Editor’s Note: As of August 2012, China Village has closed and been replaced with a new restaurant, Tik’s Thai Grill249 W Central Ave # B Springboro, OH 45066 937.748.0089 location
Springboro, Ohio has a lot of Chinese food. That’s unusual to say for a place which 10 years ago was an outlying suburb vaguely connected to south Dayton, but the population boom brought with it many new residents, and many restaurants to serve those residents. Outliving them all is China Village. While over half a dozen newer, fast food-focused Chinese places set up shop in town — sometimes as close as across the street — China Village has maintained its business model. It’s basically the only place in town that you can sit down for a low-key, quality-made meal. Yes, they do takeout, and yes, many other local places allow for dine-in, but this is Springboro’s only Chinese place that seems intent to focus on the restaurant experience first.
It’s refreshing, then, that China Village has such a fresh take on Chinese dishes, many of which are so formulaic at other places in town as to be almost indistinguishable from one another. China Village has a similar menu, but the items on it are crafted in deliciously different ways. Popular dishes like Crab Rangoon are up a notch in quality. Instead of filling the morsels with cream cheese, which I’ve always found to be a bit of an anachronism in Chinese food, the Rangoon is instead stuffed with lots of actual crab and some vegetables. It’s heavy on flavor. You wouldn’t think wings would be a good choice in a Chinese restaurant, but China Village cooks them in a sweet Asian sauce, to make them absolutely the best Asian wings in this city, hands down. They used to be free appetizers, unfortunately times have changed.
The main dishes have a similar creative edge. The Kung Pao Beef, my personal favorite of them, is prepared in a thick and delicious brown sugar sauce. This recipe is endlessly recreated in Chinese places all over this state with chunky, raw green peppers and onions, and a bitter sauce. Not so at China Village. The smothered broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and spicy peppers make this iteration the best Kung Pao Beef I have ever eaten. Seriously, I’m still waiting for someone else to come close. The same can be said of many of the dishes. The Empress Chicken; the seafood. Most of the items on the menu have a distinct flavor unique from the typical “Chinese cuisine.” It’s wonderful, actually.
The environment is great; it’s an old-fashioned sit down place with a preference to a smaller, more intimate and lowlit setting. The service is a little slow, but the food is worth the wait. Make no mistake, if you come here, you just might get addicted.
- Don’t be afraid to try some of the menu items you’ve hated at other Chinese places; many of the menu items here are uniquely designed, many of them are better than what you’ll find at other places.
- Definitely consider some appetizers. The place does them well.
- Carry out is available, and truthfully the food stays remarkably fresh.