Sitting at my desk a co-worker walked by with a plate of Chinese food. Up until that point I had been undecided about what to have for lunch and decided to check out one of the few Chinese restaurants in the northeast part of town I had not visited, King House.
King House is located at 1415 Timberlane Road in Market Square between a natural foods store and an antique market. A steady rain was falling as I pulled into the parking lot. I found a spot next to the covered area where two vendors were peddling vegetables. Hopping over a large puddle I walked towards a faded yellow awning. Overhead a red and yellow sign announced the location of a Chinese restaurant.
The gloominess of outside carried into the restaurant. It was dimly lit and stuffy inside. A sparsely filled buffet table sat against one wall while a baby basinet was pressed against the other. King House is a long narrow space with tables lining the left hand wall and the kitchen located to the right. A sallow looking man nibbling on fried chicken sat at one of the tables that appeared to be a relic from the 1980s. Peeling grey streaked wallpaper and sage green upholstered chairs completed the depressing interior.
I approached the tiled line counter to look over a menu. Boxes were stacked on one side and the soda machine needed to be cleaned. Stock pictures of food found in many Chinese restaurants lined the case and the wall behind the register. The menu had a large grease stain on the front along with a piece of what appeared to be pork. King House offers standard Americanized Chinese food including chow mein, chop suey and mei fun dishes. Chef’s Specials are offered, but rather than offering something unique, consisted of General Tso’s chicken and orange flavored beef.
Hedging my bets I ordered a lunch special of beef and broccoli. The meal came with an egg roll and fried rice. I sat and watched the cook prepare my meal as the other worked attempted to take an order over the phone for delivery. She struggled and eventually shrugged her shoulders. Moments later my lunch was served. I grabbed the plastic bag and headed for the door eager to leave.
On the drive back to my office the smell of old oil permeated my car. I rolled down the window and ran the a/c in an attempt to rid my car of the odor. At my destination I glumly opened the foam container. Two-thirds of the box was full of fried rice flecked with eggs, carrots, and peas. The other third was occupied by a small portion of beef and broccoli. I picked up a piece of beef with my chopsticks. It was tender and the brown sauce complimented the beef. The broccoli was still a bit crisp. As beef and broccoli dishes go, it was a bit above average. The rice had an off flavor, and one bite was enough to determine it would end up in the garbage. My hopes of a mediocre lunch were dashed as I opened the wax paper sleeve containing the egg roll. It was one of the smallest egg rolls I have ever received from a Chinese restaurant, and was full of little more than mushy cabbage.
King House is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Monday through Saturday they are open from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. Sunday hours are from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. They offer delivery and can be contacted at (850) 893-6969. King House accepts cash, Visa, and Mastercard.
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