January 21, 2012

Casual Chinese

Casual Chinese, on Grand Avenue in Newport, has been my go-to Chinese place for the last four years.  I wouldn't say it's the best Chinese I've ever had but I've grown fond of it.  Their egg rolls and crab rangoon are always hot and fresh and my usual order of Szechuan vegetables with shrimp never lets me down.  Never lets me down, that is, until my last visit when the sauce tasted...off.

In my experience, you choose a Chinese restaurant based on its proximal location to your house, not necessarily on it being the best place in town.  I didn't want to let this one bad experience deter me completely, cause let's face it, everyone has a bad day.  So on a recent trip I ventured off the well-beaten path of Sunday night Szechuan and took some time to consider their other menu items.  Much to my delight Casual Chinese offers a small Thai menu along with their traditional Chinese-American cuisine.  The menu includes red curry, yellow curry, pad Thai, Siam noodles and a few others; on this particular day I was rather in the mood for Thai, win! 

The Chicken Pad Thai was excellent.  I've ordered this menu item at countless places over the years and this order really held up to those I've had in exclusively Thai restaurants.  The portion is HUGE.  It filled an entire large styrofoam container and weighed about a ton; if I remember correctly I made three meals out of this order.
Another surprise on the menu was the "small dinner" offerings.  Casual Chinese offers about 10 variations of small dinners ranging from pepper steak to chicken with broccoli to sweet and sour chicken; each dinner is served with a decent portion of fried rice.  I chose the shrimp with vegetables from the small dinner menu.  The shrimp and vegetables were juicy and crisp and served in a very light-colored brown sauce. It was really the perfect dinner portion and at the lower price of $6.95 it's a deal, especially if you're not looking to stuff yourself with a quart of Chinese food.  I snapped this picture after mixing in some of the pad Thai and taking quite a few bites.  
With such an encouraging visit to Casual Chinese I hope to change things up a bit each time I go back. Or maybe I'll just keep ordering the Pad Thai, it was that good.

 Casual Chinese on Urbanspoon

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