Chow’s: authentic Chinese as good as it gets in Oklahoma City
Chow’s Chinese Restaurant is located at 3033 North May Avenue in Oklahoma City (map). They are open Sunday 12pm to 11pm, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 4:30pm to 11pm. They are closed on Tuesdays. Call them at 405.949.1633.
This review is a very long-awaited continuation of my Oklahoma City Chinese food reviews that I started back in January with Fung’s Kitchen. I must apologize! In any case, this week I present to you a review of Chow’s Chinese Restaurant.
I first visited Chow’s about 2 years ago. The first thing I realized when driving up to the building is that it looks like an old IHOP. I also noticed that there aren’t any other Asian restaurants around because it’s situated a few miles west of the Asian District. Though Chow’s may seem a bit out of place, it knows no shortage of patrons on the weekends. So, if you want more individual attention, come on a weeknight.
For late-night owls like me, this place is one of the very few food establishments in OKC that’s open past 9pm. Bless restaurants like this!
Max Chow, owner and namesake of the restaurant, hails from Hong Kong which is said to be the culinary capital of the Asia. In the Cantonese style of cooking, freshness is paramount and the wait staff isn’t shy to communicate that Mr. Chow only uses the best ingredients.
To illustrate this point, they fly in fresh lobsters from Boston every Thursday or Friday, so don’t wait until Wednesday to get a taste of their lobster dishes. In fact, Mr. Chow might not even sell them by then because they won’t meet his strict freshness standards. The staff claims that their lobster and their oysters are their specialties. I haven’t tried the oysters yet, but their lobster is delicious (more on that below).
On a recent trip to Chow’s I ate family-style with 2 other friends. We started off with the Crab Meat with Fish Mau Soup ($8.95). Now, if you haven’t had much Asian food, the consistency of this soup might be a bit odd, but it’s quite delicious and the portions are definitely enough for a party of 4. My only complaint this time around was that the corn starch wasn’t completely dissolved and it was a bit lumpy.
Next up we ordered the Pork Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce ($8.50), Chicken Pan Fried Egg Noodles ($7.95), and, finally, the Hot and Spicy Fresh Lobster (price varies from $15-18/lb).
Mr. Chow uses fresh, whole garlic cloves in many of his dishes and it provides a good, pronounced flavor. Being Korean, I LOVE garlic, and I would just eat raw garlic all day long if I didn’t have to worry about scaring my co-workers and any potential vampires.
Although Chow’s doesn’t have a saltwater tank in the front of the store to display their fresh lobsters, Mr Chow’s attention to freshness will assure that every lobster they serve is alive when you order. The hot and spicy lobster is prepared with a tempura batter and lightly fried. It’s served with onions, whole garlic cloves, and cilantro.
Out of our three dishes, my friends considered the pork spare ribs their favorite while I thought the lobster was the most delicious. Honorable mention must go to the chicken pan fried noodles because it’s very satisfying to the palate with its very tender white-meat chicken, fresh vegetables, and crispy egg noodles that eventually soften with exposure to the tasty white sauce poured over the dish.
On a subsequent trip, I ordered to-go for myself only and had the Seafood Pan Fried Noodles ($11.95) with the rice noodles instead. I found it to be a very satisfying meal in itself. The dish consists of fried fish, shrimp, squid, scallops, ginger, whole garlic cloves, cabbage, carrots, celery, broccoli, bamboo shoots, and onions. I think this is a FAR better option than the typical American-style dishes that I prefer not to order. Sure, call me a Chinese food snob, but I could eat Chow’s pan fried noodles all day long.
To wrap up my review of Chow’s, I need to mention that their service is excellent. The waiters have great knowledge of the dishes they serve and can offer good recommendations for what to order if you’re unsure of what you want. Although the decor is sorely lacking and the hours are limited to dinner-only (except on Sundays), they are open late and they serve quite possibly the best Chinese food in the state.
If you’ve had a good (or bad) experience at Chow’s, we’d love to hear what you have to say. So please leave a comment below!