BY ANDREW J. SMITH
As has become my tradition in recent years, I had Christmas dinner at the Ocean Empire on Route 202 in Mount Ivy. The place was busy as to be expected but I was seated immediately right next to the big aquariums. I am a creature of habit when it comes to Chinese restaurants as I nearly always have the lemon chicken with a vegetable and my usual seltzer with a lemon wedge.
My waiter was prompt, polite and available. The fried noodles with duck sauce and the hot mustard came in less than a minute after being seated. The vegetable selection was nicely sized and I decided upon the mixed vegetable delight.
I nibbled on the noodles and sauce while enjoying the antics of the fish in the tank next to me. I must say that the noodles are always nice and crispy and goodly sized and not the corn flake sized tidbits you get in some places.
It wasn’t long before my main course arrived piping hot. The chicken was its usual crispy on the outside, moist and very tasty on the inside. The lemon sauce is the best I have had. It is very flavorful and not a bit thin as it sometimes can be elsewhere. I often borrow it for my noodles.
The mixed vegetables were well-suited in combination with the chicken. It contained water chestnuts, broccoli bits, green beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, and bean curd. I enjoyed the entire meal greatly as not only was it very tasty but filled me comfortably with a few pieces left over to take home for later.
I am never disappointed by a meal there and I was just recommending it to friends this week for a nice family Christmas Day feast. The entire meal came to $35.60 and well worth it. By all means when you get the yen for Chinese the Ocean Empire is the place to go. Sadly, the well-known Mabel Woo, co-owner of Ocean Empire for many decades, passed away in October 2016, but her husband and family continue the restaurant’s reputation for excellence.