Find reliable favorites at China Place

Find reliable favorites at China Place

Tucked into a storefront on University Avenue near the Drake University campus, China Place is the type of neighborhood Chinese joint everybody needs: It offers a large menu of favorite dishes, prepared hot and tasty and available at reasonable prices.

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China Place offers takeout, delivery or eat-in, though judging from my visit on a Friday evening, the first two options are by far the most popular. My husband and I had the restaurant to ourselves for almost the entire time we were there, but many people popped in and out to pick up bags of fragrant food.

The space features about 15 tables set with the standard accoutrement of hot mustard and sweet-and-sour sauces. We checked out the lengthy menu and decided on two dinner entrees: mu shu pork and chicken lo mein. The dinners each came with a choice of egg roll or crab Rangoon, egg drop or hot-and-sour soup, and steamed or fried rice.

I chose an egg roll, filled with chicken and veggies and arriving hot and crispy. The egg drop soup was topped with crunchy noodles and had a savory eggy taste without being too salty. All the appetizers, and the entrees, were served quickly and made it to the table hot and steaming.

My order of chicken lo mein was a satisfying, classic version of the dish. The sizable portion had a tasty sauce, and the vegetables seemed quite fresh — the celery, carrots and onions all retained a nice crunch. I also tried my husband’s mu shu pork. The platter of pork and veggies in sauce came with four large, thin pancakes, enough to hold all the filling.

Although saltier than the lo mein, the hoisin-sauced dish had a nice, slightly smoky flavor.

The fried rice was pretty basic — it contained bits of scrambled egg but no vegetables.

Two people can easily eat dinner for close to $20 at China Place. The menu’s wide variety includes chicken, pork, beef, seafood and vegetable options, most for less than $10.

A separate lunch menu offers a long list of favorite dishes for around $6 each.

China Place

Where: 2414 University Ave.

Hours: 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Saturday for lunch; 3-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 3-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday for dinner.

Info: 515-633-9393

Our receipt

Chicken lo mein: $8.02

Mu shu pork: $8.45

Total, tax and tip: $20.47

About the Author

Laura is contributor to Juice Magazine.

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