I grew up in Milton… “My Hometown”…For the longest time, Milton had about three sit down restarurants. Two were Pizza Joints, and the other The Village Inn.
Well as time goes by, people move away, come back etc. Milton now has a few more restaurants and another signal light intersection.
Jin Long has been in Milton I bet now for five or six years. I’ve eaten here once before with mixed results. Since Susan is always needing content for this blog, we decided to eat here so we could do a good old “forking”.
We got here probably about 7:30 or eight. Much like Lewisburg, Milton shuts down pretty early. So there was no crowd. As Susan will describe below, the decor, well the decor is not the first priority of Jin Long. Pretty much just your typical pictures of places in China that I’ll never see.
As I said Milton shuts down early so it was no surprise that looking over the buffett bar at this hour left a lot to be desired. Jin Long should probably run their buffet in shifts… something like 11AM – 2PM, and then maybe 5PM – 8PM. It just had that sitting out for longer than necessary look to it. So luckily Jin Long has a great menu of dinner meals.
Perusing the menu, the first thing you’ll notice is the low prices… next you’ll notice they have all the typical Chinese dishes…. Curry Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, Crispy Chicken, etc, and along with all the shrimp and beef varieties as appropriate.
For research purposes I chose the Kung Pao Chicken for $6.95. Kung Pao from Main Kwong is my favorite, so we need to see how this compares to my benchmark.
Well I wasn’t really expecting much after looking at the buffet, but when my plate came out… I was in awe as it was stacked high. (as you can see above, and that’s not a saucer plate). The veggies were all fresh cut, and if they were not, they had to be some of the best frozen you could buy and I would like to know where Jin Long gets them from.
The flavor wasn’t as sweet as say Main Kwong’s so in my opinion, I’ll have to still say Main Kwong is my favorite Chinese.
Before my entree came out, we all recieved Egg Rolls. I liked mine. It was crispy, I could taste the pork. Susan didn’t like hers. “It was chewy” she said. My mom didn’t like hers either, same reason. In all fairness I could see what they didn’t like about it. There was some veggie that was either not ripe or too ripe that was causing the extra chewyness, but for me, I liked it. Plus their hot mustard was pretty good also.
Now, I know that Susan didn’t score Jin Long’s too highly, but if you toss out the decor, and the state of the buffett upon our arrival, I think it was pretty good. Also, Jin Long has been in Milton for several years now – and to my amazement they are still open. If you know Milton, then you know that the majority of folks there prefer their Steak and Potatoes in lieu of their Crispy Chicken and water chestnuts. But Jin Long is still there so they must be doing something right.
I liked it, I had a heaping amount of good tasting food for a very good price. I’m giving it Three Forks, because of that. I think Jin Long could be a four fork establishment if they went the extra mile and put some more effort into the presentation that wouldn’t add any considerable cost, but at the end of the day it’s about the food for me and I like what I got.
Ron picked this place. I resisted, so he used the Blog Card to get me there.
This place doesn’t look like much on the outside. It doesn’t look much better on the inside, either. So just try not to look around too much.
We arrived around 7:00 pm and were one of two parties dining in the restaurant. My immediate thought: do NOT go with the buffet. One of the essential keys to a good buffet is turnover and you can’t have turnover without customers. After scoping it out on the way to the restroom, it looked like it hadn’t been touched since lunch. Approximately a third of the items aren’t Chinese food anyway which is another reason to skip the buffet. They had a bunch of items like cheese sticks, breaded fried shrimp, chicken nuggets, etc.
I was pleasantly surprised that Ron, aka “cheap ‘n easy”, had also decided to order something freshly made off the menu, too. He must be learning things by hanging around me.
After reviewing the boilerplate Chinese takeaway menu, I decided on the chicken with garlic sauce. The dinner combination comes with an eggroll and your choice of fried or steamed rice for $6.25. I went with the steamed rice, as usual. (You know, my egg aversion prevents me from enjoying fried rice. Takes too long to pick out all the little bits of scrambled egg. And I end up looking like Misty.)
I don’t really know what to say about the eggroll. It looked good – crispy, golden brown, and large. Our server brought all three on one plate. I wanted my own little plate, so we lifted a couple off the buffet along with hot mustard for Ron. I cut into it to check out the cross section. As you can see from my blurry iPhone picture (I really need to get a small snapshot camera that will fit in my purse alongside the spray butter) there were a lot of ingredients in the filling. Something green that was probably celery, something resembling pork, something resembling cabbage, something stringy… I took a tentative bite. Whatever I was chewing was chewy indeed, and I was worried it was the pork. I did not like the texture at all. Bits of the chewy stuff were getting stuck between my teeth . I just couldn’t eat it.
I’ll admit that my expectations weren’t very high at this point. First, dismal-looking exterior and interior, stale buffet, awful eggroll. I guess it pays to aim low ‘cause I was very pleased with what I saw placed before me. A HEAPING dinner plate full of steamed white rice, loads of sliced chicken breast and tons of brightly colored veggies all slathered In the garlic sauce. I’m not talking about those buffet dinner plates that are really one size smaller than regular dinner plates so you won’t eat as much off the buffet as you think you are, either. I’m talking large dinner plate here.
As with almost every Chinese place I have tried ‘round these parts, the little chili pepper on the menu that’s supposed to indicate heat must operate on the Misty Scale of Spice. That is to say it wasn’t spicy at all. But the flavor of the garlic sauce was very tasty and there was plenty of it. The plentiful broccoli, green peppers, and carrots appeared and tasted fresh, not frozen. I am positive the bits of carrot in Ron’s Kung Pao were diced from honest-to-goodness fresh carrots by human hands in the kitchen of the restaurant. (Lots of times you’ll see the frozen peas ‘n carrots mix in Chinese restaurants.)
I ate and ate and ate. I ate so long I was starting to grow weary. I began picking out the good stuff – eating only chicken and veggies because I knew I was not going to receive a Clean Plate Award tonight. Ron couldn’t finish his, either.
For $6.25, even with an eggroll that I did not eat, I got a great value with this meal.
Will I return, though? It is unlikely. I just didn’t get a warm fuzzy feeling from the looks of things. You know what I mean? Plus, my favorite local Mexican joint is next door, East Tenampa, and they have the best shrimp enchiladas with tomatillo sauce.
If you go, order off the menu and you’ll get a big portion of hot, fresh food for a cheap price. TWO FORKS.
Jin Long Restaurant 1033 Main Street Milton, WV 25541 304-743-8891 Dine-In or Carry Out