Tammy saw this place on her travels around town and wanted to check it out, so Tammy, her kids and I headed on over to China Wok to try their food. They have a buffet and also a full menu. Tammy and her kids got their food off of the buffet and I ordered something on the menu.
I decided on the Szechuan Tofu extra spicy. From the recipes I have seen on the interwebs for Szechuan Tofu this one actually looked like those recipes. One of the ingredients I have seen on the internet has been fermented bean paste, and this had it. In fact there was whole pieces of fermented beans in the dish so you could actually taste bits of it in the dish. This to me made it taste really good.The fermented flavor was not overpowering at all, just little subtle reminders that it is in there. I can actually see why it isn’t normally included in other restaurants, because it can be off putting on the American palate, especially if you are not expecting it. The tofu was also cooked the way I like it as well. It was nicely fried and cooked throughout. They were not stingy with the spice either. There was a lot of red pepper pieces swimming in the sauce. It was nice and hot for me. Beyond the fermented bean paste and the chilli flakes there was a nice balance of flavors and veggies in the dish. It was quite enjoyable to me.
Unfortunately Tammy and her kids didn’t enjoy their food as much as I did. I don’t know if it was because it was off the buffet or because they didn’t like the flavors or that the buffet food wasn’t cooked with the same care, or if it is geared to a different audience. I did take a look at the food before deciding on the menu, and I chose the menu because it didn’t look good to me. Tammy’s kids picked at their food for the most part, it didn’t look like they were enjoying it much. Tammy did eat through most of the various fried chicken dishes she picked up, and thought that they were the best part of the meal. She also tried their broccoli and beef and thought the sauce was very bland. She thought that the brown sauce was horrible and tasted like thick brown gravy. She couldn’t eat more than a couple of bites. She also thought that the chicken chow mien was tasteless. She was also waiting for a long time for the staff to refill their string beans, but when the kids were getting really restless, and I was pretty much done decided it wasn’t going to be worth even getting up to try when they did finally bring them out if the beef and broccoli was any indication of what the string beans was going to be like. She thought that the best thing was the chicken in the Hawaiian chicken (a fried item).
I was pretty disappointed that they didn’t enjoy their food, especially since my experience was very enjoyable. I think that if we do come back the buffet will be skipped, or it will just be my little spot to go to on the way to work to get some Szechuan.
The wait staff was pretty friendly and they were quick to refill our drinks. The buffet seemed to be well taken care of with the exception of the beans, which was left empty through most of our visit there. I do recommend giving this place a try, however avoid the buffet if you like your food with flavor. If you do order something and it is on the buffet make sure that it is cooked fresh and the waiter is not retrieving your dish off of the buffet.