Saturday, September 08, 2007

Exit 12A - US-1 (Southwestern Blvd, to Arbutus)

I made a quick stop in Arbutus for some lunch today. Yes, I've been already (to wit: Exit 10). And Arbutus isn't large. But the East Drive shopping center is close to this exit, which is only on the outer loop (the inner loop leaps right from 11B to 12B). This is the one with the smallest Super Fresh I know of, as well as a Dollar General and a Pizza Bolis, Fikos (map) - a second subs and pizza place, and a Chinese-Japanese place. With only about $6 of cash on hand, I went for the last place, the Grace Cafe (map, which is for Pizza Bolis, which is next door - I can not find Grace Cafe on the internet anywhere). I went there knowing that Chinese lunch specials rarely amount to more than that.

The Grace Cafe had the typical lunch time offerings - sweet and sour, chop suey, beef with broccoli, orange chicken, the usual fare - at the typical lunch time - 11:30 to 3, seven days a week. I went for the orange chicken ($5.25), for which I waited about 10 to 15 minutes. I did have to ask for chopsticks, and the only thing that comes with it is fried rice and the ubiquitous fortune cookie (no egg roll).

I got it home, still hot, and noticed a styrofoam container brimming with orange chicken sauce that was precariously hanging onto the edge, just waiting to fall all over the place. As I got further into the orange chicken, I noticed that, as is often the case with hole-in-the-wall Chinese take-outs, a mind-bogglingly large amount of salty, otherwise flavorless (except for the occasional tasty chunk of pork) fried rice, and a smaller supply of pretty typical orange chicken pieces, with a few florets of broccoli thrown in for good measure. Plus, there were a few little strips of orange peel. It was, in all, a pretty average eating experience.

I couldn't finish it. It's not the fault of Grace Cafe, per se. But as I ate it, I realized that I just don't enjoy all that fatty orange chicken anymore. If you ever need to gain weight, orange chicken is the perfect way to do it. It's got all the things that pack on the calories: lots of fat, lots of sugars and carbs (the sauce and the breading), and enough protein (webbed in with the fat). I just feel sick these days whenever I eat orange chicken. So I found myself plying my cat and dog with what I couldn't finish - a little here, a little there, until I just lost interest. I gave my cat a whole piece of the boneless orange chicken, and my dog the rest of the container. Hell, he'll eat anything. Might as well not waste it.

Places I visited:

Grace Cafe (Chinese / Japanese) - next to Pizza Bolis, 5401 East Drive, Arbutus, MD 21227.

  • Would I eat there again? Probably not
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? No
Places to look up later:

Fikos Pizza & Subs (pizza / subs) - 5209 East Drive, Arbutus, MD 21227; Phone: (410) 242-4342


Ryan said...

I checked this place out for the first time today (I live nearby) after I got their circular. I saw they had sushi and I'm a fanatic, along with regular chinese food (I'm usually a China Kitchen regular).

I got 3 maki rolls - shrimp tempura, salmon, and spicy tuna. My wife for hunan chicken and white rice.

While the inside of the place looked like a run-down, bare shanty, the food wasn't as bad as described to be honest. My wife's food no longer comes in styrofoam tins (I hate those too) but in a nice, strong plastic, sealable container. My sushi came in a nice foil container. for taste, her's was quite good (not amazing, but good) and my sushi was actually good, especially for the price. They also seem to have some good lunch specials too.

Overall, I'd go back, though if I'm in the mood for goooooood sushi, I goto Matsu off of camp meade rd.

Mike said...

I tend to have something from Grace Cafe about once a week - usually Sushi. I guess I'm probably 1/10th the business there!

Anyway, I definitely love the fact that I live in Arbutus and there is a place that delivers sushi.

Anonymous said...

I love grace cafe. It's the only chinese place I eat anymore. The foods always fresh and hot when we get it. The general tso's and spring rolls are my fav's.

Anonymous said...

I go to Grace cafe once a week on fridays for sushi. I LOVE their Sushi... its better then any other places Ive had in MD (with an exception of 2 reallllly expensive sushi restaurants I went to but the ridiculous prices & tiny tiny tiny little peices of sushi arent worth it!).
Grace cafe's Sushi taste great, decent size, and very good price. During lunch hours which i think are 11am-3pm, you can get Any 2 rolls for $6 or 3 rolls for $9. Regular sushi (not rolls.. not sure what its called) is $2.50 for 2 peices. also they have a 5 peice sushi & california roll for $7.00.
Their chinese food is pretty darn good too.. i suggest the general tsos chicken. They have specials for chinese food as well but i dont get that quite as often because I'm trying to watch my figure.
But I definetly suggest this place. Its worth trying & you will be glad you did!

John said...

This must be a different Grace Cafe than the one I wrote about, which was atrocious.

Coot said...

I agree that Grace Cafe is pretty average. But why the heck would you take the time to write a blog about an average experience?

John said...

Coot: So I can warn the good people of Arbutus about what to expect! :)

Anonymous said...

I love Grace Cafe. The prices are reasonable, and tey have to die for pepper steak. The people are sooo friendly. Would I eat in no, but for the most part it is a take-out place. And just a thought, if you are not that fond of range chicken anymore, why didn't you order something else. They have a pretty large menu.