Health Check: Wonton Gourmet (Cleveland, OH)

I’ve got a number of reviews here that are, in the grand scale of the internet and blogging, well, ancient. For example, way, way back in 2009 I did a review of Wonton Gourmet in Cleveland, and while I’ve had many, many trips back to the Cleveland area, I haven’t actually been back to Wonton Gourmet in almost a decade. But with this year’s Cleveland “Death March”, not only was I revisiting Cleveland, but we were literally walking right by Wonton Gourmet at lunch time, so I decided it would be a good place to stop, take a break, and see if Wonton Gourmet was still as good as I remembered.

Overall, the place hasn’t changed that much, although the neighborhood has gotten a bit of sprucing up. Inside, it’s still exactly the same experience: large tables with lazy susans, and big colorful pictures of food and banners (mostly in Chinese, with short English translations below) covering the walls (indeed, aside from a few price corrections, I think it’s the exact same food and banners on the walls). On my previous review, my main comment was that coming as a single diner, it was hard not to order an insane amount of food. Well, this time, with 10 hungry Death Marchers having a mid-day break, we ordered a smattering of dishes to share and pass around…. and still found that we ordered entirely too much food!

But the food quality is definitely still spot-on, and of the various passing dishes I sampled, a few really stood out. First was the cold pork with cellophane noodles; I’ve always found cellophane noodles to be a bit challenging: they can easily be either too toothsome (if undercooked) or too slimy (if overcooked), but this dish had them dialed in: just the slightest bit of al dente texture, soaking up some of the extra very spicy sichuan sauce from the cold pork, vegetables, and peanut mix served on top.

Next up: Sichuan Eggplant. I’m generally not much of an eggplant fan, but between the smaller Japanese-style eggplant, the very spicy and robust Sichuan hot oil sauce, and some nicely shredded pork, this was also a particularly pleasing dish for the table.

But probably my favorite was the Fun. On my previous visit, I had enjoyed some splendid steamed beef rolls, which were flavored beef wrapped up in a perfectly-executed rice noodle exterior. Well, instead of rolls this time, we got the Spicy Pork Fun, which was a perfect dish with chunks of nicely tender rice roodle, pork, mushroom, and a robust garlic sauce tying it all together. I’d definitely get this again.

So, while Wonton Gourmet seems to still challenge my food photography skills (both my previous visit and this one seem to have resulted in some particularly mediocre photos), it’s still definitely a place producing some seriously good Chinese food. I’m glad they are still around.

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