I hate moving. I hate boxes. I hate stuff. And, after eating delivery pizza 3 (or was it 4?) times last week, I hate pizza. So Terry told me to come up with something for dinner tonight (and half of my groceries are in the old place), so I asked, “Chinese?” Chinese it was.
I love delivery or take-out Chinese. As a kid, I thought there was nothing more sophisticated and grown-up than eating Lo Mein out of the container with chopsticks in front of the TV. I still really enjoy it– though it doesn’t really make me feel grown up. I guess it’s because my mom always made us use real plates, napkins and silverware when eating takeout, so the take-out boxes seemed almost exotic.
I was a messed-up kid.
I called Red Pepper first, as I knew they delivered, and I had their menu in front of me. I got all ready to order some Chen’s Chicken and Noodle Salad when I asked if they deliver to Over the Rhine and was told, “We do, but we’re done delivering for the night. We stop at 9:30.”
It was 9:37.
So, I called up King Wok and found out that they deliver until 11. Thank goodness– we won’t starve tonight (though I assure you, we’re really in no danger).
King Wok is an old favorite of mine. My old boss, Fred and I used to go there about once a week for lunch. Terry and I used to go there fairly frequently as well, but lately haven’t– our favorite server, Mandy, now works at Shanghai Mama’s so we visit her there.
We got a pretty standard, Americanized-Chinese order: sweet and sour chicken, sub gum (combo) lo mein, egg rolls and crab rangoon.
They get the details right– everything is packaged for a good experience. There’s nothing worse than leaky food, so they package the sweet and sour sauce (which is sweet and sour without being syrupy and bright red– one of the issues I have with Shanghai Mama’s sweet and sour sauce, too much high fructose corn syrup) separately, and in a plastic bag, so you don’t end up with soggy chicken and leaks all over the counter. Egg rolls are packaged in waxed paper, to ensure that they keep their crispy edges.
First things first– the deep fried stuff. Their egg rolls are nice– crispy outside, with lots of vegetables inside. Their crab rangoon has suffered since the last time I had them– instead of cream cheese flavored with vegetables and, surprisingly enough, a bit of crab, this just tasted like plain cream cheese. Not that there’s anything wrong with deep-fried cream cheese, it was just a bit disappointing.
Next, the Lo Mein– it’s one of my very favorites in the city. Not too greasy (which can be a problem) and full of shrimp, chicken, and pork. And yes, I ate it out of the container.
Then, the sweet and sour chicken– I really like their sauce. I really don’t like the thick, syrupy, full-of-high-fructose-corn-syrup version that many places do. This is more like a slightly thickened, sweet vinaigrette. The pieces of chicken are fried in a light tempura batter, and there’s plenty of vegetables to go with it.
The best experience in King Wok is inside– they have an authentic Chinese menu, fresh fish, and lots of specials on lobster and other normally expensive dishes. The service is always friendly, and the prices good. However, if you’re in the Clifton, Downtown, or Over-the-Rhine area and want some delivery Chinese– this place is an excellent bet (and it delivers late!).