Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Chen's Restaurant

Type: Chinese
Location: 1268 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ, 07974 (just east of the South St./Passaic Ave. intersection)

Chen's now delivers. You used to have to either go there for sit-down or to pick up your phoned-in order. It's mostly Chinese, as the name implies, but it also has sushi, with a sushi bar and chef. For lunch, there are $6-$7 specials from the Chinese menu, and $7-$11 ones from the Japanese menu.

Chicken dishes run between $10 (for ordinary offerings from the Chinese menu), and $14, for half a Peking Duck. Rice and noodle dishes run around $7 or $8, even for my fave -- Singapore Mei Fun. Most seafood dishes run between $11 and $18. The Japanese stuff runs a bit higher, but not much more than a dollar or two, for what you might expect.

Their hot & sour soup is a great appetizer, really inexpensive, and doesn't contain any strange strips of "mystery meat." Get a bowl of soup each, and split an entree, if there are only two of you. Unless you're really starving, it will be enough for two, and should come in at around $15-$16, including a 15-20% tip.

I've never had a bad dish from Chen's, but the ones I like the best are "Ginger Chicken," "Diced Chicken with Hot Pepper Sauce & Peanuts," "Beef with Pepper, Baby Corn, Scallion, Hot Pepper Sauce," and "Jumbo Shrimp with Ginger Sauce." The shrimp with honey-coated walnuts is pretty good, too, if you want something that isn't spicy.

Pros: inexpensive; good food; attentive wait staff; huge parking lot behind the place; does take-out, and now, delivery (within a limited area)
Cons: No dumplings, dim sum, or any sort of japanese noodle dish like sukiyaki, or a ramen bowl

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