2 Fleur
Average check per person $15-$25
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchNo Lunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerNo Dinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

China Doll

Harvey: 830 Manhattan Blvd. 504-366-1111. Map.
Casual.
AE MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
First there was only Cantonese Chinese food in New Orleans, mild and loaded with gravy and vegetables. In the early 1970s, the spicy Chinese cuisines came to the fore, and by the end of the decade an entirely new style of Chinese restaurant was the talk of the town. The China Doll was one of the leaders of that generation, and became one of the most popular Chinese places in town, drawing even East Bankers to Harvey. It hasn’t changed much in the three decades since then, but still has many regulars who eat the same dishes they have for all that time. Or stand in line to get take-out.

WHAT’S GOOD
Neither as consistent nor as good as it once was, the China Doll has suffered the fate of all long-term ethnic restaurants, adjusting its food to customer demands, and becoming wary of trying anything new. Its specialties–conveniently listed on one page of the menu, apart from the dozens of standards–are reasonably well made. They have resisted the urge to deep-fry everything, with better sauces as a result. But where are the great lobster and soft-shell crab dishes they used to do so well?

BACKSTORY
Agnes and Chef Ping Tsang opened the China Doll in 1985 and were almost immediately a major West Bank restaurant hit. It’s still managed by the Tsang family.

DINING ROOM
The stark exterior (just another space in the secondary strip mall) hides a restaurant designed in a sort of Fifties-era Polynesian style. The whole place is in need of a renovation, if only to brighten things up to modern tastes.

ONLINE MENU LOCATION

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Starters
Egg rolls
Cho cho
Chicken fingers
Fried won ton
Beef on a stick
»Crab Rangoon
Fried scallops
»Lomi lomi
Fried prawns
»BBQ ribs
»BBQ pork
China Doll tidbits for two
»China Doll special soup
Cantonese crab corn soup
Won ton soup
»Hot & sour soup
Egg drop soup
Mandarin soup
Chicken noodle soup
Entrees
»Lomi lomi (shrimp, pineapple, bacon, Chinese vegetables)
Catfish, crabmeat or shrimp Cantonese (mild or hot)
»Fish marinated and stir-fried with garlic, black beans, wine, water chestnuts, mushrooms, pork strips
Scallop delight (fried with shrimp and vegetables)
Satay shrimp (mild or hot)
Shrimp velvet (snow peas, water chestnuts, garlic,
mushroom, egg white, wine cream sauce)
Supreme of catfish (fried, with Chinese greens)
»Seafood delight (shrimp, scallops, catfish, Chinese greens)
»Sizzling steak kew, snow peas, baby corn, onion, tomato, mushrooms
»Sizzling seafood wor ba (shrimp, scallop, fish, vegetables)
Empress chow mein (bean sprouts, mushrooms, snow peas, roast
Pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, pan-fried egg noodles
Empress lo mein (as above with soft noodles)
Shrimp lo mein
Triple dragon (shrimp, chicken, roast pork, snow peas, water chestnuts, sliced mushrooms
»Moo shu pork, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, garlic-wine sauce, served with thin pancakes
»Moo shu shrimp
Kung bo seafood (shrimp, scallops, catfish, cashew nuts, mushrooms, water chestnuts, baby corn, vegetables, Szechuan hot sauce
»Phoenix chicken (fried boneless chicken, ham, vegetables)
General Tso’s chicken, sweet-spicy sauce, pineapple, onions and bell peppers
Sweet & sour subgum (shrimp, chicken, pork, fried won ton, sweet and sour sauce
»Barbecue shrimp in shell, ginger & onion, sauce, vegetables
»Empress chicken (fried boneless chicken, vegetables)
Mandarin chicken (fried boneless chicken, brown sauce, almonds, green onions
Moo goo gai pan (chicken sautéed with mixed vegetables, baby corn and mushrooms
Sweet and sour chicken
»Almond chicken Ding
Chicken with broccoli
Kung bo chicken ding (sautéed with water chestnuts, mushrooms, cashews, vegetables, garlic hot sauce)
»Curry chicken
»Lemon chicken
Green pepper steak, oyster and wine sauce
Beef with snow peas
Beef with broccoli
Kung-bo beef ding, straw mushrooms, baby corn, water chestnuts, cashew nuts, vegetables, spicy garlic sauce
Curry beef.
Satay beef
»Ma-Po’s bean curd (tofu, chopped beef, shrimp, mushroom, peas, carrots, hot garlic sauce)
Almond roast pork Ding
Sweet & sour pork
Kung bo pork
Sweet and sour shrimp
Shrimp kew
Shrimp with broccoli
Shrimp with lobster sauce
Har kew (fried battered shrimp, mixed vegetables)
Kung-bo shrimp sautéed with mushrooms, water
chestnuts, cashews, baby corn, vegetables, garlic hot sauce
Curry shrimp
Sweet & sour catfish
»Catfish kew
»Scallop kew
Kung-bo scallop
Buddhist delight (mixed vegetables, wine sauce)
Kung bo vegetables
Vegetable lo mein
Moo shu vegetables
»Crispy fried duckling, vegetables
Egg foo yung (chicken, beef, ham, pork, shrimp, crabmeat or combinations)
China doll special fried rice (chicken, roast pork or beef or ham, shrimp)

FOR BEST RESULTS
As is true in all Chinese restaurants, the way to eat is to order three entrees for every four people, and pass the well-filled plates around.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
It’s time for the China Doll to reinvent itself. The numerous Vietnamese restaurants have stolen some customers, who were looking for some new flavors. The China Doll could supply that within the Chinese cuisine if they wanted.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment
  • Consistency +1
  • Service+1
  • Value +2
  • Attitude
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness -1
  • Local Color

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Good for business meetings
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Unusually large servings
  • Quick, good meal
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • Reservations accepted

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Probably the busiest Chinese restaurant in the area. The stark exterior (just another space in the secondary strip mall) hides a restaurant designed in a sort of Fifties-era Polynesian style. The food here is not as adventuresome as it once was (what happened to the great lobster and soft-shell crab dishes they used to do so well?), but it still has an interesting style. The sauces tend more to the mild side–if you want something really spicy, be sure to tell them. But even the more polite sauces are well made, and the ingredients are of good quality.


2 Readers Commented

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  1. schlage parts Harvey on November 30, 2015

    Very 2 good

    • Jeremy on March 14, 2017

      The food has always been good there. I was very disappointed last Friday when I went. I ordered food to go, and was very upset to arrive home, only to see my (cooked) dish was loaded with dead fruit flies.

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