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!!!
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