Monday, July 26, 2010

Moon Star Chinese Restaurant

Name: Moon Star Chinese Restaurant
Location: 3600 George F Hwy., Endicott, NY 13760
Phone: (607) 754-6778
Cuisine: Chinese
Price: Less than $15 for two for lunch, less than $30 for two for dinner

For the longest time I thought the area's Chinese restaurants were truly abysmal. We'd gotten take-out a few times from several different places and couldn't find a place we liked. If we were really in the mood to go out for Chinese we'd settle for a buffet, where we could usually find at least a couple passable items. My opinion changed the day we found Endwell's Moon Star. Of those I've been to, Moon Star is the best Chinese restaurant in the Triple Cities.

Moon Star is located in a small strip mall near the intersection of 17C (George F Hwy) and Hooper Road in Endwell. It's an odd location and probably not what I would consider the most ideal of spots for a restaurant, but it suffices. The restaurant does not look like anything special from the outside, but it's nice and clean inside. Unlike with most Chinese restaurants, I advise eating at the restaurant in lieu of getting take-out. The take-out isn't bad but there's a measurable difference in quality between eating in and taking out. I have typically been impressed with the presentation of the dishes when eating there as well, and the fried noodles served at the beginning of the meal are homemade, delicious, and far superior to the packaged noodles you get at most Chinese places.

The most intriguing thing about Moon Star is that they have literally two distinct menus that you can order from. They have the typical "Americanized" Chinese food menu that includes all the sorts of things you find at every other Chinese place (General Tso's Chicken, Sweet & Sour, Triple Delight, Chicken w/ Garlic Sauce, etc...), but also a menu of "authentic Chinese" dishes including items served in a hot pot, scallion pancakes, tripe, and a personal favorite of mine, the Mongolian Beef.

I've been there a number of times and have ordered items from both menus. I find the items on the "American" side are very good, for those not wanting to deviate from the Chinese food they know and love. I am a sucker for General Tso's Chicken and this is easily among the best I've had. The spicy, tangy sauce is perfect and it's always served with fresh-cut broccoli. Megan likes the Chicken with Broccoli, which I have sampled, and liked, a number of times. Another dish I like is the Chicken with Garlic Sauce. The sauce is delicious and the vegetables in the dish are always fresh. I have to admit, I have not delved deeply into the alternate menu, but I thought the Mongolian Beef was superb and probably the best I've had of that dish. Items on the regular menu tend to range between $8 and $12 while the alternate menu might run a dollar or two more on average.

Today, I opted not to follow my own advice of eating there and instead went for take-out. Their Lunch Special for $5.25 represents fantastic value. You get an entree (30 different choices including most "usual favorites"), your choice of white or pork fried rice, and your choice of soup (egg drop/wonton/hot & sour) or an egg roll. This is a ton of food and definitely enough to feed you for an entire day. I got my usual standby, the General Tso's, with pork fried rice and wonton soup.

The soup was alright but the wontons were a little overdone. The rice was good and appeared to be freshly-made, while the General Tso's was great, just as I had remembered it to be.

To those who have lost hope in finding a good Chinese restaurant in the Triple Cities, and to those who settle for subpar buffets, consider making a trip to Moon Star in Endwell. This is good Chinese food with a whole menu full of authentic choices, with a pleasant, low-key ambiance and consistently excellent service. Between Moon Star and Foliage in Johnson City, the Triple Cities aren't so bad off when it comes to Chinese dining options after all.

Grade: B+

Moon Star Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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