Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Timmy's Wok (Hamilton, OH)

In almost every shopping center I’ve ever seen there’s one of these… a discreet little Chinese restaurant nestled among the flower boutiques and used CD stores.  I’m not sure how this trend got started, but I’d like to take a moment to thank the responsible parties.  That aside, what makes these places so revered, if anything?  Is the food really that good?  Is the ambiance inside so otherworldly it’ll make you think twice about boring ordinary hamburger hangouts?  I’ll attempt to answer these questions and more.

Most of these places have one of the following words in them: “dragon”, “garden”, “golden”, “happy”, “China”, etc.  Today, we’ll be taking a gander at Timmy’s Wok.  Rumor on the streets is Timmy’s Wok rocks.  As you can gauge from these interior pictures, this is not suitable for a first date scenario, unless you’re taking out Usagi Yojimbo.  Granted, these aren’t the best quality shots, but this place was tiny and I didn’t want to offend any of the cooks and get assaulted with Hunan Beef.

We had our eyes on their prized lunch special, where, for $4.99 you receive one entrée, rice (pork fried or steamed), and your choice of an egg roll or soup.  In terms of pure economical purposes, that’s a damn fine lunch in my eyes.  The woman taking our order wasn’t very talkative, which baffled me; I mean, come on, who wouldn’t be absolutely thrilled to serve Moo Goo Gai Pan all day?  After a short wait, she brought us out our Wonton Soup.  I liked it.  The soup itself, a relatively bland broth, was made marvelous by the inclusion of several scrumptious beef wontons.  Although my heart was leaning towards ordering an egg roll, in the end, I was satisfied with my choice.

Now, the big moment was upon us, the delivery to our table of our entrees!  Amanda wisely chose Sesame Chicken, with her prior sage like knowledge of Chinese dining, accompanied with steamed rice. I opted, for what I imagined to be, the safe option of Chicken Lo Mein with pork fried rice.  Before I discuss the quality of the food, allow me a minute to digress about our beverages.  Timmy doesn’t do soda fountains, apparently, and we had to opt for bottled beverages that were slightly overpriced.  I went with Dr. Pepper, surely an inspired decision, while Amanda kept it safe with generic bottled water.

Anyway, on to the main course!  To an extent, I was correct, the Chicken Lo Mein wasn’t bad, although via playing it safe I wasn’t too overly excited about the meal.  I usually love dousing my Chinese in soy, but this particular dish was plenty salty as was, and the pork fried rice was pretty dry, too.  Amanda’s Sesame Chicken was the real winner, though, scoring high in the flavor department.  The taste and texture of the chicken was, in my humble opinion, near perfection… especially when you keep in mind the low price.

Overall, I think Timmy and his wok isn’t a bad idea, for those both veterans and newcomers to Chinese food.  The lunch special is a deal worthy of praise and admiration, and something I’ll certainly be taking advantage of a lot these coming months.  Now, don’t feel like you’re left out if you’re nowhere near Ohio… there’s little eateries similar to this nationwide.  Good luck in your searches, and, for Timmy’s sake, try the Kung Pao Shrimp.

Overall Grade: B+ 

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