The Food Guy: Rice Bowl, China One runaway reader picks

Winner, winner, Chinese dinner!

Every time I ask readers “Which restaurant has the best _____ in town?” a huge debate usually follows, with lots of different places getting lots of different votes.

Not so this week. When I asked who has the best Chinese food in the Kanawha Valley, you all told me the choice was clear. Actually, two choices.

Rice Bowl in Cross Lanes and China One in Kanawha City were runaway winners — landslides even — with only two other places (Bamboo Garden in Sissonville and Chin’s in Kanawha City) getting a handful of votes.

“Bamboo Garden not only has great Chinese, but their spicy wings are the best,” Paulette Justice wrote.

“I am faithful to your column and, in my humble opinion, Chin’s in Kanawha City is a notable choice,” said reader Rick Sadolf. “They could have the state’s best eggrolls ever and the food is excellent in all areas — ultra tasty and genuinely authentic. Try them out, please.”

I have, Rick, and people do go ga-ga over those eggrolls. But you can’t deny the overwhelming love showered on these other two places.

“We love The Rice Bowl,” Judy Hsu told me. “If you haven’t been in a while, it has been totally remodeled and they now have a sushi bar as well. The Sunday buffet is a cut above — it’s what my family would call American Chinese — but there’s more authentic stuff on the menu.”

Added Katie Ward: “Definitely, Rice Bowl is my go-to. My husband and I get takeout from there several times a month and it’s awesome. They also have surprising vegetarian choices like their General Tso’s Tofu, which is delicious!”

From one end of the Kanawha Valley to the other, Kanawha City’s China One near Horace Mann got a whole bunch of votes as well.

“The food is excellent, portions are generous and the mix of vegetables to meat is good,” Barb Smith said.

And even though it doesn’t rank at the top for some anymore, readers couldn’t help reminiscing about what is now quickly becoming known as “the old” Main Kwong.

“We read your article every week and thank you so much for it!” Joe Neenan said. “We definitely are in a Chinese takeout desert.”

He said it only took one week after previous owner Carina left Main Kwong for things to change in the kitchen.

“I felt like a total stranger approaching the front counter after that, but she knew your favorite order and your name — every time. We miss her touch. She was the glue. I hope readers will shine a beacon of light to guide us to the oasis of wonderful local Chinese takeout!”

Joe, if this week’s influx of reader praise is any indication, your search for good Chinese food may be over.

IF YOU GO: Rice Bowl, 121 Goff Mountain Rd. in Cross Lanes, is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. For more information, call 304-776-6888 or visit www.ricebowlwv.com.

IF YOU GO: China One, 4218 MacCorkle Ave. SE in Kanawha City, is open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 304-925-8839 or visit www.china1charleston.com.

•••

A while back I told you about downtown’s Ristorante Abruzzi taking a step back to “right the ship” after stumbling out of the block to pick up where popular Paterno’s at the Park left off in the city’s warehouse district.

The restaurant owned by beloved Charleston Bread’s Mark and Libby Chatfield acknowledged the feedback they were receiving, made some tough staffing changes and recently launched a new menu — which, by the way, looks fab. I haven’t had a chance to try the “new” approach yet, but did ask readers to let me know when you did.

“I’m so happy to report that three of us recently went to Abruzzi and loved our meals!” Leigh Taylor says. “It’s a great new menu, the food was wonderful and the service perfect.”

So glad to hear that, Leigh. Planning my visit soon!

Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or by e-mail at wvfoodguy@aol.com. You can also follow him on Facebook as “WV Food Guy” and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WVFoodGuy.”

Funerals for Sunday, December 8, 2019

Board, Dencil - 3 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Booher, Hughes - 3 p.m., Maranatha Fellowship, St. Albans.

Carpenter, Homer - 2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Collins, Jacob - 2 p.m., Morris Funeral Home, Cowen.

Donahue-Moubray, Kathleen - 3 p.m., Haven of Rest Mausoleum, Red House.

Estes, Peggy - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Friel, Ruth - 1 p.m., Lantz Funeral Home, Buckeye.

Johnson, Marvin - 1 p.m., High Lawn Mausoleum, Oak Hill.

Linville, Vada - 2 p.m., Orchard Hills Memory Gardens, Yawkey.

Pettit, Michele - 3:30 p.m., Faith Baptist Church, Spencer.

Prue, Margaret - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Scott, Robert - 3 p.m., Capital High School, Charleston.

Smith, Wanda - 3 p.m., Billy Hunt Cemetery, Kettle Road.

Sneed, Virginia - 2 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.