If offbeat is your style, you have to pay a visit to Char Koon. Sandwiched in between ‘The Circus Café’ and another shop sits a little Thai and Chinese combo restaurant that most would miss if they were not looking for it. Eating at Char Koon is somewhat of a bizarre experience. Upon entering, the first thing you’ll notice is the offbeat décor -- scratched floors, teal and pink booths, horse posters, and some sort of sparkly candy cane hanging on the back wall.
Although the atmosphere is nothing short of unique, the menu looks familiar. Variations of lo meins, fried rices, wonton soups, and dumplings are offered: the essentials in any American Chinese restaurant. There is a bit of something for everyone here, including extensive vegetarian options and a few spicy dishes for the adventurous eaters out there. In the interest of appealing to the masses, we tested popular items.
The vegetable lo mein is satisfactory. Not too salty, with a good noodle to veggie ratio. Served piping hot, this dish won’t disappoint. But maybe it would take more than a good heap of noodles to make you a believer. Enter the steamed dumplings which are exceptional. These pockets of perfection are accompanied with a kick of something a little different --a soy sauce infused with some mysterious herbs and spices. What makes this appetizer even better is the large serving (eight dumplings for $5.50). The total damage for this enormous serving of Chinese food? A mere $15.05.
As for the Thai menu, the shrimp in the Pad Thai was pink and tasted like it had just been caught while the noodles were mixed with the peanuts and coriander which gave an unusual but fresh taste to the food. The spring rolls were crispy, although a tad oily . Still, the array of vegetables and thin, clear noodles mixed in together made the rolls worthwhile. In the end, the Pad Thai and spring roll combo was just under $20.
If you are intrigued by the delicacies of this establishment but are not interested in the funky atmosphere, or simply aren’t up for the walk, Char Koon even delivers!