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March 18, 2009 > Restaurant Review: China Chili

Restaurant Review: China Chili

By J.D. Wolfe

There are many great places to eat and in Fremont, many Chinese food restaurants. So one has to wonder why China Chili continues to be the focus of praise during many conversations about this popular style of cooking. It was for this reason I finally decided to try it out. China Chili is a very easy place to find and parking is not a problem.

The hostess, Yvonne, is on hand just about every day to make everyone feel welcome. A well-appointed bar at the restaurant entrance is only a small preview of China Chili's allure. An ambiance that suggests quality and style defines the atmosphere as one of relaxed elegance preparing diners for what is to come. The large dining room is divided to give you privacy just about anywhere you sit.

We were seated immediately and the expected hot tea arrived with the menus. We are real menu readers so we looked over several pages and the very first thing I noticed was how difficult it was going to be to choose what to eat. Pot Stickers were ordered for an appetizer as they are something I always like. China Chili's Pot Stickers were excellent; I found that a little hot oil brought out the flavor quite well. I would order them again but ask them to be fried just a bit longer to make the shell a little crisper.

For our main course we ordered Sweet and Sour Pork along with a very simple dish of Snow Peas and Water Chestnuts. However, for our third dish we ordered off-menu. Nowhere on the menu did I see two of my favorite dishes so I asked the waiter about one of them and found it was available. We ordered Chow Fun Noodles with a combination of beef, shrimp and chicken. It was delicious. It was so delicious that there was none left to take home for lunch the next day. On a scale of one to ten this was up there. Now I know why China Chili is so popular.

Snow Peas and Water Chestnuts is a simple dish and is what you would expect it to be - a nice vegetarian plate. The Sweet and Sour Pork was amazing! Most of us order this plate and expect to get crunchy pieces of pork in a runny and sweet red sauce. This is one of the rare times when I not only was able to taste the pork but it was perfectly cooked. What was remarkable is how well the chef blended the flavor of sweet and sour throughout the plate. You could taste the sweetness in the pork and sauce while simultaneously tasting the sour part as well. It was difficult to stop eating it. For dessert we had a small amount of green tea ice cream. It was just enough.

As you have come to expect in these reviews I checked out the restrooms and kitchen and found them to both be clean and in good order. Cooking in a Chinese restaurant is very demanding so I was surprised to see the kitchen as clean as it was after a long day of cooking.

Prices are reasonable. When I order off menu I expect to pay a little more and yet our bill, even with our special order, was not out of line at all.

All in all, I enjoyed my visit to China Chili and you will enjoy a visit there too.

China Chili
39116 State Street, Fremont
510-791-1688

Reviewed March 3, 2009

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