Longtime Ausinities are familiar with restaurateur Suzy Yi, notably of places like Suzi’s Chinese Kitchen and Suzi’s China Grill & Sushi Bar from the 1990s. She ended up shuttered her various businesses in the 2010s because she ultimately wanted to retire. That didn’t last long, and she returned with a new restaurant, Suzi’s Chinese, in late January, much to to the delight of her fans and lovers of Chinese American food.
Here’s the scene at Suzi’s Chinese at 6:00 p.m. on a Tuesday in late January 2024.
The vibe: Suzi’s Chinese — which took over what had been another location of also-Chinese American restaurant Old Thousand and, before that, Noble Sandwich Co. — is very much a casual family-friendly dining destination. The narrow dining room features banquette seating along one wall with various tables and chairs. There is an outdoor patio as well. There are pretty murals everywhere, including the one in the entryway of a red-blossoming tree, and another one in the main dining room with another flowering tree and birds. When my friend and I arrived, we were seated immediately, but the space did fill up fast, with parties waiting for tables.
What makes dining at the restaurant even better is that Yi is there herself, attending to diners, dropping off plates of food, pouring drinks, and closing out checks, all while making sure everyone is doing okay.
What to drink: The beverage menu is a simple one. For alcoholic drinks, there are wines by the glass, sakes (including a hot one), and beers. Nonalcoholic options include sodas, bottled water, and teas (iced, hot green, and coffee). I went for the Kirin Light, which was served with a cold glass.
On the menu: The food line-up is a stellar example of well-curated standbys-for-good-reasons Chinese American dishes. We went for a split bowl of the hot and sour soup, the General Tso’s chicken (when in Rome), orange beef, and the seafood and roasted almond-fried rice (which Yi said was her favorite dish). Everything was absolutely solid and tasted exactly and it should: zippy soup; crispy, saucy, tangy, sweet chicken; flavorful citrusy tender beef; and a nice sweet-and-savory mix of fried rice, almonds, raisins, pineapples, shrimp, and scallops.
Why go: For seekers of good, reliable, people-pleasing meals, get to Suzi’s ASAP. If you’re dining with a bunch of people, it’s worth getting there earlier.