Tuesday, December 10, 2013
While Asian buffets are the rage lately, sometimes you want food fairly fast without being overwhelmed with choices.
One of the Wok Inn’s most popular items, the No. 15, is prepared at the South Portland restaurant.
Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer
WHERE: 818 Main St., South Portland. 773-7332; wokinnsp.com
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday and holidays
CHEAPEST GRUB: Wonton or egg drop soups, $2.50 for small
WAIT: About 10 minutes
HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: Yes
RATING: *** 1/2
Based on a five-star scale
That's one of the nice features of Wok Inn in South Portland. It's sort of an old-fashioned Chinese fast-food place. You walk to the counter, order your food, then sit down and wait for it to be ready, so you don't have to wander aimlessly at a buffet bar. And you don't have to wait for anyone to take your order.
The menu is sort of old-school as well. There's an entire section where you can order large or small boxes of fried rice, lo mein, chow mein or chop suey. You can share with friends and family, or if you're in the mood, just have a dinner of that one item. Prices range from $3.75 for a small box of vegetable or mushroom chow mein or chop suey to $8.55 for a large box of Cantonese seafood lo mein.
There are more than a dozen selections on this part of the menu, where you can get your fried rice, lo mein or other noodle dishes with pork, beef, chicken, shrimp and various other ingredients.
For lunch, there are more than two dozen "combination specials" that are also available all day long, most for around $6.95. You get a main dish such as pork chow mein, and either pork fried rice or white rice on the side. Some combos include the main dish, rice and an appetizer, such as chicken wings or dumplings.
I had chicken with broccoli and chicken wings plus white rice for $6.95. I could have had beef and broccoli for the same price. The broccoli was stir-fried and still firm but tender. The chicken was also done right, in a slightly savory sauce.
The chicken wings weren't spicy or greasy, and made a nice side. Overall, it was plenty of food for lunch, and very satisfying.
Some other combinations on the menu, all with fried or white rice, include cashew chicken or shrimp with chicken fingers, General Tso's chicken and dumplings, pepper steak with onions and chicken wings, pork egg foo young with BBQ pork, and shrimp with lobster sauce and chicken fingers or BBQ pork.
There are also some combinations that are all finger food, if that's what you're in the mood for, including a combo of egg roll, chicken fingers, chicken wings and ribs for $7.75.
The menu includes a variety of soups and noodle bowls. The bowls, starting at $6.55, have meat, shrimp or vegetables in broth with your choice of noodle -- mai fun, flat rice or egg.
There is a large selection of appetizers, including spare ribs, fried shrimp and crab Rangoon. You can get a small portion (three pieces for most items) or a large portion of six to eight pieces. There's also a large selection of entrees with pork fried rice on the side, but most are out of the price range for this feature, starting at about $8.25 for chicken dishes and $9.25 for beef dishes.
You can save money on drinks here. There is a little water dispenser with ice, so you can fill your own water glass and don't have to buy a soda or tea if you don't want to.
The decor is basic fast-food ambiance with plastic booth seating. And the location, on Route 1 near the Scarborough line, is convenient for people working in the area or on the way to beaches in Scarborough.
The staff of GO anonymously samples meals for about $7.