Chan’s is the place for fine food
April 15, 2014
By Dan Gunderson
Chan’s Place is extremely unassuming, given its location. Its name is lit up in neon running over the strip mall exterior. A banner touting Chinese food and decrying MSG hangs over the neon sign.
There is no way you would expect its interior by walking past it. It is light and open and airy inside. The decor is filled with warm to neutral colors encouraging a calming meal.
A dinner in the first part of the week is nothing to hurry for; a Tuesday night dinner will get you prompt and pleasant seating by the hostess. There is ample seating around but you won’t feel isolated. Even with four or five tables in the relatively spacious dining room you still feel like you are around people. Conversations are carried throughout the room at just the right level: enough to hear them, but not enough to drown out your own conversation.
The food at Chan’s Place is excellent. Egg rolls are a good barometer for Chinese food, and Chan’s excels at them. They have a thin but sturdy exterior concealing piping hot vegetables. The sweet and sour sauce served with them fulfills expectations.
The wait staff was beyond polite. We had plenty of time to peruse the menu, no small feat. Our server was pleasant and approached us at exactly the right time.
Chan’s Place’s menu is not easily exhausted. A la carte will keep one person busy for a while, and two people would still need some time to tackle the entire menu. The prix fixe menu is another one to tackle if you manage to exhaust the a la carte menu.
The entrées at Chan’s Place walk the walk and talk the talk. There is a fine line between deep-fried fish with a light and crispy crust and greasy fish drenched in oil. Chan’s stays above that line; the salt-and-pepper fish has a light tempura-style batter and is seasoned to perfection. Few meals leave you sincerely wanting more.
The beef with black bean sauce was the most appetizing entrée of the evening, and that’s no small feat. When our server arrived at our booth with our entrées, he placed them on our table, and then paused to toss the thin strips of beef with slices of green peppers and onions on a searing hot plate.
One would be hard pressed to ignore the sizzling aroma. It would be even more difficult to ignore the vegetables cooked to perfection but still possessing an enticing crunch.
The side order of chicken fried rice was a decent and appetizing side. It didn’t redefine my existence, but I don’t expect chicken fried rice to do so. But like egg rolls, fried rice is a barometer of Chinese restaurants, and like the egg rolls at Chan’s, the fried rice was excellent.
Chan’s is the best restaurant you would never notice. It has great service, excellent dishes and a wonderful atmosphere. With an ample dining room, welcoming decor and active bar, there is no excuse for living anywhere near Klahanie and not going to Chan’s Place.
Restaurant reviews are a regular feature of The Issaquah Press. Reviewers visit restaurants unannounced and pay in full for their meals.