Red Ginger Restaurant

**** (4 stars)

This nicely decorated strip mall restaurant serves both Chinese food and sushi. Both are competently prepared.

Lunches come with two sides, and in some cases you can choose from some out of the ordinary offerings such as lo mein.

The sushi was well made. We particularly liked the No Name roll.

Service is friendly and efficient.

Red Ginger Restaurant
6300 N Wickham Rd
Ste 127
Melbourne, FL 32940
(321) 242-1167
http://www.yelp.com/biz/red-ginger-restaurant-melbourne

Tao Asian

**** (4 stars)

This neighborhood Asian restaurant has a menu larger than their storefront! There are an incredible number of pages of Chinese, Japanese and other Asian foods.

We had mostly sushi, which was all good. The sashimi dishes are particularly creative. The Pad Thai was also very good. Hot and sour soup was a standout and the spring rolls were good, too.

They do a busy Chinese takeout business, but it’s also a pleasant place to eat in.

Service was pleasant and efficient. I can’t imagine how their kitchen can turn out so many different things.

No beer or wine.

Tao Asian
13848 Tilden Rd
Ste 118
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 347-8999
http://www.yelp.com/biz/tao-asian-winter-garden

Mei Asian China Buffet

* (1 stars)

There’s really nothing horrible about this Chinese buffet if your expectations aren’t too high. The meat items are a bit questionable, but there are other choices that are okay. However our meal got off to a bad start when a roach crawled across the table, and I see from other reviews (and pictures) here that our experience wasn’t unique, so perhaps best to go elsewhere.

Mei Asian China Buffet
8255 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 352-0881
http://www.yelp.com/biz/mei-asian-china-buffet-orlando

Lao Sze Chuan

**** (4 stars)

This latest outpost in a large chain of Chinese restaurants is extremely authentic. And by that I mean that if you’re used to Americanized Chinese takeout places you will find it interesting and perhaps challenging to eat here!

The space is very nicely decorated, and features a dramatically lit bar along one wall. Furnishings are comfortable and elegant, but despite all the fabrics the space can get fairly loud.

Because I was by myself and there is no lunch menu, I chose to try an assortment of appetizers. The wonton soup was some of the best I’ve had. Chicken egg rolls were tasty, but could have been crisper. The Chinese mustard was authentically hot.

Sliced Tender Pork with Garlic Sauce is a cold appetizer. It was very tasty, but it’s somewhat like eating lightly cooked bacon, so the uninitiated should be wary. Similarly the Five Powder Beef is served cold, and contains a fair amount of fat. The hoisin sauce topping it was slightly spicy and very flavorful. Both of these meat dishes were very generous portions, suitable for 2 to 4 persons as an appetizer.

Be aware that most of the food is spicy, and some is very spicy. The heat levels are indicated on the menu.

There is a very thoughtful selection of nice wines by the glass, and the glassware is superb.

Service was a tag team approach, and was friendly and efficient.

Prices are too high for college students, but certainly reasonable for the work crowd. Because of the large portion sizes it’s best to go with four or more people so you can try several things.

Lao Sze Chuan
1633 Orrington Ave
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 868-8989
http://www.yelp.com/biz/lao-sze-chuan-evanston

Go 4 Food

***** (5 stars)

Great little place on a side street in Chinatown. Clean, friendly, and superb food. Lunch is an incredible bargain for under $7, but we chose to explore the main menu, which is also reasonably priced.

We tried the Salty Egg Yolk Shrimp, Dungeness Crab Curry, and the French Beef. All were excellent.

I would have liked the shrimp a bit crispier; it’s definitely worth $2 extra to have it shelled.

If only the crab could be shelled! It was our favorite dish because of the rich spices in the curry, but it was an absolute mess to eat because it’s a whole crab covered in curry sauce, and you have to crack the shells; but hanging onto something covered in hot, slippery sauce is a real challenge. They can do other proteins with this sauce, and that’s what I’d get next time.

I’d definitely get the French Beef again. It was wonderfully tender cubes of beef with an aromatic crust. No Frenchmen were harmed in the preparation of this dish.

This is definitely a non-touristy place to have great food in Chinatown.

Go 4 Food
212 W 23rd St
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 842-8688
http://www.yelp.com/biz/go-4-food-chicago

Pei Wei Asian Diner

**** (4 stars)

As a big Asian food fan I really enjoy the ability to choose between Japanese, Chinese, Thai and other cuisines at one place. And I particularly like the fact that even the non-Asian food fans in our group like Pei Wei. Plus they have those really cool programmable Coke machines (that were programmed by a guy who used to work with us). There’s nothing like a vanilla/cherry/lime Diet Coke. Be careful of the calorie counts at Pei Wei, though, because each of those dishes is TWO servings! That’s why I usually have the lettuce wraps.

Pei Wei Asian Diner
8015 Turkey Lake Rd.
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 241-3301
http://www.yelp.com/biz/pei-wei-asian-diner-orlando-6

Koi Fine Asian Cuisine and Lounge

*** (3 stars)

I’ve never cared for places that try to do both Chinese and Japanese cuisines, because they tend to do neither all that well, and Koi is no exception. On a nice summer day it’s pleasant to sit in the front room with the floor to ceiling windows open, but don’t expect to get life changing sushi here. For the price I expect more.

Koi Fine Asian Cuisine and Lounge
624 Davis St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 866-6969
http://www.yelp.com/biz/koi-fine-asian-cuisine-and-lounge-evanston