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Mind you, this is not necessarily an evaluation of the restaurants as a whole. If I was to put together a top 5 list of restaurants, Gonsea would be in it. It just happens that none of their dishes made it into my top five.
I have tried most of the restaurants in county, and I’ve had a couple of horrible experiences (I won’t say where), but we actually have some decent Chinese food selections for a rural area. I’m looking forward to the day when the first dim sum specialty place opens for breakfasts – one of the offerings in the Bay Area I miss the most. If anybody can point me to a great BBQ pork bun in this county I’d be very grateful!
1. Red Snapper with Black Bean Sauce – Hunan Village in Fortuna
I haven’t been in there in a few months, but it’s been on the specials board for a couple of years now, assuming it’s still there. I’m hoping they integrate it into their next menu so that I can feel secure in knowing it’ll be there. The fish is cooked immaculately, and the sauce is subtle so that it doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the fish.
Liu’s is our favorite Chinese restaurant in the county, largely because my son’s favorite food of any sort is hot and sour soup and his favorite version is at Liu’s; probably because he’s been devouring it since he was a baby. But since I’ve moved here I’ve probably had the kung pao lunch special over a hundred times. It comes with a bowl of soup (I usually go for the egg flower) and a spring roll. I much prefer it with steamed rice rather than the offered fried rice. The photo to the left looks just like it, especially if you click on it to enlarge.
3. Mongolian Beef – Cadilac Wok in Garberville
The restaurant has improved dramatically under the latest ownership, and they’ve added some decent Thai dishes to the menu. The Mongolian Beef is full-flavored and appropriately spicy. You get hot and sour soup with the lunch specials. Also recommended is their chicken curry, both the Chinese dish and the Thai stew.
4. Savory Wor Wonton Soup – Hunan Plaza in Arcata
My favorite time to visit this restaurant is in the fall, where the sideways light comes into the quasi-basement room, darkened somewhat by the dark brown wood interior. The soup is especially rewarding if you’ve been out in the cold wet weather. The broth is to dream for, and the wontons are flavorful and generous with the stuffing. It’s filled with several different meats, including a nicely smoked pork, and a slew of crunchy vegetables.
5. Pan Fried Green Beans – Liu’s again
Spicy and crunchy just like Mom used to make!