What, exactly, does ABC stand for?

It’s a new restaurant, in the same building off of I 70 Drive SE as Hong Kong Market. And I’ve decided it stands for Absolute Best Chinese in Columbia.

This is it. This is the Chinese restaurant we have been waiting for. The food is amazing, the menu is large and varied, and the decor is sophisticated, soothing, and simple. Their display of vases and artware is gorgeous; be sure to check out the beautifully stylized buddha.

As I have often said, I do not know what “real” Chinese food would be, but this menu appears to have authentic choices, some of which don’t sound appetizing to MY taste, but I’d love to hear back from any of you who might be adventurous enough to try the fish heads or pork intestine. Fortunately, I could try more commonly found American choices, such as Orange Beef. Billed as spicy, it really wasn’t. But the beef was fork tender and the breading so light as to be almost invisible, yet lending a satisfying crunchy edge to each piece. The flavor was deep and complex, well set off by a ring of lightly steamed broccoli. We had pot stickers as an appetizer, obviously home made and served with a light vinegar based sauce with tiny slices of ginger floating in it. We also did crab rangoon and, again, though these are Americanized of course, they were freshly prepared, using thin won-ton that fried to a light crisp finish and homemade sweet-sour sauce.

I also tasted shrimp with walnuts, dressed with a creamy mayonnaise-based sauce. It was excellent and served with a large number of huge prawns. The kung bo chicken was very tender with excellent flavor. One of my friends had a lamb dish that I did not try, but she said it was excellent.

Now, they’re new. The timing was a bit off on the delivery of our food, with some entrees coming out early, then another, then finally the last which they had actually forgotten. However, the server explained promptly and apologized several times, which removed a lot of the sting. She also had a little trouble splitting our ticket. But it was well worth a bit of inconvenience.

I hope they are ready for an influx because they will get one as soon as word gets out. As far as I’m concerned, there IS no other Chinese restaurant in Columbia. Not like this.

28 thoughts on “What, exactly, does ABC stand for?

  1. The timing issue with the dishes might be a regular thing. The more authentic Chinese restaurants I’ve been to in bigger cities do this often. They just make dishes as they come in and serve them when they’re ready (so nothing’s cold). I was told that they expect most people at the table to share anyway, so it doesn’t matter if one person’s food comes out first because everyone will take a bite or two until their food arrives.

  2. Well, I thought my husband was crazy because he was telling me about a new Chinese restaurant out by Hong Kong Market, and I told him I’d never heard anything about it, and now you post this. How timely! Sounds as if we need to get out there, even though we rarely dine on the east side of town. Now that Q’s has departed the Columbia dining scene, we are looking for a great “upscale” Chinese restaurant. However, we still need to try Bamboo Terrace on West Broadway beside Wal-Mart, across from Hy-Vee. Reports are that it’s very good as well. Thanks for the positive report on ABC (what a weird name for a restaurant, Chinese or otherwise). Glad to hear the food is good.

    • I’ve tried Bamboo Terrace and it was okay; I think I may have just gotten the wrong dish, I was told a dish was white meat chicken and it wasn’t, and dark meat, with it’s fatty globs and weird fibrous glop, totally grosses me the hell out. So for me it was inedible.

    • Try the Malaysian Style Curry Chicken in Hot Pot. Best asian food I’ve had in Columbia in quite a while (if you like curry of course).

      • You mean at Bamboo Terrace for the Malaysian Style Curry Chicken? That’s what I had. I found it inedible because the chicken had weird gobbets of chicken tissue goo on it (note, there was nothing wrong with the chicken for most folks, I just get totally grossed out by that stuff). It also had an unholy crapton of onions, which I don’t like. The broth was excellent though.

  3. I’ve been to Bamboo Terrace four times and been completely happy with everything so far, so it might be worth giving it another shot. Great to hear that there’s another place to go to though. Will be trying it out.

    • Robert, I will, I promise. And get a different dish. The dark meat chicken thing is a real problem for me; it’s endemic in chinese cooking so I always ask, and it was disappointing to not have it be true but I wan’t that angry since the person asking did not speak that much English; I’m not sure they really understood the question.

      • Went to ABC Chinese tonight. Robin, you were right, this place is amazing. Going to go on Saturday to try out their Dim Sum. Thanks!

        • Dim Sum is good as well. Not having a lot of Dim Sum before, I’ll reserve a quality judgement but I was more than happy with everything I had. Good to finally have a reliable Chinese/Dim Sum location!

  4. Why is it that so many restaurants pick Tuesday as their day off? We had decided to try ABC tonight for dinner, but alas, they are closed on Tuesdays. BUMMER!

      • Maybe it’s a Chinese thing to be closed on Tuesdays because Mandarin House beside the W. Bdwy. Hy-Vee is closed on Tuesdays as well…. Robin, I know what you mean about dark meat chicken. I dislike it very much, too, and can’t stand gobbets of chicken fat or skin hanging on stuff. So I’m sure I wouldn’t like the Malaysian Style Curry Chicken Hotpot either. But the onions sound good…I do love me some onions.

        On another “gross” Chinese dish with fat (which happened to be pork in this case), I ordered a pork dish off the “authentic” Chinese menu at Peking on Green Meadows one time, and it was so fatty and gross, I couldn’t eat it. It turned me against that place so much, we’ve never been back, which is kind of a shame because I’m sure they have other stuff on the menu I would like, but the memory of that slimy pork fat is burned in my memory!

        • Christine you are not alone! One of my regular dining companions is the same as us about white meat vs dark meat. It literally makes me nauseated to even think about it. As for Peking, it’s pretty decent for Americanized Chinese but ABC is better IMO.

        • Christine, we went to Peking recently and my husband tried to order from the Chinese menu but the server flipped the menu over and said to order from the front pages. Okay then! He ordered a chicken something or other but it came out with shrimp so he asked the server about it. The owner came out and said “This is what the kitchen made. It is yours.” Good thing he doesn’t have a shell fish allergy.

          • Jen, your husband’s experience at Peking sounds like another reason for us to avoid it. How arrogant and presumptuous of them! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Had lunch there yesterday with a group of Chinese coworkers. The food was very good and they said it was authentic. We ordered several dishes that came out at different times and shared them (Chinese style), all of them good. ABC stands for American Born Chinese according to the owner’s son. The place is nice, just not in a very convenient part of town for me…

    • We live on the west side of Columbia, so it is not convenient for us either, but I’m sure we’ll make it out there at some point. Really sounds good! American Born Chinese, I like that!

      • It is all in your perspective. For us North-Easterners, this is a great spot. I have not made it yet (keeping my New Year’s resolution to eat out less), but hope to make it there soon. Maybe this weekend.

  6. We tried ABC Sunday night and honestly, I was not impressed. The service was lackluster…disorganized, non-communicative, and slow. Our dining companions had to track down two waiters to finally get the bowl of rice that came with their food. The food was no better than any other Chinese I’ve had in Columbia. The only saving grace was the hot tea was really really good. Other than that, I’m not dying to go back any time soon.

  7. We went to ABC today for the dim sum and ended up spending almost $30 for two of us (including tip) so this will have to be a rare event for us. Anyway, we ordered shrimp paste on eggplant (I think it was actually a shrimp and not paste), stuffed lotus leaf wraps, the rice crepe with shrimp, baked bbq pork buns, and eggs tarts. The server told us that the baked pork buns are probably going to be taken off the menu and not available so went with steamed. Also, he said the egg tarts are hard to keep in stock so those were unavailable. They do offer coconut pudding for dessert but we passed on that. I really enjoyed the meal. The crepes appeared to be made of noodle dough (not sure on that since they are called rice crepes) but we had no trouble eating them! I never expected to see this in Columbia and they were terribly busy by the time we left. We ordered from the dim sum menu but by the time we finished eating, the cart was being rolled around the room. Our server said they still trying to get organized since dim sum is somewhat new for them. We will definitely go back as the budget allows.

  8. My wife and I went here last night and had a decent dinner. Nothing really wowed us, though. It’s your basic Chinese joint, just with generally higher prices. Not bad, but nothing that’s going to keep us coming back regularly. I am with Jen2on three points: 1. There’s quite a few places in the area to get very similar food, 2. Their service could be far better and quicker, and 3. The tea was pretty darn good.

  9. I dined at ABC a few weeks ago on a Saturday at lunch. I thought the hot and sour soup was the best I’ve had in a while. The egg roll, which they make there he said, was a bit odd. It had something in it that just didn’t fit I thought. I also ordered the wrong dish, a curried chicken off the lunch special menu. It was something I wanted to try, it was well prepared and presented but I wanted spicy and it didn’t fill that craving at all. I plan on going back after it’s been open a while, it had potential.

    • Switching gears here from ABC (haven’t yet tried) to Bamboo Terrace (West Broadway next to Wal-Mart). Tried Bamboo Terrace for the first time a couple weeks ago, and the food was really good. We had salt and pepper fried calamari for appetizer, and this was some of the best calamari I’ve ever had due to the salt and pepper seasoning, as well as the light breading. You could actually taste the squid as opposed to a lot of crunch coating. I had the Velvet Beef (loved the spiciness of it due to the chili oil), and hubs had the Shrimp (or Prawn) and Scallops dish, also off the House Specialty menu. His seafood was very lightly deepfried first, then stir fried with his vegetables. It was a very beautiful dish as well as being very delicious. The place is a little pricey, perhaps, compared to other Chinese restaurants, but it’s definitely a cut above the majority in town, IMHO. Service was great, too. Now that Q’s has closed, this will be our go-to “special” Chinese restaurant. Plus they are convenient to where we live. However, they don’t yet have a liquor license, which really saves us on our total bill! ;-)

  10. Okay, I amend my previous comments about this place. My wife and I revisited ABC this past Sunday with our teenage son and his friend and the food was AWESOME.

    For appetizers, we had the paper chicken and spicy lettuce wraps. The paper chicken, while good, was very sparse as far as portions go. The lettuce wraps were really good. The dish features individual leaves of lettuce designed to hold the filling, which had a pleasant amount of spice to it.

    I had the Stewed Pork Intestines, and while it seems unappetizing to many, it was really, really good. Nice hunks of intestine in a thick stew with cubes of pork blood, straw mushrooms, various veggies and two kinds of hot peppers (both the standard dry red chiles and sliced rings of a fresh pepper that was even more sinus-cleansing than the dried ones). All in all, the flavor as a whole was superb and certainly fit it’s rating as a spicy dish. I even got my wife and son’s friend to try some intestine and blood cubes themselves! They liked it! :)

    My wife had the Yang Zhou Meat Balls. Numerous nice-sized meatballs were served in a clear broth with napa cabbage and wood ear mushrooms. She really liked the dish as a whole.

    I honestly cannot remember much about what the kids ate, but our son had a nice shrimp fried rice dish and his friend had a noodle dish of some kind.

    Add to that a pot of chrysanthemum tea (very light and mellow) and it was a great meal all around. We will certainly come back.

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