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In Dining

In Dining

In Dining

No. 1 Chinese rightfully boasts, especially delivery


On Bay View's bustling Kinnickinnic Avenue a proud black awning touts "No. 1 Chinese Restaurant." Given the plethora of restaurants in Milwaukee that serve Chinese cuisine, the modest establishment makes quite the assertion with its name, and while the food may not top every Chinese eatery in our fair city, No. 1 Chinese does a better than average job at cranking out some popular appetizers and dishes, and they rightfully boast the fastest, best free delivery service anywhere in town.

The interior is sparsely decorated, and waxes slightly of Manhattan's now-famous Hunan Chinese Restaurant from Seinfeld's "The Chinese Restaurant." A recent visit to No. 1 Chinese, 2678 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., led us into a nearly empty dining room, but we quickly noted that the restaurant was not lacking for business. In a little over an hour, we saw no less than six delivery orders rush out the door.

We started our meal with two egg rolls ($2) and an order of four crab Rangoon ($2.20). Both the price and the flavor were just what we were looking for. The egg rolls were only ordinary, but the crab Rangoon ranked with the best in town, plump with their cream cheese, crab and green onion filling and fried to a perfect golden brown. Since both my dining companion and I are hot mustard lovers, we were disappointed with the gelatinous packets they offer with the appetizers. But sweet and sour sauce admirers will be happy with the side dish of the thick reddish condiment that comes with the starters.

Entrees were equally reasonable in price and were quite tasty. We were especially impressed with the overt freshness of the vegetables No. 1 Chinese uses. Chicken with cashew nuts ($4.35) in particular showcased crisp, fresh celery and carrots that gave the dish a healthy flavor and color. As with all other entrees, its accompanying rice was perfectly sticky and generous in portion size. General Tso's chicken ($8.55), lightly breaded chicken pieces with steamed broccoli and a slightly hot soy sauce-based brown sauce with Chinese chilies, was one of the best versions I've had in town. And it was a fraction of the usual price. Mongolian beef ($5.25) featured a large portion of colorful mixed vegetables and tender slices of flank steak marinated in a delicious blend of sesame oil and soy sauce. Orange chicken ($8.95) had a lovely bright flavor and was decorated with curls of fresh orange zest, but the sauce congealed a little too quickly for our liking.

Service inside the restaurant was spotty, but we were thrilled with No. 1 Chinese's delivery service, which got us our food, piping hot, in under 15 minutes. We were also pleased to find a vegetarian "meat" (faux meat fashioned of soybean protein) section of the menu, an innovative approach to satisfying vegetarian patrons. In addition to the standard eight vegetable-only entrees, the menu features another seven entrees made with the vegetarian "meat." No 1. Chinese Restaurant also offers affordable lunch ($4.25) and dinner ($6.95) specials, and family specials that feed up to six people for less than $10 a person.

Finally, we were charmed to find that our receipts were handwritten almost entirely in Chinese characters. Where else in Milwaukee can you find that?

No. 1 Chinese Restaurant is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. No Smoking allowed. Good vegetarian selection. Dine in, carryout or delivery available. Call (414) 482-2218.

Talkbacks

OMCreader | April 7, 2006 at 9:55 p.m. (report)

Lisa said: No. 1 now has a location on Oakland on the East Side. I ordered delivery from them tonight. I ordered crab rangoon, a scallops and beef dish, and a combo I've never seen before - chicken wings and fried rice. You choose from 5 different wing flavors, and 5 different fried rice flavors, and the number of wings. I ordered barbecue wings, which turned out to be breaded, fried wings with some fruity barbecue sauce drizzled over - not drenched like the usual. These wings are huge - bigger than I've ever seen. I don't usually order wings, so maybe this is normal, but it got me wondering if they are breeding chickens with giant wings, and if so, what keeps them from learning to fly? And they didn't taste like chicken. Don't ask me what they tasted like, and I am used to buying non-corporate chicken that hasn't been super handled and processed, so maybe that's normal too. They weren't bad, though. And the pork fried rice was very good - not greasy at all, which is my usual complaint about fried rice. The crab rangoon was good - also not greasy. they goofed on my entree, though. I ordered scallops and beef but got shrimp, chicken and beef. The receipt is in Chinese characters, so I can't tell if they misunderstood my order - I was on a cell phone, so that's possible. I'm too lazy to call, and besides, it was good. The broccoli, peapods and water chestnuts was crunchy, and the pieces of chicken and beef were super tender. the brown sauce was just a little spicy. It looks like I got Triple Delight, though I paid for Scallops and Beef. I'll order from them again. Now if I can only find a web listing for this new place. And we need a Restaurant Reviews Without Pity, like

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