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Make this one the year of the Dragon

Published: January 19, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.


Dragon Chef
679 Moody St (781) 891-5510

Looking for a midnight snack and thought Tiki House and Dominos were your only options? Think again and check out Dragon Chef.

Menu:
Divided into Mandarin and Chinese dishes, Dragon Chefs menu is diverse and substantial. All the Chinese go-tos are there, along with a number of seafood dishes not featured at other Chinese restaurants in Waltham.

Appetizers:
Im a huge dragon chef appetizer fan. Their offerings, while simple, feature all the appetizers one would expect to find at a Chinese restaurant executed exceptionally well. My favorite is the scallion pancakes. Thick, yet at the same time fluffy and flakey, these pancakes are addictive and luckily the portions are big enough to share. The crab rangoons are also cravable, but sometimes can be a touch too greasy. The biggest disappointment for me was the fried golden wontons. It may have just been my ignorance, but I expected them to be actual wontons with some kind of filling, but this was not the case, and I ended up spending $2.00 on fried wonton skins.

Entrees:
Dragon Chefs entrees may not be innovative or unbelievable but are certainly dependable. The vegetables are always fresh, and the meat well cooked and nicely sauced. Id suggest the General Gaos chicken (much better than the one offered at Lilys or Tiki House) and the pork fried rice. As far as the soups go, the wonton soup with pork is a huge portion, filling, and great on cold Waltham nights. There is, however, one important note regarding Dragon Chef: while the food is good when it is fresh, generally it does not seem to hold up very well and makes for disappointing leftovers.

Atmosphere:
On their menu, Dragon Chef boasts that they have the only exposed kitchen in Waltham. Upon reading this I pictured a Benihana or sushi bar-esque dining room, which was certainly not the case. Instead, diners who decide to eat in have the option of one table with seats covered in newspapers and a view of the open, albeit grimy looking and loud, kitchen. If you are lucky, though, you may be able to talk to the cashier who goes by the name Johnny Cash. In short, this is definitely a take out/delivery establishment.

Delivery Service:
The best thing about Dragon chef may be the delivery hours. Open from 3 p.m. 2:45 a.m. Sunday Thursday and 3 p.m. 2:15 a.m. Friday – Saturday, its great for all niters (theyll even deliver to the library), and the 2 a.m. post-party snacks/munchies. Delivery from Dragon Chef usually takes half an hour to 45 minutes. Also, the delivery people, and those taking orders speak solid English (a rarity among Waltham Chinese restaurants), and seem friendly.

Value:
Overall, Dragon Chef is a great deal. All appetizers are in the $4 range and main dishes will run you $5-$7. I would also suggest checking out their all day specials, which feature a meat dish, fried rice, and sometimes an appetizer (all put into one rectangular to-go container), and are $5.50-$7.50. However, if you go with a special it will most likely come with pork fried rice, so its not so kosher friendly, but they are sometimes willing to make substitutions.

Rating:
4/5 martinis