The Queen’s Chopstick
The Queen’s Chopstick opened this week in the Timberhill Plaza on Kings Boulevard in Corvallis. After giving them a few days to work out the new restaurant kinks, my boyfriend and I headed in to try them out.
This restaurant is beautiful. It’s a small place, only twelve tables in all, but its rich woods and gorgeous cream and burnt orange color scheme, complimented by the minimalistic, Asian décor, make it a warm, lovely, and cozy little place to eat. The staff is wonderfully friendly, and effusive with their service. Our water glasses never made it past half empty.
My boyfriend tried the Moo Shu pork, and I had the Honey Prawn with Walnuts (a favorite dish that I first encountered in Oregon. Apparently, you guys are keeping this one secret from us Easterners). We tried a couple of appetizers, too, the crab rangoon and their dumplings.
The crab rangoon was delicious, and since this is a staple of Chinese restaurants, and a pretty simple food to make, it’s a good dish for judging the quality of the restaurant. After all, if you can’t get crab rangoon right, you can’t get anything right. They came out hot and perfectly melted, with a crisp wrapping, and had an oniony hint in its flavor that I hadn’t encountered before. You only get four, which is probably a good thing, otherwise you’ll be tempted to fill up on them.
We also tried their “dumplings,” which were generically named, but fantastic all the same. You can get them steamed or pan-fried, and they come with a rich soy sauce-based dipping sauce. We had ours fried, and they were excellent. The ground pork filling was savory, especially with the sauce.
Dinner came with a bit of a show, as well, as our server wrapped some of my boyfriend’s Moo Shu pork up in the whisper thin pancake wraps for him. (“Nice! I never got the hang of that,” James commented.) The dish came with a great plum sauce, which really made the dish pop. The meal was complex and varied, with each bite a burst of different flavors. Which I only know second hand from James, because I totally was not stealing bites the whole time.
My Honey Prawns were divine, sweet, but not cloying, lightly battered and cooked to absolute perfection. The honey sauce was mouthwatering, and the candied walnuts made a great garnish. They used half walnuts, too, done fresh for the dish. I could tell, because they didn’t come out in one sticky clump, like you see in some places.
Price- and atmosphere-wise, this restaurant falls in between casual and fine dining. You could show up in university sweats and not feel out of place, or bring a date here without looking cheap. The Queen’s Chopstock offers marvelous food for good prices in a classy environment. You should eat here, often, and with friends, because I want this place to do well and stay open!
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