Chinese food is a take out staple across America. The urges that I get for delicious, cheap cheap meals from these restaurants are some of the strongest cravings that hit my stomach. There is no better time to indulge in this then on the cold winter days that we are currently experiencing in Upstate New York.
Today, my craving for Chinese food took me to Best Cook in Guilderland, NY. The restaurant is in the middle of a strip mall off of Route 20 in Guilderland, tucked in right next to a laundromat. The green and red signage is easily to see from the highway, but the entry to the plaza is easy to drive past if you aren’t paying attention very carefully.
Walking in the door, interestingly enough, the first thing that jumps out to you isn’t the smells, the seating area, or anything else food related – it’s the fish tank! In the entry area there is a rather large fish tank with some smaller fish and one larger Koi (or, what at least looks like a Koi).
The seating area is older and isn’t really much to look at – but at second glance you can tell that it is above average for your general Chinese takeout establishment. The chairs are older and the designs are pretty gaudy, but it appears to be clean. Today, as it has been for me in past visits, there was no one eating here.
There is an open kitchen where people can be seen cooking meals. Everything looks clean and tidy. The cooks are wearing the appropriate food safety items.
We are greeted by a very friendly face and a welcoming smile. Customer service has never been an issue when ordering from Best Cook. Over the phone, they have always been willing to answer questions and tend to customization requests. When paying, the people have always been friendly and have shown no issues dealing with multiple payment methods.
When we called in and made our order, we were told that our food would be ready in about 20 minutes. When I picked up the food, the bag was warm and everything was packaged nicely in a bag so that the food would stay warm on my drive back to my office.
Today, I ordered the boneless spare ribs lunch combo, which included pork fried rice and hot and sour soup. I also included a side order of crab rangoons. I’ve ordered this combination of food from Best Cook before, so I knew in advance that I wasn’t going to be left hungry, or disappointed.
The crab rangoons served here are perfect. The wonton wrapper is thin and crispy, and effective vehicle for delivering the flavor inside without getting in the way. The rangoons are prepared in perfect bite-size pieces as well, which makes it very easy to devour an entire bag.
The boneless spare ribs are a treat as well. The savory, fatty rib pieces cooked to perfection taste delicious in the sweet sauce that they are served in. The side of pork fried rice is the only disappointment, being fairly bland, but I was able to mix the ribs and rib sauce around with the rice and enhance the flavor quite a bit.
I’ve eaten at this establishment quite a few times before. I’ve also tried the sesame and General Tso’s chicken, as well as the local mein. Everything from this restaurant is fantastically prepared and carefully packaged, and tastes great once served.
The final thing that I will say about Best Cook is that I really appreciate the friendliness of the staff.