Open Mon – Thurs 10:30am – 10pm, Fri & Sat 10:30am – 11pm, Sun 11:30am – 10pm
Delivery with $10 minimum
|Signage that suggests they've been around since at least 2001,|
plus the Marylebone in the background and Mother India in the distance,
making up the culinary corridor of Leavenworth Street.
I used to pass this place on Leavenworth without looking up. I hadn't given it more than one or two subconscious, dismissive thoughts that didn't even come close to making it to the forefront of my mind. I fully assumed, based on location, signage, and the fact that no one I know ever mentions it, that it was simply not for me. The sauces would be syrupy and sugary, nearly undigestible. The meats would have a freezer-burned aftertaste. The vegetables, questionable, and the rice, dry. It might as well have had bullet proof glass dividing the kitchen from the outside world. (I'm not claiming to be some tough bitch or anything, but there are a number of take-out joints in Philly like that.)
Point is, there are a lot of bad Chinese places in town, kids. Watch yourselves.
|Little did I know, the grease pool forming while taking this|
photo nearly cost me my zebra print tablecloth.
It's true that the first time I ate food from here I woke up twice during the night, too thirsty to even consider a glass, going straight for the faucet while cupping my hands. That's likely more due to the fact that I not only "tried," but pretty much finished two whole entrees. A double dose of sodium will do that.
Let me walk you through that evening.
|#C15, Kung Pao Chicken Combo Platter|
The Kung Pao chicken seemed, as a whole, undercooked, with veggies still too snappy and peanuts somewhat slimy and raw. The lo mein had a sorry vegetable variety, limited to poorly cut carrots, broccoli, and cabbage. I piled it all on one plate and couldn't quite discern the differences in flavor of the two. The egg roll, with tiny bits of minced pork inside, was insanely greasy. I thought about a future devoted to improving temperature control of commercial deep fryers as I ate it, slowly, intense and immediate guilt forming with every bite.
|#39, Vegetable Lo Mein|
I vowed to never go back, knowing full well I would because it's convenient, and probably soon.
The second visit, which happened to be on Christmas, provided a feast fit for a holiday absent of city bus service: General Tso's chicken swimming in a luridly sweet, addictive sauce, served with another egg roll I swore I'd throw away and instead munched on once it had chilled off a few hours later. A small order of broccoli in spicy garlic sauce (because it's important to get your veggies) actually had some spice.
These days, instead of dismissing this restaurant whenever I pass, it conjures thoughts of semi-enjoyment, of retiring early for the evening surrounded by an assortment of little white boxes. In this, my fat person fantasy, I never forget to ask for chopsticks.
Chinatown is not good food by any conventional measurements, but if you order carefully, you might just come away satisfied. Suggested strictly for delivery on a crappy weather day, I say get your usual Chinese dish and see how it stacks up against the likes of nearby Rice Bowl and Three's Happiness, two also not very good restaurants. Who knows — you might be pleasantly surprised.