Friday night I was tasked with finding some carry-out food for dinner for my family. I first headed towards Green Papaya, but couldn’t find a parking spot, so I turned up Drakewood and wound up in Oakley. There I found Yat Ka Mein, the relatively new Chinese restaurant that opened in the abandoned Arby’s on the southern tip of Oakley Square. There was plenty of parking in their lot behind the restaurant.
The inside of the restaurant is brand new and quite colorful. It was probably half full at the time of my visit just past 7 P.M. I walked to the carry-out window, found a menu, and took a seat at a nearby bench. The menu is really lengthy for a Chinese restaurant, at least compared to ones I’ve visited in the past. While looking it over I couldn’t help but notice the number of phone calls coming into the restaurant for carry-out and delivery orders. If you call ahead you can pickup your order through the restaurants old drive-through window.
I decided to go with two traditional dishes, sweet and sour chicken ($8.75) and kung pao chicken ($9.25). I ordered both dishes with brown rice, which is $1.50 up charge per dish. I also ordered two chicken egg rolls ($2 each). My order was ready for me within ten minutes of placing it, a nice surprise.
The sweet and sour chicken had the sauce on the side, which was appreciated. The chicken itself was all white meat and fried perfectly. The vegetable mix of peppers, onions, and carrots was basically raw though. I didn’t mind the raw pineapple, but would have preferred the veggies to be cooked a little more. Plus the brown rice was way overcooked and was more like oatmeal than rice.
The kung pao chicken was better, however it was not spicy at all. I ordered it from the hot and spicy menu but I didn’t get any heat in what was served. The vegetables were cooked well this time and featured a mix of peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. The chicken was good too, but without any spice the dish really fell flat.
It’s a sad meal when the best part is the chicken egg roll appetizer. And even that seemed to be of the frozen box variety that was heated upon ordering. My wife didn’t think it was as bad as I did, but still said it was average at best. Yat Ka Mein advertises themselves as a noodle house, so perhaps we just ordered the wrong dishes. Maybe we will give them another shot and focus on that side of the menu.