Many Asian restaurants in the Toledo area advertise authentic cuisine, but few deliver on that promise.
QQ Kitchen, 3324 Secor Rd., lives up to the billing. The establishment's popularity is evident from its use of social media: Posts on Twitter and Facebook are sent out when QQ runs out of food. Yes, really. It's become that popular.
A first glance at the menu, with dishes such as Cold Jelly Fish Salad (we didn't try it, but a colleague has, and we were assured it was good), might seem hard to believe. But it delivered on all the basics, and we couldn't have been happier.
Do yourself a favor and order the Drunken Chicken noodles ($7.95). The wide noodles are combined with large chunks of chicken, green peppers, onions, and carrots with a touch of basil and just enough light sauce to tie it together. We're not sure if it's the best thing on the menu, but we'd give it even odds.
QQ's main misstep, and it's more of a quibble than anything else, is that the Bulgogi ($9.95), sliced beef stir-fried in Korean barbecue sauce, should be spicier. The restaurant's pork version of the dish is advertised as a "spicy hot" option, so if that is more to your palate's liking, try that instead.
Another measuring stick for Asian-style restaurants in the United States is the quality of the General Tso chicken (6.95), and in this case the chicken thighs were lightly fried in a spicy garlic sauce with chopped scallions but without broccoli like so many other places. The dish somehow still tasted light, had plenty of zing, and was a bargain for the price.
Other fried-rice standbys were handled adeptly as well: shrimp and meat combo (chicken, beef, and pork, all $8.95). The shrimp dish was a little short on shrimp but hits the spot if you don't want it too spicy. The combo rice option was overflowing with meat and could easily feed two people.
Appetizers were outstanding. The hot and sour soup was robust and inexpensive ($1.99). The spring rolls ($1.95 for two) and egg rolls ($1.29) were fresh and crisp, and rival the area's best.
The crab rangoon ($2.50) is a guilty pleasure with warm, tangy cream cheese mixed with sweet crab stuffed in a fried wanton and served with sweet and sour sauce. QQ's version is better than most, practically exploding with filling in a perfectly crisp wanton.
QQ Kitchen only has five tables and a counter with a handful of high-top chairs, so dining in can be difficult. We ordered our meals to-go for both visits, and the restaurant also delivers.
Another "QQ" restaurant recently opened in South Toledo and QQ Kitchen was quick to respond with a post on Facebook stating: "We are not affiliated with the 'QQ Restaurant' on Glendale [Avenue]."
You know what they say about imitation and flattery. It still applies.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.