I have stopped here, on my seemingly never ending quest for Chinese food, on a number of occasions, but I have never reviewed it. Well, I guess it’s about time.
Tucked a block East of Kenwood Road Just South of Cooper Road and the Blue Ash Library, Win Wok appears to be, like the majority of mom and pop owned places, your typical small strip mall restaurant. This place was closed for a week last summer due to “renovations”, but to be honest, it’s tough to tell where or what was done. I have had take-out only here, but I had a chance to look around during my wait. There are 2 or 3 tables, and 6 or 7 booths in the dining area. Nothing exotic to see, the walls seem to have gotten a fresh coat of paint during the make-over, but nothing else. Even so, it seems a bit tired and could use some attention. It’s not that inviting, and I see only take-out from in my future. There is a small entryway with 6 or so seats, and a couple of “gumball” type machines to stare at while you wait. The staff is friendly enough, with what little interaction you might have there.
Of note is that this is only one of three Chinese restaurants that I know of that delivers in my area of town, the others being in Sharonville and Kenwood. The website lists where they go to, and it appears to be a several mile radius from the store. Also of note, and in my opinion an excellent feature, is an online ordering system. No more miscommunications if English is somewhat of a problem for either side. And a nice feature of this is when the dish is a “spicy” dish, the system asks how spicy you would like it: Mild, Regular, Medium or Very Spicy. The system also asks for size, if that’s a choice, and quantity. There is a place to apply one of the myriad freebies or discounts that you get, starting in the $20.00 minimum range. There is a place for notes and extra instructions, so even if you want something made a little differently, there’s a place for that, too. I knew exactly what the price was, and had a copy of the order printed out in my hand. I used this system before I left work, as it lets you choose pick-up, dine-in or delivery, and allows you to specify ASAP or to give a time, in 5 minute intervals. Nice.
I ordered the Hot & Sour Soup (which comes meatless, only choice), the Triple Delight (Chicken, jumbo shrimp, scallops and vegetables in a spicy garlic sauce), and the Green Bean Chicken. All three were marked as spicy, so I took regular spice for the first two, and medium spicy for the Green Bean Chicken. Since I had just passed over the $20.00 minimum, I chose an order of Crab Rangoon (8 of them), as my freebie. I filled out the form and hit send. I’ll see my food in about 30 minutes.
10 minutes later, during the drive home, I received a call. “I’m sorry, but we are out of green beans”, I was told. Why is it that 80% of the time, these places don’t have green beans? One of the disadvantages about online ordering, unless they keep the site informed of outages, is that you don’t know this until they read the incoming order. Anyway… Now driving, and with no way to access the internet safely, I substituted a shrimp Lo Mein. Safe bet. I arrived about 10 minutes before my scheduled time, and (happily), my order wasn’t ready. That’s always my fear on pre-orders is that they are made well ahead of time…and just sit. Not the case here. The Lo Mein was slightly cheaper than the Green Bean Chicken, and the cashier made a point to reduce the price at checkout without being asked.
Home in three minutes, and everything was hot. The portion size was surprisingly large, especially the Lo Mein. The Hot & Sour Soup was filled to the top, and everything was nicely packed. I poured some soup, dished up the steamed rice, Triple Delight, Shrimp Lo Mein, and a few of the Crab Rangoons, and I dug in. At this point, the review is easy. The food, with one or two missteps, was excellent. The Hot & Sour Soup was chock full of goodies, and truly had a little spicy heat to it. I really enjoyed it. The rice was … well, it’s steamed rice… and the Triple Delight was excellent. Maybe not as spicy as I would have thought being described as a “Spicy garlic sauce”, but still excellent, nonetheless. The vegetables were very fresh, and cooked perfectly. The small bay scallops were not overcooked, the chicken was tender and the shrimp (other than not being what I would describe as “jumbo”), were cooked perfectly. The Shrimp Lo Mein was excellent, too. Often dry, the noodles had just the amount of sauce to keep them slippery. The only misstep was with the Crab Rangoon. Unconventionally shaped, they were flat and folded over like a Won Ton, not “cupped” like an inverted grannie’s night cap, like you traditionally see. They came across as very dry. The filling was sweet and flavorful, perhaps a little too sweet, but the wrapper just made the whole thing unappetizing. I would not order those again. It’s as if they were baked, crispy dry, and not deep fried.
Overall it was a pleasant surprise. I had eaten here before, and I came away thinking this place was just average. But with what seems like a new, younger couple running it, I was very pleased with the food, and will definitely put this near the top of my list for Chinese in the Blue Ash area.
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