Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chen’s Chinese Restaurant

13104 Kingston Avenue  
Chester, VA 23836

            In the past I’ve said, with the exception of a few, most Chinese Restaurants are the same so just go to the one closest to your home. Well Chen’s is one of those exceptions and is honestly the only Chinese Restaurant in the Tri-City area that it would be acceptable to bring a date to. 

It is located near the River’s Bend Subdivision entrance next to Jalapeño’s right off of Rt. 10.  From the outside it is really nothing special to look at but you can definitely tell that it’s not your typical Chinese Restaurant.  It is inside that you really know that this place is much better than the Chinese Restaurant in the strip mall near your home.  It's not just a walk up counter with pictures of food on the walls and a paper menu but an actual sit down restaurant with table clothes, soothing oriental music and tasteful yet slightly crooked pictures and décor. 

We were greeted by a host who took us to our booth where we were quickly met by our waiter taking our drink orders and dropping off a plate of crispy fried wonton strips and a bowl of duck sauce for dipping.  I know that it is probably the least nutritious thing in the world to eat but they are strangely addictive.  As we looked over our menus we quickly realized the best thing about Chen’s; yes it is 10x nicer looking than other Chinese Restaurants, yes they serve addictive “appetizers”, and yes there food is good but the best thing is that they give you all of this for the same price as you would pay at your corner Chinese Restaurant, at least for lunch.  Amanda ordered Crispy Sesame chicken for $6.25 which came with fried rice and soup. I ordered the Kung Pao Shrimp for $6.95 which also came with fried rice and soup.

Our egg drop soup came out immediately. I’m not really a big soup guy but it was good egg drop soup and really warmed me up on that cold winter’s day. After about 10 minutes of talking, eating soup and munching on fried wonton strips our food was served. Both were nice large serving, more than we could eat at one sitting.  Amanda’s looked much like Gen. Tso’s chicken but covered with sesame seeds.  Mine was different than I expected instead of being like Amanda’s the shrimp were not fried and were mixed with a wide assortment of vegetables and nuts covered in a brownish sauce with fiery red peppers hidden throughout, which I immediately took out.  While not what I was anticipating it was actually very good; a lot lighter and more refreshing than a Gen. Tso’s type dish would have been. What I really loved with the crunchiness and texture of the nuts and some of the vegetables mixed with the soft tenderness of the shrimp and rice. Amanda also gave me a bite of her chicken which was very good, sweet and crispy.

          I would not drive out of my way to eat at Chen’s, unless I had a date that was craving Chinese food, but it is very good and a lot more comfortable and nicer than 99% of the other Chinese Restaurants out there. While the food was very good it was honestly not all that much better than your typical Chinese place but it is the atmosphere that really sets Chen’s apart. If you’re in the area, around lunch time and craving Chinese I recommend grabbing a bite a Chen’s; you’ll be a lot more comfortable than if you eat at Top’s China.

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