The story on most Chinese food is that it is quickly prepared, simply presented, and tastes about the same no matter where you have it. This sounds like a recipe for fast food, and in most cases Chinese food is just a specialized form of that. Only on rare occasions do you run into a Chinese restaurant that takes things and makes them a little more special. Luckily for residents of southern New Hampshire you, have a choice that is a cut above in Chen Yang Li in Bedford.
Last night, my darling bride-to-be and I were accompanied by our closest couple-friends for dinner at Chen Yang Li. Being a Saturday night we were hoping that there was not a long wait, and we were lucky enough to be able to be seated right away. Joe, our server, was prompt with the water as we were seated in the simple, yet attractive, dining room. The ladies perused the drink menu and, after some debate, decided on a coconut-rum-pineapple concoction called the Love Potion, while OT (Old Tom) settled on a Mai Tai.
While the drinks were being prepared, we finalized our meal selections. The menu offerings are one of the things that instantly separates Chen Yang Li from other Chinese restaurants. Appetizers like Frog Legs and Hong Kong Mussels can be paired with Abalone with Chicken or Yang’s Four Shell Soups . The main courses are a great mix of Japanese and Chinese staples along with unique items like Strawberry Chicken or Tangerine Beef.
The dinner selections we chose were:
- Unagi Don
- Mango Chicken
- Teriyaki Stir-Fried Chicken
- Teriyaki Stir-Fried Shrimp
The drinks arrived promptly and were solidly prepared and tasty. While we were having lively conversation our main courses arrived with little delay. Using radishes and carrots, the heaping portions were expertly garnished with ornamental flowers and decorations — an excellent touch to accent the food. I ate the Unagi Don and found the smoked eel well prepared. I was also able to sample the Mango Chicken, which I thought was a flavorful offering. The fried rice that was ordered as the accompaniment had a little bit of a stale taste to it. It lacked the quality that we found with the rest of the meal. Our entire group was happy with the selections and there were a great deal of leftovers that could be savored the next day.
While the meal was not worthy of five stars, it was a well presented, plentiful, and tasty offering — an above average Chinese restaurant and well worth a visit. We will be returning to try some more of the unique menu.