Our 5-year old son, Jonathan, wanted to go to a Chinese restaurant for his birthday dinner, so we decided to go to China Palace at 7089 Redwood Blvd in Novato, CA.
The parking lot in front of China Palace’s A-frame style building was nearly full when we arrived, but we were seated almost immediately in a comfortable booth. The décor is clean and simple with crisp white tablecloths and traditional Chinese decorations. Jonathan thought the restroom was fancy, too.
China Palace’s menu is typical to other Chinese restaurants we’ve visited. The prices are moderate and there’s a good variety of spicy and not-spicy dishes. We ordered and sat back to wait. We started a game of connect-the-dots on one of the paper placemats, but we didn’t have to wait long. Our appetizers arrived before we had finished two rounds of the game.
The Crab Puffs arrived first. Both the boys had a taste and turned them down, as I expected they would. My husband and I enjoyed the crispy fried pastry and the creamy crab and cheese filling. The Pot Stickers arrived shortly after and the kids dug in to their favorite Chinese treat. These were large and fried to a nice brown, but not too crispy.
The service was quiet and efficient. We had just the right amount of time to finish our appetizers before the soup arrived. Wor Won Ton Soup is one of my favorites and this one was excellent. There were plenty of won tons to go around, as well as tender chicken pieces, mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, prawns and more.
Our entrees arrived a bit too quickly after the soup was served and we nearly ran out of space on the table. We ordered a little something for everyone: Broccoli Beef, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Chicken Chow Mein and Steamed Rice. My husband likes things spicier but this time he settled for adding hot chili pepper sauce to his plate.
Everything was great. The broccoli was cooked just enough to be tender but not soggy, and the beef was very tender. The sauce was perfect – not too heavy. The breaded sweet and sour chicken was tender too, not overcooked and tough like some restaurants serve. All the vegetables were fresh and tasty and the noodles were just right. Even the rice had the right amount of stickiness – essential for eating with chop sticks.
We all enjoyed dinner, but we overestimated our appetites when we ordered. Fortunately one of the good things about a good Chinese restaurant is that the food is just as tasty for lunch the next day. We brought home a little of everything, actually a lot of everything, and enjoyed a satisfying lunch of the left-overs.
If you get a chance, I highly recommend the China Palace in Novato. My favorites are the Crab Puffs and the Wor Won Ton Soup, but we have yet to find a dish there that we don’t like, so order your favorite Chinese dish!