Eat It: China Cafe
Cafe offers pleasing rangoon, more
2630 E. Citizens Drive Suite 15
By Rachel Birdsell
TFW Contributing Writer
China Cafe is another one of the many restaurants that’s taking over the east side of Fayetteville. It’s in the shopping center at the corner of Mission and Crossover. I noticed it before, but always thought it was just another Chinese buffet. Since I like buffets about as much as a like a sharp poke in the eye, I avoided the place. Recently, I saw one of their menus and didn’t see the word buffet on it anywhere, so I thought I needed to check it out.
Food For Thought
The menu at China Cafe is rather vast, much like a menu should be at a good Chinese restaurant. I finally decided on the crab rangoon as an appetizer and the shrimp with Chinese vegetables as an entree, which came with an egg roll and a side of fried rice.
The crab rangoon were some of the best I’ve ever eaten, and unlike some Chinese places in the area, they were fresh, not the hard, frozen rangoon you normally get. They could have been a tad bit less oily, but they were still great and I had a difficult time finding the graciousness to share with my dining partner.
The shrimp was mixed with celery, carrots, Chinese cabbage, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and snow peas. The shrimp were big, but tasted just a bit too salty. The veggies were flavorful and still had a lot of crunch to them. Overall, I liked the dish but I’m not so sure I’d order it again. It was good, but it didn’t wow me and I like to be wowed.
The egg roll was perfect — filled with vegetables and flavor and crispy on the outside.
The fried rice completely took me by surprise. It was actually fried and had a bit of a smoky flavor. It was delicious. I would have liked a pea or two in it, and I had to search for the onions but I would definitely order it again.
Atmosphere: 3 sporks who are so Spartan, they only have one tine. I’m not even sure I can say that the restaurant had decor. It was very utilitarian, which is how it should be. I think Chinese food is better ordered to go and eaten at home.
Food: 4.5 golden sporks with dragons on the handles. Definitely the best Chinese I’ve had in Fayetteville. It’s nice to see a place that has enough on the menu to satisfy everyone without having to resort to a buffet.
Staff: 4.75 surround sound sporks that play urban folk metal fusion 24/7. My server was very friendly and attentive.
Dollars spent: My lunch set me back $12, which included an appetizer for two (but only because I decided to share).
Chance of returning: Heck yeah, I’ll go back. It’s the perfect Chinese takeout.
If you know of a great eating place, drop me a line at email@example.com. I’ll check it out and let you know what I think.