5537 New Albany Rd E.
New Albany, OH 43054
This is a convenient Chinese shop that serves the upper class New Albany suburb of Columbus. Just about every neighborhood in town has a little dive like this one, so in that sense you kind of know what you’re expecting from the get go. That said though, probably don’t try to expect anything more. This food is convenient, predictable and fast. That’s the thing you sort of look for an every Chinese restaurant. Beyond that you really know what you’re going to get before you even step in the door.
Any other takeout Chinese menu would do you justice. This one has the same things on it. What I tried:
- Mongolian Beef: That wonderful, sticky sweet brown sauce covering slices of meat and onion with bamboo shoots add it in for some nice texture. This is a classic recipe and pretty on par with what you’d find elsewhere. The beef tastes frozen though, probably packed for versatile use. Salty though.
- Sesame Chicken: Breaded chicken bites in a thick sweet brown sauce with plenty of sweet and a little bit of sesame flavor for good measure. Not heavy on the seeds though. Like the other dishes, this one has a bed of crispy rice noodles that sops up some of the sauce and adds a little volume.
So the restaurant is definitely predictable; that is to say, you know what’s on this menu and the flavors are about on par with a typical Chinese corner restaurant. So there’s an element that the place is going to appeal to people who want the “same old, same old.” But generic just doesn’t stand out, not in a city like this were there is such an element of awesome, interesting Chinese and Asian Fusion cuisine making things interesting. In that sense the spot really is kind of run-of-the-mill.
Of course there will always be a market for this kind of food. Every town in America it seems has at least has an Americanized Chinese food dive, and it goes without saying, but people will patronize the place regardless. The question is, does it have something unique that is worth a special visit? That’s the tricky part and I don’t know if it’s accomplished here.
- Optimized for takeout and deliver and surprisingly fast, at that.
- Brown rice is an option if you’re looking for (marginally) healthier.
- The lunch portions are cheaper than the dinner portions and, honestly, the size isn’t that different.