Review – Wonderful Chinese Restaurant

Wonderful Chinese Restaurant

Reviewed by Jayson Gallaway on 12 March 2013 .

3 out of 5

Unlike other ethnic restaurants that boast an “authentic” dining experience (I’m looking at you, Benihana, where the last three chefs who juggled Ginsu and gyoza and made onion volcanoes and pretended to throw shrimp at me in traditional Japanese manner were named Jose, Esteban, and Gonzalo, respectively), the staff of Wonderful Chinese Restaurant in Citrus Heights, California is authentically Chinese.
The family that runs this restaurant appears to be largely antisocial and downright angry at your presence, and greets your arrival with simple rudeness, but that quickly escalates into open hostility and apparent contempt.
Upon our arrival, a very angry woman hurried me and my party of 3 others to a table in the back room, and then another angry woman placed plates covered with dishwater and carefully folded red napkins in front of each of us. Removing the napkin from my plate revealed three bits of old food from previous use. At least that’s what I assumed it was, though it did appear as if the cooks had gotten into a fistfight in the kitchen, and one cook had knocked the other’s teeth out, which teeth had fallen onto my plate, and then they had decided it would be easier to present them as an appetizer than to wash the dish. This is purely conjecture, of course.
When a third angry woman came by the table, I showed her the plate with the teeth-looking things on it, and she took it away, forcing a thank you, but offering no apology.
When a fourth angry woman (in her defense, she was about 11-months pregnant and thus understandably angry) came to take our orders, the following exchange occurred:
Angry Pregnant Woman: Haroooo.
Me: Haroooo.
APW: [glares, the addresses rest of table] What can I get for you?
Girlfriend’s Daughter: How thick are your noodles?
APW: Whatchoo mean?
GFD: I mean, like, how thick are your noodles? Are they super thick, are they skinnier…?
APW: [speechless for a moment, then] You eva go to Chinese restaurant, and you know how they have the noodles? They like that.
Me: Haroooo.
Our visit thus far had followed the trajectory of a B-52 out of fuel over the Pacific since we walked in the door, and I didn’t think that after the teeth on the plate and the way the ordering went that anybody could possible keep this thing from crashing and burning. But somehow something did. I think it was the food.
Wonderful Chinese Restaurant is the first place I’ve been to in a decade that serves foil-wrapped chicken, which I love because it’s like Christmas if Santa gave you delicious chicken wrapped in foil from the mystical east instead of action figures and socks.
The food arrived, and not only did it not include any body parts that we didn’t actually order, but it was actually quite good. The only silverware they provided was a fork, which made cutting meat, particularly one of the chicken dishes, almost impossible, but since your hands are already greasy from the foil-wrapped chicken, it doesn’t feel awkward at all to pull your entree apart with your hands, which is what we did.
Oh…also, inexplicably, the fortune cookies taste very much as if they are made of soap. Other than that, the food is terrific.

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