Another of Athens’ many Asian ethnic food offerings, China Fortune is situated away from the main town commerce centers and along a strip of local businesses on Stimson Avenue. As such, it is on a dividing line of sorts in the community; to the south lie the Palmer Street and Mill Street student neighborhoods which are populated almost exclusively by Ohio University upperclassmen and are renowned for major block parties every spring. To the north is the near east neighborhood, where fewer and fewer students live and rental properties are quickly replaced by families living in Athens permanently. For such a strong dividing line, the food is only moderately good.
I was informed by a waitress that some of the most popular dishes include General Tso’s Chicken and Orange Chicken, very common fried varieties of chicken almost every Chinese restaurant offers. I declined. While it’s nice these dishes are good, they’re also arguably easier to make since so much frying is involved. Instead I opted for a beef dish, Kung Pao Beef, which has traditionally been one of my favorite offerings at Chinese food places. What I got wasn’t terribly exceptional. The beef was tender and moist, but everything else about the dish wasn’t inspired. Complementing the meat were a vegetable medley of water chestnuts, celery, onions and green peppers. They didn’t go well together, and they seemed undercooked and not quite right. I didn’t like them.
The rice was decent, and it did go well with the beef. I ordered a pot of oolong tea and it was also very good. However, another chicken dish looked very similar, and despite being a completely different dish on the menu, it was almost the same. All of these things combined made a very uninspired menu. Nothing was particularly special, and even the service had a hard time finding something that stood out in a meaningful way.
Service was also mediocre. We felt rushed when we were ordering, and I feel like the waitress didn’t understand me when I was asking for the “best dish in the restaurant.” Later when we paid, the staff at the front desk seemed confused about my paying; one person handed the bill to another who seemed to think I had already paid; she would not accept my money and I think even now she only accepted it after I insisted because she thought it was a hefty tip. It’s difficult to work with language difficulties of this magnitude effectively.
The food wasn’t filling and it was a little pricey. It was altogether all right but really I don’t feel like it was that great. I honestly think I’ve had better at half the price. There’s plenty more to taste in Athens.
- Lunch and dinner prices are basically the same, so the place is good any time.
- Don’t get too adventurous with this menu, I’m sorry to say it won’t pay off.
- Definitely order the oolong tea with a meal; it’s great.