Merle [Food] (merle_food) wrote,
Merle [Food]

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Emperor Chinese Gourmet [DO]

(back after a long hiatus of writing commentary but not posting it.. sorry...)

I had heard that a new Chinese restaurant had taken over the old Sabuy Sabuy Jr location, so a week after they opened, I went to try it out.

After I opened the door, though, I might have turned around to leave had a waitress not already seen me. Every table had a fork and napkin, but no chopsticks, and there were salt and pepper shakers on the table -- never a great sign when you want authentic Chinese food. However, I was seated quickly, given a menu, and water and tea arrived in under a minute.

The menu is very generic: five breaded chicken dishes, four beef, five chicken, two pork, two vegetarian, and three shrimp dishes. One could easily work through the menu in a month if one could stomach it. After asking what was in a couple of the dishes (always best to confirm), I went for General Tao Chicken (pea pods, broccoli, onions, deep fried chicken). With a meal you are given two choices: oriental chicken salad or two egg rolls; chow mein, fried rice, or steamed rice. I went with the chicken salad and plain steamed rice.

The chicken salad was decent enough. The lettuce was shredded quite aggressively, making it difficult to eat until chopsticks (the cheap takeout kind) arrived. It was not a great salad, but did serve to offset the rest of the meal. The dish itself had one of those cloying sweet sauces. I did not like it much. The vegetables were okay, but the sauce was so stuck to the chicken that it was hard to finish the meal.

In other words, this was basically mall Chinese food. Being right across from city hall, their target market is probably well selected. And they might be able to compete with Saigon next door, because their prices are ever so slightly lower (although a "side order" of soup is $2, so maybe not). But there are many better options within ten blocks, and a few within five...

#78 in my downtown Oakland count.

Emperor Chinese Gourmet
332 Frank Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA
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