Ocean Pearl Chinese Restaurant
300 E Main Street (Rte 160)
Cortez, CO, 81321
Fax: (970) 565-4888
This month a new Chinese restaurant opened up in Cortez, CO, making this the third such place in the area. As lovers of Chinese cuisine, we just had to try out the new place, and while disappointed in some aspects; we enjoyed others and are willing to try it out again.
Don't let the outside of the restaurant fool you; it's much prettier inside. Tables in the center area and booths line the walls allowing for seating of about 150 people; the bathrooms are faux marble and very clean. The staff is friendly, attentive, and don't mind answering questions about the menu items, or where they are from. As with other Chinese restaurants in this area, they are from California's Chinatown, so specialize more in Mandarin style cooking. Being from the East Coast, and very used to Cantonese cuisine, this different style of cooking takes a little getting used to for me.
There are basically two menus for dining in, depending when you are there: lunch or dinner. The lunch menu provides for combination meals that include: egg roll, soup (or salad), fried rice and the main item (a large variety of choice for this). The dinner menu is ala carte; has a larger variety of menu items, and include items listed on the lunch menu. There are also appetizers, soups and vegetarian items as well.
We tried the fried cheese wontons, also known as cream cheese wontons; wontons were fried perfectly - crisp and light. The cream cheese filling was smooth and creamy; and the accompanying sweet-sour sauce and Chinese hot mustard went well with this dish.
We had soup with our meal; the Wonton soup tasted too familiar, sort of like instant onion soup mix with one wonton in it, and pieces of green onion floating on top. The Hot and Sour soup, on the other hand, was delicious - rich, thick broth with plentiful ingredients; the taste was satisfying.
Roy tried the Sweet and Sour Shrimp which we both tasted and agreed upon - the shrimp was overly coated in fried batter, and it was more like eating a shrimp donut; the shrimp itself was lost in all that batter. So, not too happy with this choice.
I had the Sesame Chicken which was a milder version of General Tso's Chicken; in other words, there were red pepper flakes in the dish giving it a bit of heat. (General Tso's has the actual chiles in the sauce) Sesame Chicken is a very mild dish, and there were no vegetables, just chicken and sauce; usually steamed broccoli is served. Don't get me wrong though, it tasted very good and we both enjoyed it.
The Fried rice was just white rice (very visible) with soy sauce; no vegetables or fried egg pieces. Eaten alone it was very bland, mixed with the main dish helped to enhance both items.
Overall, it was better than the other two Chinese restaurants in the area; but from our experience with many Chinese restaurants out East, it was certainly not the best. However, as stated before, we will definitely give them another try.