Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Loving Lakeside Chinese?

Lakeside Chinese Cuisine
23022 Alicia Pkwy
Mission Viejo, CA 92630

I always thought that my 100th post would be at some real fancy Newport Beach restaurant, or a restaurant that was in the Zagat guide. But here we were on a Saturday night, and I knew that this would be the place, Lakeside Chinese in Mission Viejo. We chose to stay close to home, not sure why, but this is where we decided on.

Living in Mission Viejo, I receive about a coupon a week from Lakeside Chinese and their sister restaurant Crown Chinese, (also in Mission Viejo). The coupons must work, because here we are. The restaurant was nearly deserted when we arrived at six o'clock on a Saturday night. The phone however was ringing off the hook from the moment we got there to the moment we left. They must do a huge take-out business. Let's see how the food tastes.

Our coupon was for five dollars off of a family dinner. Not the best coupon ever, but five dollars off is five dollars off. With the family dinner you receive soup, appetizers, and two entrees. Above is the soup that Katie picked, the Egg Flower Soup. This had a mild to almost non-existent flavor. This would not have had been my choice for the soup, but I was trying to be a good boyfriend, (plus I picked the entrees, so I got my way later on).

Here are the appetizers that came with our meal. We got Egg Rolls, Paper Wrapped Chicken, and Fried Won tons. None of these were very memorable. The egg rolls were just okay, but lacking in fillings. The paper wrapped chicken was greasy and just average. The fried won ton was the worst of the lot, this was just tasteless. This was nothing that you could not get at your local Panda Express.

The first of our entrees arrived, and it was Mongolian Beef. This is always one of my favorites in Chinese restaurants. This dish had plenty of onions, and the beef had a good flavor. I am not saying that this is one of the best Mongolian Beef dishes that I have had, but it was not too bad. This was my favorite dish of the night for me.

Our second dish was a chef's special, Honey Walnut Shrimp. I have had this dish at other restaurants and have liked it. Here it was just okay. The white sauce that came with this was a little off to me. I liked the candied walnuts, but the shrimp was kind of lost in this dish. The shrimp did not pop with flavor, like you would expect. Katie had never had this before, and was not a real fan, but I let her pick the soup, so we were even.

The last of our trilogy of dishes was the Orange Peel Chicken. I found this to be the most disappointing dish of the night. The chicken was all very tiny pieces for some reasons. The flavor was not too over the top with orange flavor. On the menu this said it would be spicy, but even Katie did not register the heat on this one. I would have liked this better with bigger pieces of chicken.

The dessert that comes with the family dinner was the above Caramelized Apples and Fortune Cookies. The apples were okay, but much like the rest of this meal, were just nothing special.

Lakeside Chinese is just your average neighborhood Chinese joint. It probably stays in business because it is convenient for many of the households around the area. Lakeside is definitely not destination dining. I could not see people going out of their way to eat there. That is not to say it is awful. It will do in a pinch, or when you do not want to drive out of your neighborhood, or when you want to take advantage of the numerous coupons they give out, the ones that clutter your junk drawer.

Out of five Pennysaver coupons, five being best to zero being worst, Lakeside Chinese Cuisine gets two Pennysaver coupons.

Lakeside Chinese Cuisine does not have a web site, but you can read their menu here:

Lakeside Chinese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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