle chicken wings included an extremely unique combination of spices and seasoning. Despite the unmistakable flavor of the chicken, the other vegetables like the bell peppers and the corn in the dish failed to stay on par. The taste was inconsistent throughout the dish, with some elements spicier or less cooked than others. The corn specifically seemed to have no taste or any substantial role in the meal. The dish, however, impressively remained warm throughout the duration of the meal because it was placed above a heat source (picture above).

Rating: 7/10


Glutinous Rice with Pork in Bamboo – $14.95

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This dish was packed with a lot of savory flavor and a variety of different textures. It was brought to the table in a stick of bamboo, a unique dish from the start. The fatty texture may be off-putting for some, but the meat was well seasoned throughout, and the rice was sticky and easily absorbed the flavors of the pork. The dish was also a lot larger than it looked at first glance, since all of the rice was piled on the bottom.

Rating: 7.5/10


Steamed Pork Bun – $6.95

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XLB Kitchen’s signature dish, the steamed pork buns, did not disappoint. The dumpling was filled with flavorful soup and the meat was perfectly cooked. The texture of the dumpling wrappers was a little on the thick side, but not enough so to be off putting. The dumpling held together well and didn’t stick to the wax paper, making this dish overall very satisfying.

Rating: 9/10


Overall, the food brought a fresh authenticity to standard Chinese food, allowing a new appreciation to the intricacy of these unique dishes. Despite the lack of orderliness and consistency in some of the dishes served, the originality definitely made it worth it.

Overall Rating: 8/10