Reverse Restaurant Review Roulette: Name that 4-Star Chinese Restaurant

The top of page 3 in the food section of today’s News & Observer had its typical tease for Greg Cox’s weekly review, which is how I usually identify the restaurant to be reviewed.  In some instances, they don’t name the restaurant, so I end up sending Greg an email to find out the subject of the review.  They did something completely different today, which I hope doesn’t become their standard procedure: the teaser said, “Greg Cox gives four stars to a Triangle Chinese restaurant.”

Geesh, they’ve already told us how many stars the restaurant receives, so I can’t do my typical story this week.

So, we’ll turn it around for once.  We know that a Triangle-based Chinese restaurant is getting a 4-star review on Friday.  We just need to guess what restaurant that might be.  I’m going to have to disqualify myself, because I’ve dined with Greg at one local Chinese restaurant, that was pretty darned good.  And he told me about a couple of others.  I will say that if he gave 4 stars to the restaurant where we ate, I’m going to be at odds with him.  But I don’t want to jump to conclusions here.

What are the 4-star worthy Chinese restaurants in the Triangle?

***********************

Edit, December 17, 2010

Greg Cox awarded 4 stars to Asian Grill in North Raleigh, a tiny establishment in a strip mall that features Shanghai cuisine, including very tasty soup dumplings.  I am a complete novice when it comes to Shanghai cuisine, but I actually accompanied Greg when we had lunch there several weeks ago.  It was delicious, including some dishes I’ve never had before (sea bass with a wine sauce).  They had soup dumplings.  Really good soup dumplings.  This place is good.  Damn good.  But is it 4 star worthy?  In a vacuum, yes, this place has 4 star food.  It’s really good stuff.  But under the N&O’s rating system, a casual place like this can only get 4 stars.  It’s as high as it can go.  I’m not sure that Asian Grill represents the pinnacle of casual Chinese dining.  I know that Bella Mia, for example, represents the pinnacle of pizza, and they got 4 stars.

However, I leave that discussion for another day, when I write about the inherent problems with a star-based system.  Until then, just get over to Asian Grill.  It’s a great addition to the local dining scene.

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5 Responses to Reverse Restaurant Review Roulette: Name that 4-Star Chinese Restaurant

  1. cswiii says:

    I know there’s a bunch of good (authentic) Chinese restaurants in the Triangle, but afaik, unless he’s revisiting some of these places, I don’t know that it would be any of them. He’s reviewed all of them in the past, I think.

    * 35 Chinese (Cary) – Sichuan, misc.
    * C&T Wok (Morrisville) – Sichuan
    * Super Wok (Cary) – Fujian
    * The place across the street from Cat’s Cradle has had 火锅 (“hot pot”) for a while, but I’ve heard they have an authentic Sichuan menu now. Haven’t tried it.

    There are others that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

    35 is pretty much the gold standard for me in the Triangle now that Red Palace is closed. That said, I’d sure love to hear that the long-held (and probably abandoned) rumor that Chef Lu was looking to reopen somewhere else in the Triangle has come to fruition. Would be a terrific early Xmas gift…

  2. Ross Grady says:

    The place across from the Cradle, Gourmet Kingdom, has a mindblowingly great Szechuan menu now. On food alone it rates 4 stars, but I’ll be curious to see if that’s it, since the decor & service are more “normal local Chinese restaurant” than anything else.

  3. cswiii says:

    I should clarify/amend my statement above – 35 is pretty much my “go-to” place for Sichuan due to its location, and it is very, very good. If I lived closer to C&T, however, I would probably be going there incessantly. I’ve been there twice, and the food was amazing — and it stands to reason. The co-owner used to be at 35, and without fail she would be able to direct us towards the better dishes and away from others.

    That said, I checked, and sure enough Greg has reviewed all of these places relatively recently, though I was not able to find the 35 Chinese review. Still holding out for a place that’s new to me, however.

  4. burgeoningfoodie says:

    Gourmet Kingdom (across the street from Cat’s Cradle) has already been reviewed and given 4 Stars. You can take it off the list.

  5. Varmint says:

    Greg has not reviewed this place before.

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