Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Gang of Four Chinese Restaurant reviews

OK. Back to restaurants for now. (Sourdough will be back! Still collating information.) We have eaten out a bunch of times for lunch over the last week or so for a variety of reasons, and it is almost always Chinese. So here is the report:

Teriyaki Box at 4th and I in Anchorage. This place has a variety of teriyaki "boxes" which if you are eating there are served on regular plates, but still. Appetizers include fresh and fried spring rolls and dumplings. Mr. Eating Alaska had a Beef Box, which included teriyaki beef, a fried vegetable mix and fried rice. I had the Vegetable Box, which was the same thing without the beef. We also had an appetizer of fresh spring rolls, which came with a delicious peanut chili sauce. While I'm on that, a word about the condiments - they have teriyaki, soy and sricha chili sauce on the tables, and a variety of chili sauces and vinegars up front. The rolls were very refreshing, and contained imitation crabmeat, cabbage, carrot, and cilantro. The restaurant itself is an interesting hybrid...it seems like the building was originally the home of a cabin-oriented business. There is a strong log cabinny vibe to the building and the decor - even the tables are massive, heavily lacquered chunks of tree. But there is veneer of orientalness overlaying it all. Weird look, good food.

Chinese Kitchen in the Sears Mall. This is a Chinese stand in the mall's food court, and has a somewhat limited but basic menu. I had Mongolian beef, which was very tasty and tender beef in a nice sweet-salty sauce. It came with fried rice and a dumpling, both of which were passble but not really outstanding. Mr. Eating Alaska had Sesame chicken, which was really really good. The chicken was all well-cooked in a crispy coating with a delicious sweet sour sauce and the same side dishes. It is very basic but decent Chinese food if you are in a hurry.

Because he eats at the following places much more frequently than I do, Mr. Eating Alaska will be doing the next two reviews:
Panda Restaurant is at Northern Lights & Gambell sts. Once awarded one of the "Top 10 Places in the US to Eat" as per USA today. It deserves this award! Great Chinese food in a great atmosphere. And only half a block from my office! The mongolian beef is great and the teriyaki beef is especially tasty. The place is small, always busy but never crowded.
Yen King is at the north end of the Old Seward Highway. It's the first place I ate at when I landed in Anchorage. The decor is really nice and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. I had the Ma Po Tofu (one of my favorites) and it was the best I ever had! The owner made me feel very welcome which was nice for my first night in town. I've been there two other times; the second time was as good but the third time I had the lunch buffet and was disappointed. I still highly recommend Yen King, just order a meal from the menu and give the buffet a miss.

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