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“Best Chinese restaurant I've ever eaten at! (an opinion not just based on the food)”
Review of China Chef

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China Chef
Ranked #18 of 109 Restaurants in Greeneville
Cuisines: Chinese
Restaurant details
Reviewed 2 January 2011

Sure, the elitists would go to a restaurant like this and start picking it apart, saying things like "the spices were too bland (of course that's a completely subjective opinion being based on only one meal there)," or "the soup is too thick (again based on a single experience)," or "they don't have a maitre d' who seats you and waiters who take your orders at the table" or "its more of a take out diner, not a real restaurant" or some other such irrelevant nonsense by people who rate food on how much it costs ("much" meaning to them the pricier, the more they feel they've had a truly elite meal), or how pretty it looks (the more elaborately displayed on the plate, the more fulfilled they are while trying to eat those little decorative food carvings they can't even identify) or how fancy the decor of the walls are (complete with thousand-dollar paintings or ornate, authentic artifacts which apparently makes food taste better), or by whether they want to be seen entering, which depends on how many Cadillacs, Lexuses, and BMW's are already parked out front. So if you are a pretentious person who only cares about being fancy, with or without the food, and adding another talking point with which to stroke your connoisseuristic ego, I'd suggest you eat somewhere else. However if you're someone who would enjoy and appreciate the following...

-True 1st and 2nd generation Chinese-American owners and staff (with the exception of an caucasion girl who is apparently married to a member of this Chinese family), who are friendly, professional, and just all around nice people,
-Food that is very tasty, ranking in my opinion as the best overall, consistently good Chinese food that I've had,
-Portions that are extremely large for the price (like another reviewer wrote, usually enough for 2 or 3 meals per serving, if you're not a gluttonous pig with a bottomless stomach, that is,
-Very short wait times for eat-in or carry-out,
-A very extensive and varied menu with excellent lunch-time deals,

...then the China Chef is definitely a restaurant you wouldn't want to overlook.

A few more details that have caught my attention:
-Never had to wait any longer than how long they've told me when I've placed my orders by phone. (Trust me, I live close by and I've tested them on their "order will be ready in so many minutes" estimates.)
-I've had probably close to a hundred meals from them and have NEVER had any order that was mixed up or had items left out or have had a hair or some other foreign object in the food.
-I've only had one meal from them that I thought was a little less than top-notch, (An order of General Tso's Chicken about 2 years ago didn't have all that great cuts of chicken, although all subsequent orders have been fine.)
-Their restaurant has always been clean from my observations.
-I noticed a "Jesus" poster (a list of different names for Jesus, e.g. Prince of Peace, Son of God, etc) hanging inconspicuously behind the counter, and so I asked if they were Christians. The lady at the counter explained that her family (who owned the restaurant) were native Chinese Christians (they were Christians in China; they didn't convert when they came here.). I asked what it was like being Christians in Communist China, and she said that is used to be very difficult (and still is difficult) and told me the story of her Grandmother who was imprisoned by the Chinese Government for some time just because she professed Christianity. So, all things being equal, I'd give them my business just as reward for being an honest, hard-working family who has truly known at least some undue persecution and is now genuinely trying to live the "American Dream" (legally, I might add) that most of the rest of us take for granted and consider to be something owed us without being earned!
-They have a TV on the wall on which they show "Fox News" most of the time, played at volume level at which one can hear the news if one wants to listen, but not so loud as to be distracting if one wants to have a conversation instead.
-Never used the bathroom there, so can't comment on the condition of their "facilities." (However, it is notable to be able to say I've never gotten sick by eating their food and had to use their facilities in an emergency, which is something I cannot say about another so-called Chinese restaurant in town. Hint: Avoid the buffets!)

So, there's my two-cents worth, to which if you add about $8.48, you can get a great meal at China Chef, and assuming you're not an elitist glutton who wouldn't dream of asking for a doggy-bag, usually have enough left over for a 2nd meal!

Thanks, China Chef, for being my favorite Chinese restaurant of all time!!!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
5  Thank I_Live_Here2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 26 October 2010

We've been eating at the China Chef for many years now. The owners are very nice people who work very hard to provide exceptional customer service. The food is perhaps not "the best Chinese food in 300 miles"...but. I can truthfully say after many years of eating Chinese food of many types, both domestically and internationally, it rates up there in the top 20. My favorite dish is the Curry Basil Fried Rice; one of their creations.

The China Chef is family-owned, which in this day and age is rare. I give it kudos just for that. It is more 'diner-style' in appearance, but, we've eaten in there many times. The soups are always flavorful, and the food isn't overly greasy, which is more than I can say for most 'American' Chinese places.

I have yet to order anything from their menu I haven't liked.

2  Thank jan4jesus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2009

Based on the one other Tripadvisor review which gave this restaurant five stars and the comment ,"best chinese restaurant within 300 miles" when we recently visited Greeneville, Tennessee, we searched this restaurant out.

Here's what we found:

1. A tiny strip mall restaurant off the Andrew Johnson Highway next to JC Penny's and across from Belk's. I think the name of the shopping center was Greeneville Commons. There were 12 tables and this is a mostly order at the cash register and take out place. There is no waiting at the tables--you place your order at the checkout counter.

2. The food was fair, but very average but our standards. I had shrimp and broccoli and it was good but certainly not exceptional. My wife had Sesame chicken which was below average and it had no sesame seeds on the chicken nuggets. Her Egg Drop soup was gummy and too thick. The unsweetened ice tea was undrinkable.

3. This is not the best chinese restaurant in 300 miles as nearly every Chinese Restaurant in Asheville is better and Asheville is 70 miles away. I expect Knoxville has many that beat this place out too.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
1  Thank revchrisesq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 2008

China chef is by far the best Chinese food you're going to find in east Tennessee. People around here like going to the local buffets and like to say that china chef is too expensive, but i disagree. the food quality at the buffet places is just deplorable, whereas the food at china chef is truly top notch. All of the ingredients are fresh, the spices and seasonings are excellent, and the portions/prices will leave you walking away with enough for 2/3 meals, for about the same price you'd pay going to a buffet. The staff is very friendly, They're extremely fast, it never takes more than 5 to 10 minutes, and it's freshly made. My advice, go to china chef, and order the Orange Chicken, and some Chicken Lo Mein, you wont be disappointed.

1  Thank lankygoodness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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