China Royal (CLOSED)

Editor’s note: As of 2015, China Royal is closed.
210 North Main St.
Dayton, OH 45402
937.222.8883
websiteIMG_13933 stars

If you could sum up China Royal in one phrase, that phrase would be “Keep it simple, stupid.”

The downtown Dayton Chinese food restaurant on the corner of Main and First streets is the de-facto Chinese takeout place for much of downtown, for the simple fact that it’s essentially the only one that does pickup and delivery in the three-mile radius in and immediately surrounding Dayton’s core. For the lover of Chinese food, it’s one of the only buffets you’ll find around downtown, too. And while it doesn’t really look like much, the spot really is pretty good.

IMG_1394

The buffet is a classic one-stand shop of about two dozen dishes and has been exactly $5.90 for some time. The items it serves are pretty typical of what you’d find in an average Chinese buffet, and at that price, getting the buffet is really about the same price as getting an entree delivered to you.

To start, the apps are decent, the crab Rangoon is filled with a lot of good stuff, not just cream cheese. Eggdrop soup, a good staple of Chinese cuisine, is heavy on the egg making it great. And indeed the dumplings, which are filled with a meaty filling, go great with the sweet sauce they’re served with.

The rice, fried and plain, is pretty standard. Meat dishes to accompany them are good though; the pepper chicken is heavy on the pepper to where it has a bit of a kick, while the Mongolian chicken is a little lighter on the pepper in favor of a sweeter taste. Mala chicken isn’t spicy, but sweet like honey, while the General Tso’s Chicken is extra crispy.

While a lot of the food is deliciously crispy, there is a theme that some of it is a little over-inundated  with grease. That’s the case with the egg rolls which have too much grease to get the flavor going, as does the lo mein and the stir fried potatoes. It derails some of the dishes, but for others it’s a bit of an asset, such as the sweet and sour chicken which otherwise runs the risk of getting dry.

Service is pretty good, really, delivery is relatively quick except in the rare instances that traffic is bad and the restaurant seems to have a pretty easy time in getting food our quickly and the people are fast enough at refilling water and ensuring everything is up to par.

In all, the experience is better than I might have expected it to be. The food stays pretty fresh and from what I’ve seen it provides a decent experience. Downtown sometimes has a shortage of good dining options, especially after work hours, but China Royal is worth a try.

Recommendations

  • The buffet is the safest way to try a lot of foods; it’s priced like a delivery entree and about the cheapest eats you’ll find downtown.
  • Some of the dishes are greasy, and there is a selection of healthier foods but they’re pretty simple.
  • The restaurant has carry-out and delivery, one of the few downtown to support this.

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