formats
Published on May 17, 2013, by in Uncategorized.

My girlfriend and I have been arguing who is the least observant between us, and to be honest, I know it is me. The other day I asked what red sauce was on a sandwich in an advertisement, my girlfriend pointed to the advertisement, which labeled the sandwich as the Sriracha Sandwich and Sriracha was the only ingredient in the sandwiches description in bold and colored lettering. Before this incident, my girlfriend and I were not sure who deserved the title, because it took us a long time to find Handy Kitchen. And I do not mean a long time symbolically like “We had been looking for a good chinese place near our condo for a long time.” Nay. We were literally in the strip mall and it took us a long time to find handy kitchen. In case you are searching for this place, here’s a hint: it’s near the barbershop. And if you want to cut some corners, I can give you a cheat code: TheyDeliver.

Why it took us a while to find this place is difficult to explain, it’s kind of on the side of a grocery store for one thing and I think the sign just says Handy, but Barbershop is right next to it, so we were thinking it was the “Handy Barbershop” or that the shopping center was called handy. We were just confused and needed 10 cc’s of fatty takeout STAT!

After finally finding the place and getting some exercise in the process (for my car at least), it made the already delicious food taste all the better. I want to begin by saying that I do like this place, but I like it in only the way that I can like Chinese takeout. I will not spend an anniversary here, wow a friend from out of town with it, recommend it in casual conversation, or even eat lunch here. For me, it’s takeout or nothing from this place, and that is what it is built for. Outside of the kitchen, the location itself only has two booths and a refrigerator of canned sodas and a few two liters. They didn’t build a brick and morter restaurant to take part in cherished memories or birthday parties. They probably want you to take your food and leave, but they are always really friendly and I’ve never had to wait more then 10 minutes after placing an order. I’ve also never been the only customer in the restaurant. This place has a steady stream of clients all sharing in those weak moments where the stomach is lost without some pedestrian General Tso’s Chicken or some Moo Shoo Pork.

My favorite dishes are their Moos Shoo Pork and their Sesame Chicken, but I almost always get their Sesame Chicken. What I like about their Sesame Chicken is that it tastes really good. Okay, that’s not helpful at all. Their Sesame Chicken is never too sweet, which sounds like a simple thing to do, but it’s not. The secret of good Sesame Chicken: don’t make the dish more than it is!

Yes, this is the best Sesame Chicken I have had in Raleigh, game over. Sauce and flavor aside, my favorite part of their sesame chicken is that their chicken is always crispy! Save soggy chicken for leftovers. When you pick up your meal, it has been cooked on demand, the chicken has been freshly fried and then sauced. It does not come from a buffet pan that has been sitting around for a while. Also, with all of their food, the portions are quite large. I can never finish it in one meal and I always have plenty for lunch the next say (Got any tips for reheating white rice?).

Is there a downside here? Of course! Their soups are all really bland. I won’t order their sweet and sour soup again and their wonton soup is one step away from chicken broth. Strong not recommend.

I had eaten so much mediocre to bad Chinese takeout in Raleigh that I had almost given up, but then I saw a restaurant with a 95% near me, so I knew I would give it a try and I am glad that I did. My girlfriend and I agree that Handy always has the best entrees that we have tried. To clarify: should you come from Durham, Chapel Hill, or Texas to try this place? NO! But for now, I better get “It’s next to the barbershop” tatooed on my forearm so I can easily find this great tasting takeout place again.

VALUE BREAKDOWN:
Taste = Mid-High
Variety = They have the same menu you find at any takeout hub

Portions = slightly larger than average(?)
Price = very fair
Service = friendly
Atmosphere = uninviting
Total Value = high

Handy Kitchen on Urbanspoon