Sunday, September 20, 2009

OK Chinese Food in Eagle Rock

Not every hole in the wall will be a gem in the rough. Sometimes, it’ll just be a piece of coal: not pretty, not memorable, but functional, if potentially noxious. As tempting as it is to want to love dingy little cheap dives, they can’t all be great. Some of them will suck, or be just OK.

The aptly named OK Chinese Food , in the La Fuente mini mall on Colorado (near Eagle Rock Blvd.), falls into the latter category. There are no attempts at anything too memorable here. It’s essentially a seedier version of Panda Express, without the uniforms or the brand consultants. Certainly, no one was consulted on the name choice.

The dishes on the steam trays are mostly forgettable, warmed-over, MSG-delivery-vehicle goop. (The spicy chicken and mushroom chicken that I tried were meh.) But at the far end of the steam trays is OK Chinese Food’s pièce de résistance: the pepper chicken wings. (Don't get too excited.)

Pepper Chicken Wings, Spicy Chicken, and Chow mein: $5.27. Sometimes, you get what you pay for.

The wings are widely celebrated among OK Chinese Food’s numerous enthusiasts, and the wings are probably the only reason to endure the grim service and atmosphere of OK Chinese Food. The service here is usually joyless and distracted. The interior is pretty much classic crappy mini-mall Chinese place (complete with yellowing ads for Boba Tea, empty jugs of unidentifiable liquid scattered on the floor behind the counter, thousands of plastic bags stacked and ready for deployment). It’s probably fair to say that OK Chinese Food is not too concerned with running a “green” operation.

The wings were not as spicy as I would have hoped. The woman at the counter, who wanted to be done with me, told me they were “just a little spicy.” I couldn’t really detect any spice. The wings were certainly salty, and would probably be more accurately named OK Salty Fried Chicken Wings. They're heavily battered and deeply fried. The effect is not too different from KFC Hot Wings (from what I can remember of those) but saltier. The wings are good, but I don’t see how or why they could have inspired the mini cult following OK Chinese Food appears to have.

The plus side: they are not stingy with the portions. They will stuff the styrofoam take-out tray with food till it’s near bursting. You can get a very big, if not exactly wonderful, meal here for about $5. And you will probably finish it all, once you are in thrall to the chemical dictates of the MSG. You’ll probably feel a little guilty and unhealthy afterwards. OK Chinese Food gets a B from the Health Department; it’s certainly not immaculate, but you probably won’t get sick. High praise, I know.

1 comment:

Colonel Mortimer said...

What's your favorite LA non-Chinatown located Chinese restaruant, not limited to Eagle Rock of course? I was spoiled by growing up in the bay area and other than trekking downtown, haven't really encountered any great Chinese in my years here.

When can we expect a Capri review?

And I just noticed I can vote on the content of the entry. Have you been christened with an "I Hate You" rating yet?