As is always the case when there is a whiff of authenticity in a restaurant's air, the China Rose is full of smug customers--few of them Asian--who are very proud to profess preference for the Chinese menu's contents. For many of them, the pleasure is not so much in eating it as in being able to say that they have eaten it. The actual Asians here don't make a big deal about it. The unspoken truth is that some of the Americanized dishes here are actually better than some of the Chinese dishes.
The idea of asking for the "the Chinese menu" in a Chinese restaurant is a recent development. It was born of necessity, after the main menus in most Chinese restaurants evolved into more or less pure American food with a Chinese accent. The China Rose was the first New Orleans restaurant in modern times to employ a special menu if dishes with first-generation Chinese as its target. Before then, it was possible to get the food that the local Chinese people eat, but you had to a) know what you were talking about and 2) convince them to cook for you as they do for for themselves. The alternate menu makes a) a lot easier.
The China Rose came into being in the late 1980s, when it took over the stunning Imperial Palace next to the Robert E. Lee Theater in Lakeview. It went on happily under the management of a British guy and his Chinese wife, drawing a strong regular clientele. Katrina wiped out everything. After a few years, the China Rose, with new owners, reopened in the former Ming Palace in Metairie. At first it blended the menus of the two restaurants, but it wasn't long before the Chinese menu took over and brought in a new clientele, with many more young and Asian customers.
The smallish, L-shaped dining room is neither grand nor shabby enough to attract your attention. The service is provided by a mix of employees and the owners' family, all in good moods and happy to explain the more unusual offerings.
Be brave and try the dishes on the Chinese menu. This is not the kind of place to order the same fried rice and Mandarin chicken you've limited yourself to in Chinese restaurants all your life. There is much more and vastly better here.