A restaurant with a name like “Amazing Kitchen” sets expectations high from the get-go. The local Chinese restaurant does, in some ways, amaze — just not from its kitchen.
The most remarkable thing about Amazing Kitchen is its prices and how much you get in a single portion. Their lunch special ends up being a little over $5 for a cup of their soup of the day and an entree of choice that comes out in a heap larger than can be comfortably consumed in a single sitting.
Hot and sour soup was their daily selection during a recent lunch hour. The cup itself is deceivingly small, as the large chunks of mushroom, tofu, and egg make it a filling appetizer, which hits all the right flavor notes. At first sweet, then savory, the dish peaks in a spiciness that hits the back of the throat before fading away entirely. The development of these flavors makes it near impossible to stop eating until the cup is empty.
Fortunately the turnaround time on orders at Amazing Kitchen is, well, amazing. Not a minute passed after my cup was finished before it was replaced with a towering order of vegetable chow mein.
The dish was amazingly beige under the fluorescent lights in Amazing Kitchen. The heap of noodles, celery, carrots, and bok choy blended together into a tangle of indistinguishable flavor. The overwhelming sensation was that of salty soy sauce, but a generous amount of spicy oil helped salvage the flavors of an otherwise bland meal.
A benefit of the sheer quantity of the serving was that I had a good amount of leftovers to take home. Oddly, the flavors of the chow mein were markedly improved after a few hours sitting in the fridge, making it a good late-night snack.
On the whole, the meal at Amazing Kitchen was not particularly memorable, or, well, amazing. The service was adequate, but a little underwhelming considering that there was no one else in the restaurant. The food was good, but nothing unique.
Amazing Kitchen, unfortunately, blends into the sea of similar Chinese restaurants in the area. Though it’s nothing to write home about, the restaurant does get the flavors right, and it’s pretty reliable in that regard.
For diners looking for a Chinese food in the area, it’s a decent choice — but don’t let the name raise expectations too high.
13993 San Pablo Ave, San Pablo
Tel. (510) 234-2565
Tuesday - Sunday: 11 am to 9:30 pm
View their Yelp page here
Photo: No Recipes