Date Night has a long-standing tradition of eating Chinese food on Christmas Day. Evidently, the rest of Atlanta has gotten wind of our ritual and is now eating Chinese on Christmas. This year, we decide to move our meal to Christmas Eve to avoid the crowds. It didn’t work. It looks like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have become the “Super Bowl of Chinese Cooking” in our city. Judging by the number of people eating here, Canton Cook 2 (that’s not a misprint, the place is actually called “Canton Cook 2”) is a Super Bowl contender.
Half of the restaurant sign took the holiday off. Don’t confuse this with Canton Cooks, which we visited about a year before. They are about two miles from each other and are owned by the same people. We have actually had discussions with people as to which is better. Canton Cook 2 is in the same shopping center as mega-Chinese-Japanese buffet Nori Nori in Sandy Springs. The decor is about what you would expect from a Chinese restaurant.
Except for the required fish tank at the entrance, its communist China-inspired furnishings are pretty bland.
Date Night realizes that the best Chinese food is in the Buford Highway area of Atlanta, but it’s not geographically desirable for us to go there, even with no traffic. Maybe next year. Canton Cook 2 has a dinner for two on the menu that lets us sample lots of things. For $36, you get two soups, two appetizers, and two entrees, a big bowl of rice and two cups of tea. We start off with the soup.
The wonton soup features two large, plump, tasty wontons in a chicken broth. That’s all you get in the soup. If you like a more adventurous concoction, try the sizzling rice soup, which is full of rice, chicken, and Chinese vegetables. Better yet, combine the two bowls of soup and get something really yummy.
Let’s see what’s in the fryer. How about egg rolls and chicken wings?
The egg rolls are huge and we share one now and save the other one for lunch later. The same thing goes with the wings, which are meaty and nicely-fried. We’re not sure what’s Chinese about wings, but we enjoy these. We each eat one now and take the other one home.
When we were kids, we had Chinese almost every Sunday night. Tonight, we both decide to get meals from our past, the food we ate at Chinese restaurants in the 1960’s. Not much has changed. Let’s start off with the shrimp with lobster sauce.
This was Eve’s favorite as a child. It’s full of corn starch and Americanized Chinese goodness. The shrimp are huge and fresh and we gobble them down. There’s probably a lot of corn starch in my favorite, the sweet and sour pork.
That sauce is not a color that is found in nature. It doesn’t matter because the taste is so nostalgic that it brings back memories of to-go boxes and eating Chinese with my grandparents in Cleveland, Ohio, before going home to watch Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights.
We get to Canton Cook 2 before 6PM and are able to get one of the last remaining tables. By the time we leave, there are two lines, one for the to-go food and one with people waiting to eat here. Confucius says go early or you are going to wait.
Forty-five minutes after we arrive, we are presented with our fortune cookies. When you are competing in the Super Bowl of Chinese Cooking, you must turn the tables and turn them fast.
The cookies are fresh, crunchy, and made in Minnesota of all places. It must be the water. In a Date Night exclusive, we are able to share their infinite wisdom with the world.
It’s time to play the lottery.