PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
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ORANGE CHICKEN with roast pork fried rice, spring roll, wonton soup, fried cheese-stuffed wontons and sweet and sour sauce is a favorite. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum

Prospecting

Time out: A grand time at Grand China

By From page B3 | April 18, 2014

Restaurant: Grand China

Address: 4340 Golden Center Drive, Placerville

Phone: 530-621-1882

 

There is a perception out there that, basically, all Chinese restaurants are pretty much the same all over North America.

This is categorically not true. There are differences, sometimes very subtle and sometimes not so subtle, that make the real gems stand out.

As consumers we often fall into a lazy routine; once we find a place that fits our budget, has decent and/or acceptable fare we rarely venture beyond our comfort zone.

Why should you?

Because even though you may be satisfied with your current establishment I feel an obligation to tell you that there are exceptional examples out there that are worth trying.

Grand China is one such example.

In my opinion there are three essential qualities a Chinese restaurant needs to possess. They are:

• Hot, fresh, tasty food

• Fast, friendly service

• A clean and inviting atmosphere

Grand China has a menu that, upon first inspection, looks like every other Chinese restaurant menu you’ve come across. Look further and you’ll see some subtle differences.

Every cooking technique used, every fresh ingredient utilized and every combination of spices sprinkled are specifically designed to give the consumer the best tasting Chinese dishes you are likely to find within 100 miles.

Do you ever notice that a lot of Chinese menus omit the descriptions, which leaves most of us scratching our heads. This results in ordering tried and true stand-by dish.

Hats off to Grand China for including descriptions of some of its more exotic dishes on the menu. It gives us novice diners enough courage to try new menu items and perhaps even a chance to discover a new favorite.

When I walk into a restaurant I’m unfamiliar with, it’s always refreshing when I see that 90 percent of the tables are occupied by smiling, eating faces. It’s a good sign that I’m in for a treat, usually.

The visit to Grand China was with a co-worker and the food we ordered was indeed piping hot, extremely fresh (the vegetables snapped instead of bending, if that tells you anything) and it was absolutely delicious.

We were at Grand China for lunch, so I got the orange chicken, gently glazed as opposed to drenched with a tangy orange sauce with fluffy steamed rice and fresh vegetables adorning the sides of my plate.

My lunch partner ordered the “Happy Family,” a delicious and ample array of fresh seafood, chicken and a variety of crisp vegetables.

She not only remarked how fresh it tasted and how refreshingly light it was but how incredibly fast it arrived. No kidding, from order to table in less than 10 minutes. I’m not sure that’s normal, so don’t expect it that fast but according to Vince, the manager, fast service is all part of the experience, and it never, ever interferes with the quality.

During our visit I saw Vince stopping by many other tables, big grin on his face, making sure his guests were happy, and this seems to have rubbed off on his wait staff who were all smiling, very attentive but gave you enough space between visits to give you time to actually enjoy your meal.

Do you ever notice that most servers have the uncanny ability to show up and ask you how everything is just as you’ve taken a huge bite? Not here, not today. Their timing was perfect and very respectful.

Grand China is so spotless it virtually squeaks. Brass is polished to a high sheen, glass sparkles, the fabrics and carpets are vibrant and it appears as though dusting is a daily ritual here. You could take a white glove to this place and come up empty. I was very, very impressed.

I don’t usually do this but I perused a few of those online customer review sites, and the results were pretty revealing: not one rated Grand China below 4.5 out of 5 stars. After my experience there I’d have to say I agree.

Grand China is located at 4340 Golden Center Drive in Placerville and the phone number is 530-621-1882.

Earle Camembert

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