China Sky

What’s the difference between China Sky and the typical Chinese restaurant in Chinatown? Here’s one: open space. Here’s another: it is contemporary while being comfortable. Although you can’t see it in the pictures, there is plenty of street parking so you don’t have to deal with pesky meters, Boston traffic or the road rage associated with it. Also, the service here is very inviting and attentive- your menus aren’t just carelessly plopped in front of you.

But wait- there’s a catch! A street full of parking, no road rage, open spaced dining area… this may be too good to be true. And in this case, it kind of is. You pay for what you get. China Sky is an absolutely lovely place, but their food comes with a hefty price tag. Surprisingly the more expensive dishes are the dinner plates, as opposed to the sushi. Who knew!

Crab Rangoon (6 pcs) - $6.95

Spicy Salmon Roll - $5.45, Eel and Avocado Roll - $5.45

What’s a better appetizer than a fried appetizer? One of my fatty favorites is the crab rangoon; cream cheese, imitation crab, savory onions…perfect. The only way you can get this wrong is if the portions of filling are excruciatingly tiny or your cream cheese has already expired and spoiled. Unfortunately, portions were tiny and they were scantily filled. Oh, woe is my mouth and happy are my arteries.

But here’s the good news- their sushi? Bomb. I’ve seen a couple of reviews for China Sky that say “all the dishes here are fantastic- but we will not be ordering the sushi next time.” I am a bit dumbfounded with this reoccurring statement. The sushi here is the best bang for your buck! They are generously portioned and they also do little things I appreciate, like for the Spicy Salmon Roll. Inside the roll is a large piece of salmon and the rest is the chopped, spicy salmon mixture, so you are really eating two different textures together in one. Simple, unique, scrumptious. I haven’t met a roll I didn’t like!

Eggplant with Garlic Sauce - $12.95

General Tso's Chicken - $14.95

Crispy Sesame Shrimp - $17.95

The thing is… I feel absolutely terrible for saying that I did not fully enjoy my dinners here because I genuinely think China Sky is a wonderful staple to Winchester. I am just disappointed with how such popular Chinese dishes can be prepared so differently here. For example, the General Tso’s Chicken- a very, very popular dish everyone loves to order; sweet, tangy, crunchy, moist chicken- yum, right? Instead it was on the stale side and the chicken was dry and tough. For $10 at most Chinese restaurants, I was hoping $15 would get me at least the same quality or more. As for the shrimp, not bad at all. The shrimp itself was very fresh and the sauce accompanying it was perfectly light, there were no overpowering salty flavors to my surprise- but “crispy” in the Crispy Sesame Shrimp was missing. Once again, portions were on the small side and I will probably be ordering something else next time. Lastly, the Eggplant and Garlic Sauce dish. Of the three plates we had, this one was my favorite. With a colorful assortment of fresh and crispy vegetables, the meaty eggplant and my rice bowl became the perfect couple that night. Be prepared to finish it when you take your first bite.

Overall, maybe China Sky isn’t my favorite Chinese restaurant in the Boston area, but it is one of the better restaurants in Winchester. For the locals, it is a staple where you can hear old friends reunite over the buzz of cheerful conversations in the air. They are happy to see one another and dine in such a beautiful setting with friendly service. There’s something very “warm” about this place.

If you are in the area, this may not be a bad place to have lunch or dinner, but above all, this is definitely the best sushi in Winchester.

Looking forward to your delectable Spicy Salmon Roll, China Sky!
Total Meal: $70
Servings: 3 people

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Thai Moon

If you are lucky enough to live around Arlington, I highly recommend dining at Thai Moon. It is one of the better Thai restaurants I’ve encountered who stand out from the vast sea of competitors in its area. Although other similar restaurants in the vicinity are very good, there are a two reasons why Thai Moon is better.

Shrimp Bags - $5.95

Steamed Mussels - $5.95

Chicken Satay - $5.95

Beef Satay - $6.50

Thai Pancake $5.95

Firstly, Thai Moon has quick, inviting and friendly service. You’ll notice that your water glass is always filled, waiters and waitresses ask how your meal is without being overbearing, and the night I dined here, there were only two waitresses running the whole restaurant all night smoothly and gracefully, all with a smile on their faces.

Secondly, the food is absolutely scrumptious and affordable. There has been a poor pattern of tasting an absurd amount of sugar and MSG in Asian cuisine for a long time, but no, not here. All the dishes were seasoned nicely without being overwhelmed with sweet and salty sensations. The portions were sized nicely as well. For $5.95 – $6.50 each, we ordered five appetizers: Shrimp Bags, Steamed Mussels, Chicken Satay, Beef Satay, and Thai Pancakes. The pancakes and shrimp bags were both cooked to crispy perfection. Made with rice flour and stuffed with scallions, the pancakes were unlike Korean pancakes or Chinese scallion pancakes because inside the crunchy exterior is a soft and savory consistency. Great combination of textures. The shrimp and mussels were plump, juicy and tender. For $5.95, a hot pot of steamed mussels? Score!

Crispy Duck - $15.95

Chili Fish - $14.95

Pad C-U with Vegetables - $9.50

Lemongrass Chicken - $10.95

Pad Thai with Seafood - $10.95

Pineapple Fried Rice - $9.50

Before you assume anything negative about me, the dinner was for 8 people. Now that’s out the way, onto my favorite part- the entrees! I’ve been a long time fan of Brown Sugar Cafe’s Country Style Pad Thai, but now I can add another one onto my noodle list. The pad thai here is so good! The spicy pad thai is even better! It’s delightfully chewy, with just the right amount of the sour tamarind sauce and peanut flavor. I’m also happy that they added a good amount of seafood, squid, shrimp and mussels, which is only about $1 more than the price without seafood. What a steal! The Lemongrass Chicken was also a great dish; tender, bursting with lovely lemongrass flavor with a nice hint of sweetness. All of the other dishes were delicious as well, but the most memorable ones were the pad thai and lemongrass chicken. The duck entree was nice with the yummy slices of gamy meat laying on a bed of fried yellow noodles. Good, but I didn’t experience much of a wow factor when I took my first bite, so I’ll be trying another duck dish the next time. The Pad C-U was seasoned with the perfect amount of sauce and would be a dish I would order again as well. The fish entree was slightly overdone, but the smooth, sweet and sour-like chili sauce made up for its dryness.

Fried Ice Cream with Raspberry Wine Sauce - $5.95

Sweet Sticky Rice with Thai Custard - $5.95

Fried Banana - $3.95

And ending the dinner were desserts that could happily satisfy any sweet tooth. We ordered 2 fried ice creams, 2 fried bananas and 1 sweet sticky rice with custard. Da-da-damn! I personally loved the sweet sticky rice and custard, however, other diners said that rice for dessert was a bit strange to them. Very understandable. The fried ice cream dish was refreshing because it was served with an interesting sauce instead of red bean or honey like usual. Raspberries and wine… tangy, sweet, a bit sour and a really nice contrast to the vanilla ice cream. The fried bananas were simple and tasty too. Wrapped and fried in phyllo dough, topped with light, sugary syrup and sesame seeds, I could pop these little things in my mouth like chips. Danger!

This was my future brother-in-law’s birthday dinner, and the food definitely made him a happy camper. Great restaurant call, Quan! We all hope you had a very happy birthday and a wonderful time as we celebrate you being another year younger!

Be ready for a massive amount of take-out orders from me, Thai Moon. May God speed.
Total Meal: $135.00
Servings: 8 people

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