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Dining review: Kim Long Chinese restaurant in Arlington

Kim Long Restaurant

2596 E. Arkansas Lane, Arlington


Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Posted 7:04am on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012

Kim Long's is a place that has managed to fly under the radar for almost the entire 25 years it's been in business. The last time the restaurant, which serves authentic Chinese food, was featured somewhere, as far as I can tell, was in 1997.

But online, they've got fans -- people love the food and the owners. So it seemed ripe for a visit.

Kim Long's is cozy, not without its dated wallpapers and antiquated television in the corner playing Asian soap operas. My kind of ambiance.

There's a big menu with beef, poultry, pork and seafood dishes; "chef's special suggestions" and a weekly buffet (11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.).

The meats can be ordered in almost any dish, including chop suey ($5.75-$6.55), chow mein ($5.95-$6.75), egg foo young ($6.75-$7.25), and of course, fried rice ($6.25-$7.25).

There's also a vegetarian version of many dishes, like the vegetable chow mein ($5.95).

It's a hot plate of cabbage, carrots, celery and baby corn on noodles, in a sauce that's like a creamy broth. Topped with thick, fried noodles, it's a combination of textures -- soft noodles with crunchy vegetables.

The Tiah Bora beef ($7.25) features the same crunchy texture in a sizzling fajita-style platter of baby corn, mushrooms, snow peas, water chestnuts and exceptionally tender meat. The brown sauce has a balance of sweet and salty.

The Kim Long chicken ($7.25), on the other hand, has a similar sauce with a more pronounced saltiness. It also has crunchy vegetables. The chicken, which is fried, is lightly breaded and moist.

The scallops in garlic sauce ($8.95) are cubed and soft in a sweet and mildly spicy sauce, also with -- you guessed it -- crunchy vegetables. Pour some of the sauce on a bowl of plain, steamed rice to give it sweet life.

Another dish, the "Hunan Two Delicious" is a chef's special suggestion that features two dishes: spicy jumbo shrimp ($8.55) and River Shiang pork ($7.25). (Each dish can be ordered separately.)

The pork is too salty, but its hot black bean sauce stands out boldly, along with the sauce covering the shrimp, which is very much like gourmet ketchup. Mixed in is an ample helping of crunchy celery.

Crunch is definitely a recurring theme from dish to dish at Kim Long. I've cursed the days limp broccoli has landed on my plate and on my palate, but here, there's no cursing, only crunching. Everything seems so fresh.

And that's a relief, considering the majority of their dishes feature some sort of vegetable combination.

It's safe to assume that other plates, like the traditional beef and broccoli ($7.25), kung pao chicken ($7.25), sweet-and-sour pork ($7.25), and Szechuan beef ($7.25) also have a flavor and texture similar to the aforementioned.

Kim Long loves consistency. Ingredients are nearly identical in quality from dish to dish. And apparently, from year to year.

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