Did you figure out the Mexican restaurant featured in last week’s review? It was Little Mexico, found at 102 9th St. in Alton, the former site of Bluff City Grill before it moved. The service was fast and the food was hot and fresh.
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Since my dining companion and I had visited an Italian, and then a Mexican restaurant, we decided to keep the ethnic theme going and go Asian. I had heard some good things about a place I had not visited in many years, so we drove straight to it. Walking in, I tripped over the threshold because I was taking in the décor instead of watching my footing. Two enormous murals faced each other across the restaurant, one of orange and white koi in a pond, and the other of 35 horses of every color on a plain. A round, marble-topped table sat under a Chinese chandelier, resplendent with red tassels and translucent panels. Large windows at the front of the restaurant let in the light. Booths were placed along one of the walls, and many large, live plants lent a gentle ambiance. Pop music from a St. Louis radio station filled the air, but it was not obtrusive or loud. The middle of the room was fenced off with the round table in the middle and smaller square tables around the edges. We were greeted immediately by a smiling woman, who directed us to a booth. She brought out menus and two sets of flatware-in-a-napkin, which consisted of a fork and a large spoon. Looking at the menu, we noticed we were on time for the lunch special, which included a drink, wonton and crab Rangoon along with the main course with rice for $5.60. What a great deal! We both chose Sprite as our beverage. I requested cashew chicken and my companion asked for beef chop suey. I went ahead and ordered a combo plate of appetizers for $3. The lady took the menus and left, then returned with our drinks. She then disappeared again. I began to think she was the only person working and was doing the cooking as well as the serving.
While we waited, we took turns washing up in the only restroom, located at the extreme end of the building. It was clean and well-stocked. I took a few minutes to check out a glass case full of china figurines and knick-knacks for sale.
The lady returned with the appetizers, two crab Rangoon, two wontons and one egg roll. She also brought soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce and two plates. The appetizers were sizzling hot. I had trouble dividing the egg roll in half, because neither of us had a knife and it was too hot to touch. We just finished the appetizers when our food came out, on china plates divided into three sections. The large section held the main dish, one small section held white rice and the other small section held the crab Rangoon and wonton.
The food was very good. We only received one napkin each, and I didn’t get the chance to request chopsticks or a refill on my drink, but if she was the only person working, as I suspect, she probably did not have time to check back on us. All in all, I was pleased with our meals. We paid from the table, but toothpicks were available at the pickup counter for go orders.
Overall - four and a half stars
Cleanliness - four and a half stars
Service - four and a half stars
Food - five stars
Any clue where this Asian restaurant could be located? I will tell you that it has been in the same place for many, many years. Look in the next edition of AdVantage News to check if your hunch is right!
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