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CHEF'S EXPRESS
911-B East Street
Frederick, MD 21701
TEL: 301-695-6366

Chef's Express is a new Chinese restaurant with a large carryout and delivery service. The restaurant's feature is a large menu with many offerings that can be delivered or carried out for a relaxing meal at home without the mess of cooking or cleaning up.

Chef's Express is in the location of the former Hong's Garden.

There are half-dozen tables in the dining room of Chef's Express where patrons may eat. A hostess with a pleasant demeanor will usually greet you at the door. On weeknights, the dining room does not usually fill up. Deliveries to homes in most of Frederick take about a half hour from the time the order is called.

On a recent evening, a guest and I called in an order. The woman on the phone was friendly and efficient. We chose from the house special menu. These are dishes that are a cut above the more typical Chinese fare of pork, beef, chickens or seafood stir fried with vegetables.

Delivery time was less than the half-hour specified. The food came packaged in typical carryout containers, and arrived hot. It had obviously been freshly prepared upon order.

We chose an appetizer of steamed meat dumplings. Dumplings come steamed or fried, and with meat (which I guessed was beef and/or pork) or chicken. You get six for $3.25; spicy Szechuan cabbage, $2.95; or shrimp tempura, four for $3.95.

The meat dumplings were made with a nice chewy noodle covering over a spicy ground meat mixture, and they were served in soy sauce.

I chose to order the crispy shrimp with walnuts, $10.95. This dish could also be ordered as crispy scallops with walnuts. It is listed as spicy, but it came with only a mild tang. If I had requested, however, the dish would have been made with more spice. I liked it as it was. The orange sauce was a sweet-sour sauce, and generous portions of shrimp, walnuts and broccoli were included.

The breaded shrimp were quite large and done to an orange-pink perfection inside the breading. The walnuts were very fresh tasting and the chunks of broccoli tasted well with the sauce.

My guest ordered Kung Pao delight, $8.95. Shrimp, chicken and peanuts were served in a spicy brown sauce. This sauce had a mild kick to it. The chunks of broccoli and other vegetables were very fresh tasting. The portion sizes of both dishes were large enough to last for two meals.

Main dishes were served with white rice, which was fluffy and soaked up the sauce nicely. A coupon on the menu allowed us a free order of chicken fried rice, which was very good.

Other house specials also seemed interesting and would be worth trying another time. Orange chicken is $8.25; sesame beef is $8.95; Peking duck is $9.95 for a half or $18 for a whole; and crispy eggplant in spicy orange sauce is $6.25. There is the Happy Family, $11.95, which are jumbo shrimp, scallops, barbecue chicken and beef with mixed vegetables in a house special sauce.

There is the seafood delight, $11.95, which is jumbo shrimp, scallops and crabmeat with mixed vegetables in a house special sauce. There is also sweet and sour triple delight, $8.95, which is a combination of shrimp, chicken and pork. There is also General Tso's shrimp, $10.95, and Dragon and Phoenix, $11.95, a combination of jumbo shrimp with vegetables in white sauce and General Tso's chicken.

The restaurant offers the usual assortment of soups, wonton, egg drop, hot and sour vegetable, bean curd and crabmeat. Prices range from $1 to $4.50.

A healthy menu offers vegetables, chicken or shrimp steamed with no oil or MSG, served with white sauce and a low sodium soy sauce. Prices range from $6.25 to $8.50.

Pork, beef, poultry and seafood combinations come in small and large sizes, with prices ranging from $4.50 to $8.50. Moo Shu pork comes with pancakes. Other dishes include Peking pork, pork with black bean sauce, beef with oyster sauce, beef with garlic sauce, green pepper steak, Mongolian beef, Moo Goo Gai Pan, chicken with mixed vegetables, pineapple chicken, chicken with garlic sauce, lemon chicken, Sha Cha chicken and chicken with french fries in pepper sauce. Seafood combinations include shrimp with lobster sauce, shrimp with black bean sauce, shrimp with cashew nuts, Szechuan shrimp, Hunan shrimp and scallops with mixed vegetables. Vegetarian combinations include broccoli with straw mushroom, Hunan bean curd, General Tsos bean curd, and string bean Szechuan style (with meat).

Also available are fried rice, lo mein or chow mein, pan fried noodles and rice noodles and egg foo young. Prices range from $4.25 to $9.95.

On weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., lunch combination specials are served. Many of the traditional Chinese dishes, including Hunan chicken, pepper steak, sweet and sour shrimp and house fried noodles, are served with fried rice, egg roll and choice of wonton, egg drop or hot and sour soup. Prices range from $3.95 to $4.50.

Whether you eat in, carry out or chose delivery, Chef's Express offers above-average Chinese food at a very reasonable price.

--Karen Gardner
The Frederick Post

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