Monday, February 17, 2014

Wok on over to Side Wok Cafe in Broad Ripple

After last week's disappointing Chinese experience at JS Garden, I wasn't expecting to eat Chinese for awhile.  But today, my administrative assistant wanted take out and convinced the rest of us to join in a carry out order.  Her pick for Chinese in our part of town is Side Wok Cafe in Broad Ripple between the Monon Trail and Broad Ripple High School on Broad Ripple Ave.  When you search Google for the restaurant, a website for Side Wok is one of the first results, but that website is for a restaurant on Heathrow Way in west Indianapolis.  Which, speaking of that website, the photos of fresh food are quite tempting.  I might have to head that way to check it out.

Broad Ripple's Side Wok Cafe doesn't have a website and online menu, but you can search and find photos of the menu online.  We were able to find a photo of the lunch menu on Urban Spoon and made selections.  Side Wok Cafe has 23 lunch specials ranging from $4.35 to $4.85.  All lunch specials include white or fried rice; and choice of soup, egg roll, or drink.  I decided to try a Szechuan do-over from the bland Szechuan beef from JS Garden.  I chose lunch special 17, shrimp with Szechuan, with wonton soup.

Front side of the expansive Side Wok Cafe menu.  Click the photo for a larger view.
Back side of the expansive Side Wok Cafe menu.  Click the photo for a larger view.

Close up on the lunch specials on the Side Wok Cafe menu.

Our assistant phoned in the carry out order and picked it up.  All of our lunches were packed in styrofoam clam shell boxes about 9x6 inches, and about 1.5 inches deep, that were stapled shut.  The packaging at JS Garden is better for keeping half of lunch for the next day.  Other than the packaging, Side Wok easily beat out JS Garden.  The shrimp with Szechuan was spicy.  Every so often, I took a break to let my mouth cool off.  The dried chilis had been minced and dotted the packaging, a much better way to add heat than the two huge dried chilis left whole, and left in my food, from JS Garden.  Bamboo, carrots, green pepper, a few scant pieces of red pepper, a few pieces of baby corn, and lots of chopped onion accompanied the 11 medium shrimp in the lunch portion.  All of the veggies were crisp tender and the shrimp were a pleasant texture--not overcooked.  Side Wok was very heavy handed with the onion slices, but supposedly onions have a natural antibiotic effect.  Since it's cold season, I hope that's true.

The portion was very generous.  When I started eating the shrimp and vegetables, I noticed that the rice was spread underneath so a substantial amount of the container was rice.  Nevertheless, it was an excellent value for $4.85.  I ate so much shrimp and rice that I did not have room for the wonton soup.  I kept it for lunch the next day. 

All of this for $4.85 plus tax!  Shrimp with Szechuan, wonton soup, and white rice from Side Wok Cafe.

The container is really heavy because of all this rice.  The rice is under the shrimp and vegetables, making it look like there is more shrimp and veggies than the box actually contains.  Regardless, it is still a very good value.  If all of that had been shrimp and vegetables, I don't know how they'd turn a profit!

Overall, I spent less than half as much for lunch than at JS Garden and received tastier food.  I wish Side Wok Cafe had a website or online ordering since explaining an order to the staff over the phone is a little difficult, but overall, this could be my new go-to Chinese carry out spot.  Flavorful, spicy food that is well-prepared and a fantastic value.  One lunch special is ample for two day's worth of lunches.  I'm definitely giving Side Wok Cafe a thumbs up on Urban Spoon.

Side Wok Cafe on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Stacy! I just approved your blog claim. Now your Urbanspoon profile picture is displayed on your blog page. You can upload a blog-specific photo if you prefer, and can change a few other blog settings there. Also, if you vote for a restaurant that you've reviewed on your blog, we now show your vote next to your post everywhere on our site.