It's electric: The rush of entering your favorite restaurant, the welcoming smile on the host or hostess' face, the spotless table surface, and the exhilaration of watching a calendar-quality plate placed in front of you. Pomp and bustle seep into every bite, to the point the walls are making your mouth water.
Eating out is the best!
Sometimes, though, the soul yearns for the comfort of Ninja Turtle-patterned fleece on your legs and your keester sunk into pleather. Sometimes, your Rock of Gibraltar is right there in the living room. Your golden moment is merely closing your eyes, sucking some good ol' homey air through your nostrils, and putting an action flick on. Pizza may be the food of entertainment, but Chinese take-out is king when your friends aren't invited.
Did you know the Chinese New Year flipped since last week's review? Well, what better way to kick off the Year of the Horse than for this monkey (I missed being a cock by less than two weeks) to big up his go-to for an afternoon on the ol' duff?
It's Yang's Chinese Restaurant, an exalted pillar of Woodbury cuisine and boxer of a bodacious Triple Delight.
The Basics: Yang's doesn't hide very well behind the MGM Booze Mausoleum on Woodlane and Valley Creek. You can still find them with ease; just look past Hoffy's Guns. The toughest part about getting in there is not getting seduced by Ronnally's next door. Their website is ambitious for a Chinese take-out spot; most others are either bare-bones or a rumor altogether. They downplay their accolades on the website, but they've got a wall covered in them.
Here's one you won't find on their wall:
Note: You can find the menu online; but, if you're like me and you've got a weird vendetta against water chestnuts because you don't like the sound they make when you chew them, you may want to order in-house until you get your removals memorized.
I know this because I called in to order, was given the ingredients, and deferred to an in-person transaction. I stepped in past a large vase in the entry way, past the aforementioned award wall, and to the front counter. Behind the young woman assisting me was food court-style, light-up menu paneling.
It was the only hiccup in an otherwise well-flowing interior. Ceiling panels, seat cushions, and even the hostess' nails were matched up in similar shades of teal; a metallic, golden color rode curves on rococo ceiling tiles and light fixtures; and both shades were stamped onto the wall in leaf shapes. Even the wall paintings coordinated. Far too many strip-mall take-outs skate by with nick-knacks and rummage sale paintings. Yang's walks the walk with good-postured, mighty strides. The tiles with dragon amulets could've been arranged a little more cleanly, but they beat the hell out of leakage stains.
"How hot is a 5?" I asked.
"I don't go past a 3," the woman answered. Yang's can go spicy! I shot for a five, of course, tacking on an order of wantons because cheese.
This woman answered the phone when I called initially, and repeated everything at the desk with no indignation. When my order was ready, she could have just plopped it on the counter and called it a day; instead, she hustled to my lurking spot and handed it over.
Ten minutes later, I'm at home on the couch. I dip into my double-boxed Triple Delight, and skyrockets get set to take flight.
The vegetables were crisp, there were more than two pieces of shrimp, and there were baby cobs in my delight! The sauce lightly stung while packing a mostly teriyaki, but minutely Cajun, flair. This little burn wouldn't have impressed on a chicken wing or in a chili pot, but it was precisely what I wanted from an Asian-food 5.
I withdrew a wanton, rushedly bit in, and HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT OH GOD HOT!!
When I was able to taste more than the conflagration of my tongue, the wontons taste as wontons typically do - cheesy goodness inside fried breading. They could have used a little more cream cheese inside, but what couldn't? I don't even know what an appropriate amount of cream cheese looks like, unless it actually is the entire container. In any event, eight wontons for $5 is a respectable price point.
The triple delight at $12 is a fair price, a tick higher than you might find at most places but it tastes many ticks better. You can find several items on their menu under a sawbuck. Their lo mein is in line with competitors' pricing, but they use Ramen-style noodles. I'm not into that, but that's your call.
In the end, Yang's helped turn the day I began reining in portions and fitting back into my jeans into a half-quart of Asian deliciousness and the second Expendables movie. Why suffer through squats on a Saturday when you can have baby corn cobs and 100 straight minutes of gunfire, am I right?
An order is big enough to feed two, but it just feeds me twice.
When I dial up Yang's, no one else is invited.