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Best Chinese Anywhere in Houston?

s
sethnavajo Aug 15, 2008 12:20 PM

I'm new to Houston--have been a NYC foodie for the last 5 years.

Having moved to Houston two months ago, I've been to a few different Chinese restaurants. I've found one that supercedes all others I've been to, not only in Houston, but NYC, San Francisco, and Boston as well: China View on Katy Freeway. It's truly one of the best restaurants in terms of food quality I've been to of any cuisine and any price range. The salt and pepper tofu in particular is one of the best dishes in terms of quality of ingredients, textures, flavors, and inventiveness I've ever had.

I've been shocked to see it so rarely mentioned on this board. Do people agree with my assessment? Disagree?

For those who have been to China View, have you found better Chinese elsewhere in the city and/or country? (Only Shiao Lan Kung and Lee How Fook in Philly equal this restaurant for me regarding Chinese cuisine.)

  1. b
    bornie Jun 25, 2012 05:51 PM

    Mala in chinatown!

    1. j
      judithsapar Nov 3, 2010 06:16 PM

      I went to Shanghai Restaurant tonight based on the recommendation on this board and it was absolutely amazing. We ordered the stir fried shrimp with X/O sauce (with shell) and it was absolutely scrumptious. The waitress said that salted and peppered pork ribs are very popular and we ordered them but I wasn't too impressed, it was greasy and tasted bland. I wouldn't order that again but I am looking forward to going back and trying more things on the menu. I was very happy with my meal and the service.

      12 Replies
      1. re: judithsapar
        Lambowner Nov 3, 2010 07:03 PM

        Was that Shanghai River on Westheimer? That is a pretty legendary place in terms of its friendly owners and long time fans. Their dumplings are good, the rest is average. But having just seen this thread, I have to say I've lived very close to China View for 8 years and have been there many times for meetings and such and the food is nothing special, but at the lunch buffet it is downright awful. The building itself should be condemned with stained and missing ceiling tiles and dirty carpets. When I've been there, there has never been more than a couple of other tables occupied. Yikes that place creeps me out. I don't know why people (including food writers) insist on giving it glowing reviews.

        -----
        Shanghai River Restaurant
        2407 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098

        China View Restaurant
        11113 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77079

        1. re: Lambowner
          b
          Bulldozer Nov 4, 2010 07:42 AM

          No, Shanghai Restaurant on Bellaire. I happen to like the ribs; they're a nice contrast. They're actually more of a Cantonese restaurant than a Shangainese one.

          9116 Bellaire Blvd.
          Houston, TX
          (713) 988-7288

          1. re: Lambowner
            b
            Bulldozer Nov 4, 2010 07:43 AM

            Oh and BTW China View has gone way downhill. If anyone writes glowing reviews, it's because they're doing it off their memory from years ago.

            -----
            China View Restaurant
            11113 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77079

            1. re: Bulldozer
              Lambowner May 23, 2011 09:59 AM

              Well, it looks as if China View has finally shuttered. I got a rave review from a relative who recently went to Cafe Taipei on Eldridge in the Energy Corridor. She was particulaly excited because her tea was hot, because everyone else serves it tepid. She also said all the veggies were bright and fresh and the shrimp was big, fat and tender. Anyone else been here? I'm scanning the crowd for you, Doobs. Our choices for Chinese in the area are pretty dismal.

              -----
              China View Restaurant
              11113 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77079

              Cafe Taipei
              1416 Eldridge Pkwy, Houston, TX 77077

              1. re: Lambowner
                Lambowner Jun 20, 2012 08:56 AM

                Cafe Taipei turned out to be average. I like Chang's in Katy for Americanized Chinese. Always fresh.

                1. re: Lambowner
                  DoobieWah Jun 20, 2012 11:35 AM

                  We've eaten at the Changs on San Felipe at Bering a few times.

                  Do we know if they are related?

                  1. re: DoobieWah
                    Lambowner Jun 21, 2012 06:53 AM

                    They have 3 locations, Katy, Sugar Land and Heights, family owned. The Heights location is called Eastern Chinese Restaurant.

                    1. re: Lambowner
                      DoobieWah Jun 21, 2012 07:48 AM

                      Right. Appears to be unrelated.

                      Too bad China View, (the subject of the four year old OP), is long gone.

                      Truthfully, I don't have a favorite Americanized Chinese joint and haven't for a few years. There are several we eat at semi-regularly, but nothing I would urge an out-of-towner to try.

                      I guess my favorite right now is Red Pepper on Westheimer at Chimney Rock. They have a few flourishes I really like. (House made Chili Oil and their pan fried green beans.)

                      1. re: DoobieWah
                        j
                        James Cristinian Jun 25, 2012 12:32 PM

                        Certainly not cutting edge, but my favorite Americanized Chinese is Hong Kong Chef on S. Rice and Bissonnett in Bellaire. We just went the other day and got our usual, Shrimp Kew, perfectly fried shrimp in a brown sauce with lots of veggies, their great egg rolls, and the won ton soup, plus extra for leftovers. This is not your usual with one stuffed won ton with a few scallions, but instead full of won tons, pork, and veggies. I've been going since the 1880's, not a typo, and it's the same as it ever was, kitchen up front, spartan dining room in back, with one of the waitresses being a milder version of the Soup Nazi when she's having a bad day. Cash and I think cheques only.

                        1. re: James Cristinian
                          Lambowner Jun 25, 2012 12:59 PM

                          I happened to be in the Heights today after reading the HP feature "Where the Chefs Eat," and and stopped in at Flying Dragon, recommended by one of them. Not great. They had chicken chow mein and I asked them to sub shrimp which they were happy to do for an upcharge. But the shrimp were few and too small to be called popcorn shrimp (I mean tiiiiiny) and came from a freezer bag. The sauce was heavy brown instead of the usual lighter sauce normally served on the dish, and filled with water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. The side chicken wing was over-cooked. The lady serving was very nice and a TV and some books kept the other two solo diners (at noon) occupied. Despite all that, it was hot and not bad for what it was. I'm sad because I also read B4-u-eat on this place before I went and there was not a single bad review. Perhaps I ordered the wrong thing, but I'd just as soon move on to the next thing rather than go back.

                          http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2012/06/where_the_chefs_eat_chris_shep.php

                          http://www.b4-u-eat.com/houston/resta...

                          1. re: Lambowner
                            h
                            happymmm Jun 25, 2012 10:14 PM

                            Lambowner, the best Chinese food is going to be on the Southwest side of town. My recs above (Shanghai Restaurant, 9116 Bellaire Blvd; Hong Kong Food Street; Fung's Kitchen; Peking Cuisine) still stand.

                            You can also try Arco Seafood for good dim sum, House of Bowls for solid Hong-Kong-style Cantonese, Vinh Hoa for good Chinese/Vietnamese, Mala Sichuan for Sichuan cuisine, Confucious Seafood for Cantonese/lobster, Fu Fu has a great $5 lunch special...there are so many choices, all in the "new" Chinatown area on Bellaire near Beltway 8, where you'll find that the patronage is primarily Chinese. Inside-the-loop choices are bound to disappoint.

                            1. re: happymmm
                              Lambowner Jun 26, 2012 06:20 AM

                              While I love Fung's and their Peking Duck, I am intimidated by Chinatown and the communication issues and the shear volume of choices. Not to mention the sensory overload that is dim sum. I need a guide to go in with me and order for me!

        2. a
          aynrandgirl Jan 4, 2010 09:17 AM

          Where's good Szechuan in Houston? I need to satisfy my capsaicin cravings. Most Chinese joints in Houston won't amp up the heat even if you ask for it. Yes, I know about V's and Nidda's, but this thread is about Chinese food.

          Btw, I see several ex-SF Bay Area commenters. If you ever go back there and like spicy food check out Jing Jing in Palo Alto. They have an entire menu page of "don't ask for mild".

          6 Replies
          1. re: aynrandgirl
            m
            mgovshteyn Feb 6, 2010 05:07 PM

            Sichuan Cuisine is outstanding.

            --
            Misha
            http://www.tasty-bits.com

            -----
            Sichuan Cuisine
            9114 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036

            1. re: mgovshteyn
              a
              aynrandgirl Feb 8, 2010 03:10 PM

              Is that the name of a restaurant?

              1. re: aynrandgirl
                air Feb 8, 2010 03:56 PM

                Yep that's a restaurant. 9114 Bellaire, in Diho Square near that Welcome Food Center.

            2. re: aynrandgirl
              r
              rayliam Feb 7, 2010 05:30 PM

              I have to say 888 Chinese restaurant, 403 Winkler drive right off of I-45 South near Woodridge, has the hottest Sichuan dishes I've tried. Be aware they have two menus. One is Americanized and in English and another is in Chinese and has more of the Sichuan dishes. The Sichuan Tofu (Chinese Menu) is the hottest thing I've ever tried. The tofu swims in an extremely spicy broth loaded with Sichuan pepper pods. My whole mouth was numb from the heat. On the english menu, they have Sichuan beef but it's much milder and does not compare to the tofu. You may have to haggle with the waiter to bring you the Spicy Tofu if you're not Chinese or the other insane and authentic Sichuan dishes they have there. Luckily, I go with a Chinese friend who orders for us.

              Other restaurants I recommend are the Hong Kong Food Street for good Hong Kong style food (not dim sum) and for fast food, the Chinese Cafe on Bellaire in the old Diho Square is quite good for take out or a quick meal.

              -----
              888 Chinese Restaurant
              403 Winkler Dr, Houston, TX 77087

              1. re: rayliam
                a
                aynrandgirl Feb 8, 2010 03:11 PM

                Thanks!

                1. re: rayliam
                  Shin Jun 8, 2011 02:12 PM

                  I second this. Great Szechuan dishes. Chen Du chicken is on par with the Heat, but has a very complex taste. Whole Snapper in hot bean paste will knock your socks off. Even their Americanized dishes have more Chinese flavors going on but I tend to stick to the Chinese menu.

              2. d
                djhreg Jan 3, 2010 02:19 PM

                This restaurant must have changed its cook. That is, the reviews below were pretty convincing with people who "regularly travel to China" and references to "cutting edge restaurants in Hong Kong" (which definitely exist). The web site was convincing too with an unusually thoughtful comment that Chinese food has a 100 year tradition in the United States (true again) and promising to be able to deliver both that "USA province of China" cuisine as well as cutting edge cuisine.

                My family and I have been all over the Far East (first trip to Beijing in 1987) My college age kids, my wife and I were in Houston for the Texas Bowl. We were looking for a fun, low-key place to eat dinner on New Years Eve and this place sounded great.

                Well, the place and service met our expectation - funky collection of Chinese antiques. Friendly service. Restaurant was partly full.

                Unfortunately, the food was nothing like what was described. The salt and pepper tofu was enjoyable and the house special fried rice was competent. All of the other four dishes we ordered were simply basic ingredients stir fried / drenched in soy sauce. Everything tasted the same. Everything was served in a heap on a standard oval Chinese restaurant plate. Nothing was in the least bit "cutting edge" or "innovative". In fact, the food wasn't even up to the standards of your typical shopping mall operation like Panda Express.

                Too bad... restaurants in Taipei, Shanghai and Beijing really are innovative and some are taking Chinese cuisine in some new and exciting directions which are definitely more interesting than a heap of basic ingredients drenched in soy sauce on a plate. We were hoping that some of this would have made it to Houston...

                -----
                China View Restaurant
                11113 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77079

                3 Replies
                1. re: djhreg
                  b
                  Bulldozer Jan 3, 2010 04:05 PM

                  Yeah, it's gone way downhill in the last two years. Word is Chef Robin returned to China leaving a skeleton crew. Sorry about that.

                  1. re: Bulldozer
                    danhole Jan 5, 2010 10:58 AM

                    Good grief! Tell me that is not true! A couple years ago China View took the website down. I called and asked if they changed the web address and was told, very curtly, that the site was gone and they didn't know if it would ever be back up. Recently I saw that it was back again, so I thought everything was back to normal. It's a shame that they didn't take the time to change the site. I have always recommended this place, very highly, to people, and loved it myself. Now I have to find something else that isn't on the SW side.

                  2. re: djhreg
                    h
                    happymmm Jan 3, 2010 04:09 PM

                    Seth, are you Asian by any chance? Are you looking for authentic Chinese or Americanized Chinese? If you are looking for authentic Chinese, head over to Bellaire Blvd on the Southwest side of town and there will be plenty of bona-fide excellent Chinese cuisine from which to choose - where most patrons are of Chinese descent and you will have trouble understanding the waitstaff and vice/versa.

                    Some standouts in the southwest area:

                    Shanghai Restaurant
                    9116 Bellaire Blvd, Suite B
                    Houston, TX 77036
                    (713) 771-8082
                    On the expensive side for Asian, the food here is superb.

                    Fung's Kitchen:
                    7320 Southwest Freeway,
                    Houston - (713) 779-2288
                    Solid Hong Kong style cuisine. Great dim sum

                    Peking Cuisine
                    8332 Southwest Freeway
                    Houston, TX 77074-1603
                    (713) 988-5838
                    What to order: Peking Duck or one of the Family Meals

                    Hong Kong Food Street
                    9750 Bellaire Blvd
                    Houston, TX 77036
                    (713) 981-9888
                    What to order:
                    Fish & egg congee, salt and pepper pork cutlet, sizzling beef

                    Good luck exploring Houston's Chinese food!

                    -----
                    Peking Cuisine Restaurant
                    8332 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77074

                  3. s
                    sethnavajo Aug 18, 2008 09:26 AM

                    I mean food IQ...I have no clue about his actual IQ, though to be this talented, it must be quite high. I'll stop the gushing now.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sethnavajo
                      s
                      sarvey Aug 18, 2008 11:02 AM

                      Well, its your gushing that is pushing me to go try it! Thanks for the review. I recently moved here too from the San Francisco Bay Area and am looking for these kinds of restaurants!

                      1. re: sarvey
                        danhole Aug 18, 2008 11:50 AM

                        I do not recommend the lunch buffet. It is a much tamer version of the food. I would order off the menu. The buffet is okay if you want sweet & sour, general tso's, etc.

                    2. s
                      sethnavajo Aug 18, 2008 09:24 AM

                      I am not an expert on the cuisines of the various regions of China, and China View is not a "traditional" Chinese restaurant. Others on this board are much more qualified than I to point to the best Cantonese restaurant, Szechuan, etc. Oh, and I'd LOVE recommendations from all who have such knowledge! (Fung's Kitchen is next on my list--thanks for the recommendation).

                      What makes China View special is that the chef has an extremely high IQ, and he's innovative. His vegetables are fresh and perfectly cooked, his sauces are flavorful and complex, and his Fried Noodle Bowl in particular is truly a foodie's dream. His salt and pepper tofu, for instance is salt-baked tofu, lightly seasoned with pepper, covered by grilled onions and peppers and served with an apple cider sauce. This is innovative cuisine on par with Indika (which deserves a whole other thread about how lucky Houston is to have such a restaurant).

                      I guess I never thought I'd find such a culinary genius in the parking lot of a somewhat seedy La Quinta Inn.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sethnavajo
                        b
                        Bulldozer Aug 18, 2008 12:17 PM

                        What is authentic anyways? China has 1.3 billion people (thanks Olympic coverage!), so the concept of an all encompassing authentic Chinese restaurant won't work. China View reminds me of my last meal I had in Hong Kong, which was described as cutting edge Cantonese. So anyways, don't worry. China View would do well in Hong Kong/Shanghai too.

                        That being said, I'd suggest avoiding the lunch buffet. It's not bad, but I would guess they added that as a means to attract diners who are used to the traditional (read: Chinese American) restaurant concept.

                        As for Fung's, if you go for dinner, go for the seafood specials on the front page of the menu, but be warned it is not your average cheap Chinese restaurant. You can spend a lot of money there. On the weekends, they have a fantastic Dim Sum, which I think is the best in town.

                      2. danhole Aug 18, 2008 08:34 AM

                        Seth, I agree with you! I have recommended China View before and it has fallen on deaf ears. They have an extensive menu, with the "tried and true" entrees and then there are the other entrees that are much more exciting. It is also a gorgeous place. Here is a link:

                        http://www.chinaview.us/

                        1. neverfull Aug 17, 2008 10:04 PM

                          seth, tell me more about china view. there are no reviews of the restaurant on yelp. the reviewers on B4-u-eat are ordering chinese-american dishes like sweet and sour and general chicken. also, so many of the reviews are glowing that it's hard to believe they are all legit.

                          and what kind of chinese food are you looking for in houston? i take it you've been to chinatown on bellaire already.

                          1. b
                            Bulldozer Aug 15, 2008 02:17 PM

                            I agree with you. I rarely make it all the way out to the west side as the Katy Freeway is a disaster. The BYOB policy is just gravy. A good bottle of pinot with the lamb or duck and that's last meal quality right there.

                            My other fave is Fung's Kitchen on 59. Different kind of restaurant though.

                            You can't go wrong with either.

                            -----
                            Fung's Kitchen
                            7320 Southwest Fwy Ste 115, Houston, TX 77074

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