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Dragon Gate's kitchen is quite lively 

click to enlarge Tofu with garlic sauce at Dragon Gate. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Tofu with garlic sauce at Dragon Gate.
Americanized Chinese food restaurants, much like fast-food burgers, diners and takeout spots, are a bit of a personal thing. Everyone’s got their go-to. And whatever differences may exist, the menus don’t vary much. So when my tofu with garlic sauce ($6.15/lunch combo) comes out, I’m pleased and a little surprised.

The irregular fried tofu strips are fine, and the mushroom strip-riddled sugar-soy wok sauce tastes like countless other plates I’ve eaten since childhood. But the zucchini and bell pepper prove a significant surprise. They’re only lightly cooked, fresh and still lively, a departure from many similar dishes where the veg gets cooked to oblivion. Don’t be fooled by the derelict blue building. Dragon Gate’s kitchen is alive and kicking.

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