Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Wonderful Memory, Jong Mea

Jong Mea Restaurant

I was actually looking for a photograph of the old Jong Mea restaurant when I came across Lani's blog where she discusses her family and the Jong Mea. I did not know they also had restaurants in Mansfield and Indianapolis.

The Jong Mea was a traditional Cantonese restaurant when my parents took us there. The Won Ton soup was unbelievable, not like the watery bowl with a couple of soggy dumplings that seems to be the norm now. Jong Mea's Won Ton soup had a variety of vegetables, pork strips and delicate, but firm dumplings. Add their spare ribs and a platter of Shrimp in Lobster Sauce or Moo Gai Pan or Pork Egg Fu Yung and you're talking dinner. Dinner with authentic ingredients. And really nice people. Most restaurants didn't care for a family of eight, plus friends, walking in. The Jong Mea welcomed us as family. My fathers 2nd "father", Papa Presutti and his wife Mama (it wasn't until years later I realized their real names were Salvatore and Rosa), owners of Presutti's Villa on West 5th, once went to the Jong Mea with us. The meeting of Italian and Chinese made an evening of eating that was unbelievable.

Top it all off with an almond cookie that smelled of almonds before it even reached the table and a small bowl of sherbert.

To find such a Chinese restaurant today in Columbus would be wonderful.

UPDATE: I believe I was wrong when I said "Mr. Lee". Upon reflection, it was Mr. Look. Spelling correct? I hope so, because Mr. Look and Mr. Chin were, when I was young, elderly men who maintained their honor and dignity and I was lucky enough to have parents that allowed them to point out when I was out of line. They were men to be respected. I can still taste the smell and the food.