Saturday, July 9, 2016

Chinatown, 69 28th St SW ~ 6/21/16

In business since 1975, the restaurant began its life renting the space from the owners of Robert Hall (that long ago defunct clothing store). When a 1980 fire destroyed the building, business owners Alex and Alice Lin bought the real estate and rebuilt the restaurant. They've been here ever since. And we know this because Alice told us.
When we walked in Alice was the only other person we saw in the restaurant. She was working behind the bar with a TV playing but immediately upon our being seated, the TV was turned off and a wonderful, greatest classical hits music track began playing. Seldom heard in most restaurants, we found it even more interesting and enjoyable playing here. The air conditioning was also fired up and we had the place to ourselves. (There were three cars parked out front when we pulled up, which must have belonged to employees/owners. It's a good plan because we wouldn't have stopped in if there wasn't a car in the lot.)
The bar was filled with lucky cats, a side dining room was darkened, the Japanese Steakhouse wing has been long closed, but the lunch area was pleasant and traditionally decorated. About eight tables and two booths filled out the space and could obviously handle the lunch crowd, which today was us.
We started out big with the Genghis Khans Platter for two.
Dumplings, Crab Rangoon, BBQ, Shrimp Toast, and Egg rolls made up this appetizing array. We followed it up with Hot and Sour soup, always judged against that produced by Wei Wei Palace. This was sweeter but full of vegetables and still commendable.
Each dish took its time arriving and in the meantime, Alice introduced herself to us and gave us the history earlier related. When we ordered our main dishes, she mentioned that food was cooked fresh and to order, and spice levels ranged from 1-10. We were happy to wait and enjoyed chatting with her. She delivered our main dishes and continued to chat, and continued, but that was our fault because we asked questions. Eventually she left us to our food.
Szechuan Pork was well prepared, spiced up to level 8, contained crunchy vegetables and the asked for hotness, and was an all around great dish. Our next entree was one of the Signature Dishes, Bird's Nest Double Happiness ~ irresistible, ordered at spice level 7.
Shrimp and chicken were stir-fried with crispy vegetables and were supposed to be served in a crispy noodle basket. It wasn't much of a basket but it was appealing all the same. We usually avoid shrimp in an Asian restaurant because they tend to be rubbery but this was not the case here. A signature dish indeed. 

We were entertained by various instructions found in the restaurant.
The owners have tried to sell the business previously and maybe still are (we found a 2010 YouYube listing from a local realtor). Running this business since 1975, they are probably ready to retire. The building is huge and they are only utilizing a portion of it. So enjoy this satisfying food while you can in this iconic building with its interesting history. And be sure to say hello to Alice, the friendliest hostess/server/owner in town. Social media accounts are inactive or inaccurate so just check out this place in person.

Chinatown Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato  

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