Towson Avenue is considered to be Fort Smith’s industrial area. Filled with scrap yards, used car lots and other Blue Collar trappings, this is one part of the city that works hard every day. That is not all that there is to Towson Avenue. This part of Fort Smith also boasts a number of restaurants, one of which opened just a few weeks ago.
Chopsticks Grill & Tea opened its doors in mid-February at 4611 Towson Avenue across from Shared Services Center in Fort Smith and has been on this examiner’s radar ever since. This examiner recently visited Chopsticks and left with mixed emotions. The restaurant offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere complete with delicious tea options, fancy chopsticks and a big screen TV showing episodes of Fuller House. In many ways it sounds perfect, and this examiner thought so until he tried the food.
Asian restaurants offer some of the best cuisine around, but depending on who is in the kitchen they can also offer the worst cuisine known to man (Chen’s Garden anyone?). This examiner ordered the Shrimp Lo Mein and found that item lacking. The reason was that the shrimp were shredding as this examiner cut into them. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but when you are eating shrimp that shreds as you cut it or even pick it up, you tend to worry that the shrimp may be past its point of freshness. The Lo Mein was okay, but seemed to lack vegetables that other restaurants put into this item. Despite the experience, this examiner is not ready to write off Chopsticks just yet.
There are several reasons why this examiner is not ready to walk away from them at this point. The first is that everything else in the restaurant was great. Yes, the food is the biggest part of dining out, but keep in mind that quality is visible on many levels. Most of the restaurants that this examiner rated poorly had problems that went well beyond one menu item being bad.
That is another reason why Chopsticks may be worth a second look. Every restaurant will at some point offer up a bad dish. When this examiner dined at Branding Iron Steakhouse, he enjoyed everything except the entrée. This did not mean that Branding Iron should be avoided at all costs, it just meant that the dish that this examiner ordered should be avoided at all costs.
Lastly, no matter what anyone says everyone has an off day. Even chefs and short order cooks have bad days. While most restaurant reviewers may not admit this, one bad entrée does not have to ruin an entire restaurant.
Chopsticks is less than a month old, and as the restaurant goes through its growing pains, the staff will learn what works and what does not. Clearly the Shrimp Lo Mein did not work, but there may be other dishes that will offer customers the fantastic dining experience that this examiner knows that Chopsticks can deliver. They just need time.
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