I was really excited to get to campus, as it has changed so significantly since I graduated in 2010. So many of my frequent haunts have been replaced with new and exciting restaurants that I have yet to try. One such establishment is Mid Summer Lounge on Green Street. This location has seen many restaurants in the several years since I was a student, but Mid Summer Lounge has been around for a bit and based on the reviews, may be around for a while.
A few friends and I braved campus — on Unofficial of all days — to see if it was worth the effort to get there. Since it’s on Green Street, parking can be tricky. We found a spot right off of Wright Street that was metered. Upon entry into the restaurant, we were hit with the unmistakable smell of pork, scallion, and soy — a great start to our lunch. It was a bit unclear as to whether or not we were to find a table or order at the counter, but we took a cue from other patrons to order at the counter and then find a seat. The vibe is very calm yet modern, and as the name would suggest, lounge-y. It was very quiet despite being full of customers, and the black and grey textured walls and grey wood flooring added to the sleek and trendy vibe.
We ordered two types of dumplings and two noodle dishes. The menu posted online was significantly smaller than the one we were provided in the restaurant, which was a pleasant surprise. There are lots of different dumplings to choose from, as well as wontons, appetizers, and dry and wet noodles (noodles in broth or with sauce). It took about 10 minutes for our order numbers to be called. We felt that this was a perfect amount of time to indicate that our orders were made fresh, but we were not waiting a long time on a work day lunch hour.
We were very pleased with portion sizing of both the dumplings and the noodle dishes. The dumplings came with fifteen per order — a huge amount as compared to portions of other restaurants in town. The dumplings were incredible. We ordered both ground pork with Chinese scallion and ground pork with Napa cabbage ($9 each). The dough was a soft and pillowy vessel for a perfect amount of filling. The pork was juicy and provided a perfect base for the fresh vegetables. The addition of the scallions and cabbage provided a great punch of flavor and crunch, respectively. They were clearly hand-made with a lot of love. They came steamed and served with both vinegar and chili oil for dipping.
The noodle dishes were also spectacular. We ordered two dry noodle dishes, but our accompaniments were quite different. Both dishes began with a base of fresh, classic Chinese mein-style egg noodles that were perfectly cooked to be al dente, but delicate at the same time. One dish, noodle and fried green onion ($10), simply presented the noodles with a light soy and oil combination topped with caramelized Chinese scallions. The complexity of the scallions paired with the delicateness of the oil and soy provided a delightful umami flavor that I have aspired to create in my own cooking and have yet to achieve. It was simply fabulous.
The other bowl was beautiful to look at, let alone to eat. Called pork shreds and preserved pickle ($11), it had way more vegetable variety than the name implies. Included in the bowl atop the noodles were various pickled vegetables, sliced cucumbers, Chinese scallions, sliced sautéed pork, and a gorgeous, golden deep fried egg. The dish successfully attained an intricate balance between the freshness of the raw vegetables, spice of the pickled vegetables, and heaviness of the pork and fried egg.
My four companions and I unanimously agreed to return. Each item that we ordered left us extremely satisfied, though not unable to return to the rest of our Friday work. Bring friends and family and order several dishes — you will not be disappointed. While the rest of Green Street appears to be an ever-changing landscape, I am confident that Mid Summer Lounge will be around for quite some time.
Mid Summer Lounge
625 E Green St
11:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily
5 to 8 p.m. daily