Monday, May 2, 2011

China North


Location: 847 Sanders Rd., Northbrook
Cost: $12 per person

It seems like every Chinese restaurant that my family has made their own has closed over the past few years. First there was Mongolian House and then Best Hunan. We could've gone the way of most Buffalo Grove families and make Yen Yen our Chinese place, but my parents never cared much for that place. So for the past couple of outings my family has been trying out China North in an attempt to fill this void in our gustatory repertoire.

Just like all of the places I've listed above, China North is a strip mall Chinese restaurant that cranks out a variety of food that mostly caters to Americanized palates. They have a bunch of large tables with lazy susans and a few booths. We went for the early bird dinner on Sunday (like we typically do), but I don't think the crowds ever get too out of hand. If you've got enough people coming in, I'm sure they'll take a reservation for you.

The place is family run, and the service was great. We always had full water glasses, and everyone kept checking to make sure we had everything we needed. The cost is pretty standard with $3 soups/apps and $10-13 entrees.

The Food
We started things off with a variety of soups and an order of Egg Rolls. My dad and I split the Seafood Hot and Sour Soup while Lisa and Noam split the Wonton Soup. The seafood was a nice addition to the typical hot and sour, and the broth had a nice, manageable kick to it. The Egg Rolls were standard besides the beef and vegetable mixture rather than pork.

The Beef and Vegetable Egg Rolls

The Wonton Soup

 The Seafood Hot and Sour Soup

In a typical fashion, we all sat that there indecisively until someone finally threw out a bunch of suggestions for entrees that we'd share family style. We ended up with the Mongonlian Trio, Orange Peel Beef, Egg Foo Young, and House Special Fried Rice. The Mongolian Trio (chicken, shrimp, and beef) also came with some sauteed onions and was served over a bed of crispy rice noodles. The dish was very savory, and not overly oily. The chicken and beef were tender as well. The Orange Peel Beef threw me for a spin at first because I'm not used to getting a deep fried beef dish. I still think I prefer chicken in this fashion, but the sauce carried the dish. It was sweet and had a lingering spiciness. The egg foo young was a bit bland on it's own, but it was served in a tangy brown sauce that held all of the dish's flavor. When that ran low, so did the desire for anyone to take to the dish, but for a short time we wolfed that one down. Finally, the fried rice was significantly above average. It wasn't too dry or too oily, and there were plenty of non-rice ingredients.

The Egg Foo Young
The Mongolian Trio

The Orange Peel Beef

 The House Special Fried Rice

In the realm of strip mall Chinese restaurants, I think China North does a pretty solid job. They make Americanized dishes with complex flavors while avoiding the common pitfalls of excess salt and oil. I hope they last longer than our last string of Chinese restaurants in the north suburbs. I'm giving them 3.5 out of 5 Pearls.

China North on Urbanspoon


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