5860 Westerville Rd, Westerville, OH 43081
A theory: the further a Chinese restaurant is from OSU, the harder it is for the proprietors to believe that non-Chinese guests could appreciate their traditional preparations. China House is about as far from campus as any restaurant in Central Ohio with a Chinese menu could be, and, well, yes, yes we can use chopsticks. Honestly! We would like to, too.
With the sustained application of polite insistence, the desired menus and utensils were acquired. Further efforts yielded these 4 dishes: Broccoli with Lily Bulbs, Seafood Longevity Noodles, Beef Stew Radish, and Wen Chang Chicken.
We eat a lot of green vegetable preparations in Chinese restaurants, and none have been better than China House’s Broccoli. It’s Chinese broccoli, of course, and the minced lily bulbs made for an intriguing water chestnut-like accompaniment, but the real trick was of a goldilocks nature – not too oily, not too dry, not too salty, not too bland. And, the broccoli wasn’t over cooked (or undercooked!). Just right.
Beef Stew (with) Radish is a common sight on menus geared towards a Chinese audience. China House’s version was entirely in keeping with previous experiences, featuring tender beef, beef tendon, large chunks of radish, some veg, all in nice thick gravy redolent of Chinese 5 spice. Those of us who enjoy the traditionally assertive 5 spice flavor and are comfortable with the texture of tendon gave it a solid thumb’s up.
Seafood Longevity Noodles were a bit divisive – everyone appreciated the flavor and enjoyed the generous portions of shrimp and scallops within, but the mushy texture of the noodles was both argued to be typical of the genre and, to several of us, thought unpleasant.
The Wen Chang Chicken confounded. It was half a chicken, butchered whole and bone-in, plus head! So far so good – jibes with previous experiences. But, it was covered with what we’re pretty sure was egg roll dipping sauce. There was lots of excessively polite discussion regarding this curiosity at the table, but when we left it was largely untouched.
In summation: Four dishes – two hits, two misses. The menu is large, and more exploration would likely yield more gems. Help us!