Chinese carryout offers good service, so-so food

TAKEOUT

December 22, 2004|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I recently resumed my hunt for a good Chinese carryout. This time, I schlepped through a drenching rain to Reisterstown to China Moon.

Located in a strip shopping area near Reisterstown Road, China Moon sent off a good vibe, thanks mainly to the counter man. Wearing glasses, a conservative tie and vest, he smoothly juggled a flurry of incoming calls and walk-in customers, occasionally pounding on a well-used adding machine with determined efficiency.

The menu features the usual assortment of Chinese dishes, including varieties labeled Szechuan and Hunan - all reasonably priced. A separate Japanese menu includes sushi, sashimi and a handful of other dishes. As I would have guessed from the counter man's style, our food was ready quickly.

As for the food, China Moon is probably one of those places where you have to find something you like and stick to it, or you are apt to be disappointed.

We were pleased with our spicy tuna roll ($4.50), an ample serving of raw fish with a good dose of peppery kick. We were also quite taken with the chicken supreme ($5.50), sliced pieces of white meat sauteed with onions, bell peppers and hot peppers in a tasty black-bean sauce. The dish had an appealing freshness and simplicity.

Egg rolls ($3 for two) were of the big variety, stuffed with plenty of shredded vegetables. Steamed dumplings ($4.50 for six) were big and also adequate.

Less appealing were the velvet crab soup ($3), which included bits of crab and tiny slices of asparagus in a cloyingly thick chicken broth, and the zesty tofu ($4), which had plenty of tofu but a brown sauce that seemed too heavy on the fish flavor.

Most disappointing was the tantalizingly named firecracker shrimp ($7.25), which was supposed to come in a "hot and spicy red sauce." In fact, the sauce was orange and slightly sweet - certainly not hot or spicy - and the shrimp were on the chewy side.

As for dessert, I hope you like fortune cookies because that's it.

There's plenty of parking out front. China Moon is in the Chartley Park Center, just east of Reisterstown Road.

China Moon

Food: **

Service: ***1/2

Waiting area: ***

Parking: ***

Where: 100B Chartley Drive, Reisterstown

Phone: 410-833-3992

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 10 p.m. Sunday

Prices: Japanese and Chinese dishes, $1.50 to $16.95; credit cards accepted

Outstanding: ****; Good: ***; Fair or uneven: **; Poor: *

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