***CLOSED*** Wing Tai Oriental ~ Geneva, New York

Part 2 of our dinner adventure in Geneva, NY. See here for the inauspicious beginning.

After the Nonna's Trattoria disaster, we decided to go with the original game plan, a local tavern called Parker's Grille and Tap House. It was about a 15 minute walk through the somewhat shabby town center. It's actually pretty depressing, reminding me of many similar town centers in the 1980s before the gentrification renaissance began. And would you believe, no one greeted us here either? Must be the way things are in Geneva, NY. If I were the leader of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, I'd hold a quick training session on the art of making customers feel welcome. It was pretty hot inside, and one look at the menu didn't seem overly inspiring, so we left pretty quickly. Honestly it felt more like a biker bar. We weren't there long enough to really know much about the place, so it won't draw the Mr. Jose ire as did Nonna's.

Again, things happen for a reason.

Mrs. RJG had remembered seeing a Chinese restaurant on the drive into town, and it was only one block over from Parker's. Now you won't see too many Chinese restaurants in the RJG. We just haven't had much luck with them. A couple of places in Denver were pretty good, and almost all in the DFW area have been disappointing. For one thing, they seem to confuse the terms spicy with sweet. The hotter we ask for it, the sweeter it gets. We don't like sweet food, unless it's dessert. Or habaneros of course. But not much was going our way, and we were running out of options as nightfall was approaching.

"Welcome, please have a seat" said the waitress as we walked in. Wow! What a concept! Greeting us as we enter a restaurant. Somebody needs to get word to the city leaders that Wing Tai actually wants customers. Can't have that.

The interior was old school all the way - dark, lots of red and gold. Worn carpet and panelled walls. The kind of place that went the way of the dodo after the Asian Fusion rage of P.F. Chang's and its thousands of imitators. The kind of place that the Tong's would feel comfortable conducting business in. A Regular Joe's Guide kinda place.

Remember the $7 chintzy wine glasses at Villa di Roma in Philadelphia? How about $4 large glasses of local Finger Lake wine? YES! I ordered the Chicken Chili. That's what it was called - chicken chili. I asked the waitress what it was. She said, it's pretty much chopped chicken, very spicy, with rice and very little vegetables. Sounded like something Mr. Jose designed for them! I had to have it. Mrs. Jose had the Lo Mein with chicken. And something magical occurred for both of us: This was the best Chinese food we'd ever had! Maybe Brandy Ho's in San Francisco's Chinatown gives it a run. I freely admit we are not Chinese food aficionados, but we've had plenty over the years together and personally I've had Chinese food since I was a little kid - going back to the House of Gong off of Northwest HWY in Dallas (anyone remember that place?).

Looking for old school Chinese food, like the kind you'd see in an old "Thin Man" episode? Go to Wing Tai.


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