When the food reviewing board and myself wandered into China Palace, we were pleasantly surprised to see that they had received “Best Asian Cuisine” and “Best Service” of 2005 from the Fort Collins Coloradoan. We were then showed to our own personal dining room and immediately served water and hot tea. Our waitress profusely gave us compliments on our young age, good looks and healthy drink choices from the beginning to the end of our stay. Needless to say, we had an excellent first impression. Unfortunately, the food did not live up to our initial expectations.
We ordered a large appetizer plate that consisted of beef sticks, egg rolls, fried shrimp, crab cheese wontons, barbequed spare ribs and golden wings (fried lamb). Nothing on the plate was really up to par. The taste of the food was a bit bland and became gristlier as the plate cooled down.
When it was time to order our main dishes, we selected some of the basics found on any Asian eatery menu: Peking Lo Mein (shrimp, pork, chicken and vegetables mixed with Lo Mein noodles), General Tso’s Chicken (fried chicken pieces in a sweet and sour sauce accompanied by broccoli, otherwise known as sesame chicken) and Cashew Chicken (chicken with a light sauce, peppers, water chestnuts and cashews).
We all decided that our entrees were mediocre, at best. The Lo Mein could have been more flavorful and General Tso’s Chicken came with the smallest portion of chicken I have ever seen from an Asian eatery. The Cashew Chicken did come with a large amount of chicken, but still failed to live up to our tastes. We agreed the best part of the meal was actually the tea they served.
Although we were disappointed with the food, the service was absolutely excellent. Our waitress was very attentive, and our food came very quickly. We were very well taken care of the entire time.
The menu was also fairly conducive to a variety of dining. There is a large selection of family-style dining plates offering a meal consisting of an appetizer, soup, entree and dessert. They also have a large selection of inexpensive lunch specials ranging from $6 to $7. Located in central Old Town, it would be a nice place to go for lunch during a day for shopping or strolling around downtown.
After asking around, I have discovered that for every person that likes an Asian restaurant, there are three other people that have had bad experiences there. There is so much variation in the tastes at these places that opinions vary often as to the quality of the food. I wouldn’t doubt that we caught China Palace on an off night and that, at one time, they have offered the best Asian Cuisine in Fort Collins.
We first asked if there were any authentic Chinese drinks that were offered, but there were none. So we ordered a Chinese beer, Tsingtao, and a mixed drink, Zombie.
The beer was decent, but nothing special. It may have just been the green bottle in which it was served, but it kind of tasted like a mild Heineken. This could have been because the Tsingtao Beer brewery was founded by Germans. Anyway, beer and Chinese food always go well together.
The Zombie had 151 Rum, Dark Rum, Sweet Vermouth and Pineapple juice. The drink was really bitter and dry. We expected the drink to have somewhat of a tropical taste, but it certainly didn’t.
Here’s the skinny:
Taste for yourself
117 S. College Ave.