“It is a very poor consolation to be told that the man who has given one bad dinner, or poor wine, is irreproachable in private life. Even the cardinal virtues cannot atone for half-cold entrees.” – Oscar Wilde
Not all things in life are good. The same holds true for Chinese take-out, today we embark on a journey of blandness and oddity that brings us to the doors of Chinatown Shelton in the White Hills Shopping Center.
Chinatown Shelton is a tiny joint nestled in next to the Newton Savings Bank, which is an important feature because the Chinatown Shelton apparently missed the digital revolution of 1990 and only accepts cash or check, so you might want to hit up the drive-through ATM first.
The restaurant itself is mostly the kitchen, with a quaint little area up front where you can order your food and then watch the people making it and then, if one is so inclined, eat it at one of the two booths next to the main window.
I opted instead to take my food and run, well, not literally run, that would have been weird and possibly broken the fortune cookie, which, as we all know, is a crime against Chinese food, not a felony, just a misdemeanor or traffic violation, something like that. Bad juju.
So six minutes after ordering my chicken lo mein, crab rangoon and soda (and scrambling to find an ATM), I paid my $11.18 and bounced. Upon digging into the food at home, I discovered a strange lack of any form of utensil. I’m proficient with both forks and chopsticks, but I do need something because eating lo mein with your bare hands is just plain messy.
Fortunately I was at home, instead of work or somewhere else lacking in silverware, so I was able to appreciate the blandness sitting in the dish before me.
The crab rangoon, of which there was an oddly numbered 11, was at just the size to be one thoroughly awkward bite, and it also managed the impressive feat of being both too soft and too crunchy. The main bit with the crab and cream cheese was thin and soft, but the tips were hard and crunchy, resulting in a very strange dichotomy. Forgive me if I sound nitpicky, but I’m like Goldilocks when it comes to crab rangoon, it’s got to be just right. Add to that the fact that they added something to the crab mix that gave it a thoroughly strange flavor (possibly a bit of garlic? I’m not sure) and I was more than a little put off by the oddities that are their crab rangoon.
The chicken lo mein itself was all manner of bland, and not like white rice or water, where it’s bland but you can keep eating it without even realizing you’re doing so, but rather it was so indescribably meh that your taste buds are at risk of going on strike. I think I spied a tiny slice of carrot or two that had been cooked clean of any degree of taste or flavor, and that was close to the extent of the veggies tossed into the mix.
Really, the only upside to this venture was that I got two fortune cookies instead of one, though even that was a mixed blessing because one of them was broken, and only one of those fortunes was really meant for you, so which do you choose?
“The troubles you have now will pass away quickly.” –So Sayeth the Wise and Broken Fortune Cookie
“A phone call to a good friend will ease your mind and lift your spirits.” –So Sayeth the Wise and Totally-Not-My-Fortune Cookie