The Chronicle visits A-OK Chinese on South Lamar this week, and while the concept has promise the food disappoints. The American-style Chinese restaurant focused on high-quality ingredients does not deliver on execution, according to reviewer Kate Thornberry.
The Kung Pao chicken ($11) bore so little resemblance to any version of this dish I have ever tasted that I would never have known what it was supposed to be, had there not been a few telltale peanuts in its watery sauce. The salt-and-pepper shrimp ($11) and the honey-sesame chicken ($11) were the best of all the dishes I tried, but the highest praise I can give them is of the faint variety: They were reasonably tasty and inoffensive.Thornberry also notes she "really wanted to like it" and returned numerous times.
Think queso-smothered french fries afloat in caramelized onions and a dozen-plus options for burgers and a riot of Tex-Mex-inclined toppings. The black-bean veggie burger comes with thick slabs of white Mexican cheese, an addition that's in keeping with El Sapo's "more is more" mantra. The cocktails are fun (like a tropical rum punch), and the wine comes from a select group of Texas wineries.
THE BLOGS: South Austin Foodie is a fan of A-OK Chinese, a Taste of Koko rounds up all the best non-Franklin barbecue in Austin, and Forks Up enjoys Odd Duck.
· A-OK Chinese: More Like 'Meh' [Chronicle]
· El Sapo [TM]
· All Week in Reviews Coverage [EATX]
[Photo: A-OK Chinese/Facebook]