The China Inn has a good location in the downtown area of Blacksburg, Virginia. Next to the VA Tech campus, the public library, the police station, and with shopping one street over, China Inn is really in the thick of things. But with a shabby exterior, the examiner wasn’t sure what to expect in those take out containers. Would there be treasure within, or trash?
Dishes sampled from the lunch menu were: Broccoli with Beef, General Tso’s Chicken, Salt Black Pepper Chicken, Shrimp Lo Mein, and Crab Rangoon (pardon the spelling, the dishes are as listed on the menu). China Inna also threw in a pack of fried wonton “chips,” and some prepackaged cookies.
The plain fried rice served as an accompaniment is not plain, but bland. Rice shouldn’t taste like lukewarm cardboard. Even the other eaters, one of which is a ferocious devotee of rice, avoided this culinary atrocity.
There was an interesting texture to the rangoon shell, but the creamy filling is in desperate need of more green onion. This dish was the first to be entirely eaten. All of the diners missed the bright crimson sweet and sour sauce that is an expectation for this appetizer. A packet of mass produced duck sauce is no substitute for s’n’s.
The best dishes were the Shrimp Lo Mein and the Salt Black Pepper Chicken. The Lo Mein wasn’t greasy, which was a welcome relief. Noodles were tasty, but light on both vegetables and shrimp. Green peppers and the onion in the chicken were adequately prepared, but more of those veggies in the serving would have been nice. The chicken wasn’t horrible tasting, however, the breading surrounding all of the deep fried dishes suffered from China Inn’s packing method: styrofoam.
The Broccoli with Beef was sad, but not a total loss. Slices of beef and a generous amount of broccoli pieces were blanketed in unremarkable, tasteless brown gravy. It made the reviewer happy to see those nice, large, fresh pieces of broccoli! A bit of work on the sauce, and less time in the wok for the meat which should be *just* done, and this dish will be great.
General Tso suffered a crushing defeat from both the aforementioned breading issue, and from being light on the red pepper which should make this a spicy meal. Also absent in GT’s sauce was orange flavor, which adds tang to the taste bud army, and would have been useful in the fight against mediocrity. Although orange isn’t always found in GTC, for the examiner, a citrus is a must have ingredient to balance and mellow out the heat and sweetness of the syrup like sauce.
While the reviewer gives the take out side of China Inn three stars, they ran close to getting two. Price, Lo Mein, and the Crab Rangoon helped save the meal. All of the problem spots are easy fixes, but the first thing to loose is styrofoam packing containers. They are bad for food quality, and bad for the environment. I’m hoping to dine in and see better results.
China Inn offers dine in, take out, and order online here.
403 Draper Road
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540 552 0871