I don’t try many new places (new for me, anyway) in the 'burbs lately. I cook a lot, fall back on the local usuals when I don’t cook, and typically choose places around the city when I’m feeling more like ‘going out’. But I just tried Imperial Wok on WP Rd, and can tell you that I’ll be back very soon. Like, the next time I go out for Chinese, it will be that place, because I need to know how they cook their other dishes.
The noodles arrived room temp and glistening, topped with hot, salty crumbles of chewy/crispy pork. At first I wondered if the dish might turn out to be dry, but that was not the case: the warm oil pooled at the bottom of the dish was plentiful and perfectly wet, savory and spicy. Scattered spinach leaves and scallion rings rounded out the experience, which was way better than I had anticipated.
Tiny nitpick: I wouldn’t have minded a little more heat. In case you are wondering- no, they do not use actual szechuan peppercorn. But the oil was prepared in a really balanced, nuanced way, with such rich flavor, that it didn’t matter to me. I finally found a good noodle dish in close proximity to my home and work that doesn’t involve peanut butter (not that I don’t LOVE that!).
A note on cleanliness… The restaurant is very large, with several ample dining areas on two floors. This may explain the subtle air of neglect that I sensed on a couple of different fronts. First, I had to ask for a new water glass and duck sauce bowl (they serve pretty yummy fried noodles, which I find really hard to resist). Both were kinda grimy. Second, the upstairs floor (technically ground floor) is heavily windowed, and all of the windows are dirty. Heavily spotted and streaked, which is less than pleasant when you are (almost inevitably) seated at one.
Last- the staff was at a serious minimum for a slow weekday lunch hour. The server assigned to my floor, where about 5 tables were occupied, tended to disappear downstairs for periods of time. I think maybe she was the only server in the whole place. She was courteous enough, but it took me ten minutes to find her and ask for a water refill.
Like I said, what I ate was delicious enough that I plan to go back and explore. The menu seems to offer a variety of Chinese and American Chinese styles, as well as a sushi menu (the sushi bar looks to be located on the entrance level in what I consider to be the nicest dining room).
I am cautiously optimistic about this potential upturn in my local Chinese dining repertoire. I’ll report when I make it back there.