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February 19, 2012 / HL

Chino’s | A Taiwanese Cantina

Chino's

Dub-C heard about Chino’s as a new restaurant in town that is Taiwanese-Mexican fusion food. We had hopes that it might be like our favorite Korean fusion place down in LA, but we’ve learned that we would be constantly disappointed. Looking at the menu, we knew that there were some basic favorites, so we decided to meet up with friends to give it a try.

Chino's

bertha

The restaurant has limited seating with small tables and a casual atmosphere. You order your drinks and food in the front and it’s delivered later to your table. While we waited for our friends to arrive, we first started with a drink while we waited for our friends to arrive.

Chino's

furikake kettle corn and pickles of the day

Chino's

spiced peanuts

Chino's

flavored eggs

We started with some appetizers first. The small dishes allowed us to try a lot on their menu. I really liked the popcorn, though that is one of my favorite snacks so it’s kinda unfair. The pickles were interesting as well, since we couldn’t actually figure out what the white vegetable/fruit was. Apple? Potato? Pear? We think it was pear.

Chino's

gua baos

Chino's

tinga tacos

Once everyone had arrived, we ordered these Gua Baos. These are a popular Taiwanese item and my favorite are the ones from Facing East. These were perfectly delicious, but I’ve had better.

Chino's

pig ear salad

Pig ears are one of my favorite delicacies so we had to get them. Again, I’ve had better.

Chino's

zha jiang mein

So let me tell you the saga of the chicken wings. The menu boasts these are better than like “that place in Portland” so we were curious to see. We ordered the wings along with the rest of the food. As the food was gradually delivered to our table, we were still wing-less. Then, the waitress informed us that they ran out of wings and that it would take about 20 minutes to make them. Sure, we said. In fact, we asked her to add a second order of wings to our order because why not.

20 minutes passes and still no wings. At this point, we all are debating about the feasibility that they could have ran out of wings by 7pm on a Friday night. What was the chef thinking? If they are bragging about them, shouldn’t they have them ready? Since the kitchen is in partial view, I watched with anticipation and waited for them to finish their wings. It was close to 30 minutes after the waitress informed us of the delay (and close to an hour after we put in our order) before the wings finally arrived.

Chino's

those famous chicken wings

Verdict? It was obviously a let-down. “That place in Portland” is definitely better. The sauce had nice flavor (sweet, spicy, salty, sour) but in their hurry to getting these out, the sauce was slightly burnt as you can tell from the photo above. Also, three wings for $9 is on the pricey side and not worth it in my opinion. If I’m in the mode of this type of Asian-flavored wings, I would just go to another place in Seattle for them.

We also thought that since most of these dishes are small that the menu should offer a signature entree that can be a meal on its own and that distinguishes them from other places. Otherwise, this restaurant serves good versions of food that you can find at other places, but the bar offerings will set them apart. Take noteThanks for your comment below, Chino’s!

Chino’s | 1024 E Pike St.  Seattle,  WA  98122

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3 Comments

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  1. Chino's / Feb 19 2012 11:37 AM

    Hello! Sorry you had a disappointing experience. Back when we were running out of wings early, we’d been in business for barely a month. We’ve still only been open for a just little over two months. We’re trying to improve, but we’re new at this! :)

    Thanks for coming in and, though we didn’t live up to your expectations, we appreciate your feedback. I’d like to point out a few inaccuracies, though, if I may: first, we do strive to be mainly a bar that serves delicious bar snacks, rather than try to be a “restaurant” that happens to have cocktails. Therefore, it is unfair to compare us to fabulous restaurants like Revel and Chego — which both have award-winning celebrity chefs. No chefs here at Chino’s! Just a home cook livin’ the dream! ;)

    Second, We do not claim that our wings are “better” than that place in Portland (we all know “that place” is Pok Pok). Pok Pok is a great restaurant and we merely intend to serve our version of an awesome dish. Our menu makes no boast that our wings are “better” than anybody’s.

    We appreciate the time and effort that went into presenting this blog review of our humble establishment. Despite disappointing you, I hope my comments help put your bad experience at our bar into perspective. Thank you and take care!

    – The management at Chino’s

    • HL / Feb 19 2012 12:00 PM

      Thanks for reading the review and commenting on this blog! I definitely appreciate being able to get responses right from the establishment itself! I made some clarifications above based on your explanations, so thank you.

      My hubs (who’s Taiwanese) wanted me to recommend that you should have some type of beef noodle soup – though it’s not your typical bar appetizer offering, it’s a great dish to have after hitting up the bars/clubs in the area when all you want is something hot and soupy. I’m sure it would be delicious!

  2. Chino's / Feb 20 2012 1:56 PM

    We’re happy to share our thoughts with the blogger community and our customer base. Thank your husband for his recommendation, although we probably won’t offer beef noodle soup or anything like it. In fact, his recommendation hits right at some of the image problems we’ve been having.

    While he’s right that beef noodle soup is a great dish to have after hitting up bars and clubs, that pretty much implies that the person eating the beef noodle soup drank and had fun (and spent their money) somewhere else! Again, we’re trying to market Chino’s mainly as a casual neighborhood bar that happens to serve Taiwanese and Mexican tasty bar snacks. We’re not trying to be a traditional Chinese/Taiwanese ethnic restaurant that also happens to serve alcohol. Nor do we want to be a pre-funk/post-drinking grub place. You can go to Purple Dot Cafe or Beth’s for that. We want you spending your money on our delicious cocktails! :)

    Also, beef noodle soup is a specialty dish and we wouldn’t want to offer yet another mediocre dish that could be found somewhere else in a better version. ;)

    Indeed, a lot of people come to Chino’s expecting a full-blown Asian restaurant experience and some have actually gotten angry that we didn’t have this or that dish. Perhaps you can give us some feedback on how we can address our identity issues? Your feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!

    -Chino’s

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