Driving up Mills Avenue recently, I noticed a banner on Chinatown that said the restaurant had reopened. I hadn’t known it was closed, but I thought it was a good excuse to stopin and revisit.
When chinatown opened 10 years ago, I praised it for its fresh seafood selections. And fresh they were because much of the seafood for the dining room was sourced from the fish market that shared space in the freestanding building.
The market has not reopened with the restaurant. And peeking through the window, I could see it doesn’t appear that it will be a seafood market again anytime soon. So what you have now with Chinatown is your basic Chinese restaurant with the usual choices.
My friend and I started with an appetizer of house fried dumplings, which featured fat wontons filled with ground pork and vegetables. We also had wonton soup, a fairly watery broth with little distinctive flavor.
For my entree I chose the beef curry, which had thinly sliced beef with green peppers, potatoes and carrots in a gravy only slightly tinged with curry flavor. The beef was tender almost to the point of being mushy, though not entirely unpleasant.
My friend had the beef lo mein, a large stack of fat noodles tossed with a soy-based sauce. Perfectly pleasant to eat, but nothing unusually wonderful.
I don’t know why Chinatown was closed in the first place, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t for remodeling. The wallpaper is peeling in places, and the dining room has a pervasive musty smell. Staff, however, were friendly and efficient. Lunch prices are more than reasonable, with a majority of dishes priced either $5.99 or $6.99, which includes soup and rice.
Chinatown is at 1103 N. Mills Ave., Orlando. Lunch and dinner daily; no Web site. Phone number is 407-896-7898.