The China Orchid is a long-running cafe in a great location: Carrollton Avenue near St. Charles. It also boasts its own parking lot, a rarity in that neighborhood. Why is it that convenience and excellence are rarely in the same package? The appeal of the China Orchid is that it serves, even by the standards of Chinese restaurants, very large portions ate very low prices. That alone will capture the loyalty of the younger members of the Uptown community, of which there are many in that area.
When the China Orchid opened in 1987, it was a better-than-average restaurant serving up-to-date dishes. For a time it was operated by Jung Lu Tan, the owner of the good Golden Dragon. She sold it in the early 2000s, and since that time the restaurant has been coasting along on the college crowd, take-outs, and delivery business.
The original design of the restaurant was well-done, and converted a stark strip-mall space into a pleasant place to dine. It's looking worn these days, with visible patches here and there.