It’s gotten so bad that kids are beginning to think that Chinese and buffet are one word. China Chef remains a holdout—here you actually get what you order fresh from the wok and you don’t have to take your chances on something that’s been sitting two hours under a heat lamp. This place is a respite for those who suddenly realize they’re standing in line waiting with 10 other people for the eight egg rolls they’ll bring out of the kitchen. At China Chef they still cook each order to order. They’ve done it that way at this little Colerain Avenue spot for years and there seems no reason to change. The fare is mostly Cantonese and Szechuan. Moo shu, moo goo, egg fu—you know the menu. No surprises or Nuevo Chinese. It’s Asian comfort food, just good fresh stuff, and the prices haven’t been updated since the Ming Dynasty. Carryout business is big here—that’s something the buffets have never quite been able to do right—and you get carryout here whether you asked for it or not, since the portions are always too huge to finish. It’s hard to pin down house specials, but the chef says they are “burbon” (no, really) chicken, chicken curry, and the Triple Crown of shrimp, beef, and chicken. It’s even served in the traditional carryout crate, so you don’t have to ask for a doggie box when you’re stuffed.
8034 Colerain Ave., Colerain Township
Lunch and dinner seven days
Originally published in the September 2009 issue.