Strawberry chicken is not a character on Saturday morning TV, but a signature dish at Texoma’s newest entry in the Asian cuisine market. Strawberry chicken hangs out at the Wok Kitchen in Sherman along with a mixed tong of associates, some well-known such as orange, Szechwan and cashew chicken, and some new recruits like sweet chili chicken, Indian curry, Hong Kong and spicy Singapore beef, and pork Adobe with a spicy plum sauce. They also have spring rolls and dumplings on the menu, which is changing as the restaurant experiments with different dishes.
I met a friend at the Wok Kitchen recently to have lunch and try some of the new arrivals. The restaurant is shoehorned between a jewelry shop and a liquor store in the strip center just south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 75 and U.S. Highway 82, near Starbucks. Do not be fooled by the sign that reads, “For Lease.” It refers to the space next door, and the Wok Kitchen is up and woking.
It was early, 11:30 and servers were busy getting ready for lunch, and the owner, a recent graduate of the Grayson College culinary program was quick to offer a preview taste of the items on the steam table. After a few samples, I decided on the strawberry chicken and the Thai basil beef. My lunch companion is a vegetarian, and the kitchen was working up a special request stir-fry for her.
Both plates came with an abundance of fried rice or noodles — I had half noodles and half rice — and a substantial helping of the main entries. The strawberry chicken was not as sweet as I expected, which is a good thing as too often these sort of dishes are overly sweet. The strawberry flavor, while noticeable, was not cloying. The thin slices of Thai beef were tender with a hint of the basil leaves scattered throughout the dish. My only suggestion, and one shared by my friend, is that the food could have been hotter.
The staff was eager to please, and the selections differ somewhat from what is usually found on the Asian buffets in the area, and that alone should put the Wok Kitchen on the “give it a try” list. The prices a very reasonable, the service quick, and food, while held on a steam table, appears to be prepared in small batches.
While working on this review, I took a closer look at some of the other items on the menu at Wok Kitchen, and noticed that they offered dumplings and spring rolls. I wanted to try both so I stopped by for lunch again. This time around I tried the Singapore beef and the spicy chicken with noodles. Both entrees were good but not great and nothing was really hot coming off the steam table.
The dumplings and the spring roll were disappointments. My knowledge of Chinese cuisine is limited to the usual Americanized version of traditional dishes, but some research on the Web led me to believe that dumplings meant the steamed version, soft dough with a variety of fillings. The dumplings at Wok Kitchen were more akin to fried won tons, small, crunchy bites with some sort of filling. The spring rolls were smaller, all vegetable, versions of a tradition American egg roll. I was hoping for the light, vegetable rolls wrapped in a translucent flour-based wrapper and steamed. Perhaps my disappointment was rooted in unrealistic expectations.
Bottom line: Wok Kitchen is another version of traditional American-Chinese fare, not a venture into more authentic Chinese cuisine. That said, it is tasty, filling and an excellent value for the price. Service is quick and friendly, and a good place if you aren’t looking for the larger buffet experience.
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