Will "the Mighty" Strohl

Food Review: Oceanic Restaurant, San Mateo, CA

I didn’t intend on writing a food review this soon after arriving at San Francisco, but I happened upon a little place that really impressed me.  (This is also why I don’t have more than one picture.)  I chose to eat Chinese tonight to make sure I got my money’s worth for dinner, and stumbled upon the Oceanic Restaurant, specializing in Hunan & Mandarin cuisine (which is a very specific cuisine).  From the outside, it looked like a typical Chinese restaurant, so I didn’t expect too much.  However, the front door was a choice of three different doors.  Luckily, I chose correctly the first time – the left door.

Oceanic Restaurant
2507 South El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94403
(650) 570-4234

Upon entering, you are definitely greeted with the standard Chinese atmosphere, though it wasn’t clear where to do or what to do when I walked through the door.  Upon entering, you are already walking into a table.  I had to venture in further to find the staff waiting behind a booth, all but hidden from the front door.  This felt unnatural and confusing to say the least.  But I suffered through it.  ;)

General Tao's Chicken The menu was plentiful and the prices were all reasonable.  However, the first question I ask at a restaurant like this is, “what’s your hottest meal?”  That’s when I first began to be impressed.  The server told me all about their 5 levels of heat.  I just had to choose their hottest level, 5, of course – forgoing the warnings she gave me.  Apparently, only 3 customers have been able to handle level 5 before.  Wanting to compare things that I knew, I ordered their General Tao’s chicken meal.

Their meals come with the choice of white or brown rice.  I chose brown, and it was cooked perfectly.  Slightly sticky, with just the right amount of moisture still in it.  There wasn’t any sign of being over or under-cooked.

The chicken appeared to be cooked perfectly too.  The outside of the chicken had a great texture.  It was slightly crispy, but soft on the inside.  And the sauce was indeed spicy!  I just cannot stand it when you order the hottest that a restaurant has to offer, and it isn’t even spicy to me.  I realize that I like things hotter than most people, but come on…

I would highly recommend this place to eat if you’re in the San Mateo area and are looking for some Chinese food.  Just make sure you plan accordingly, because they didn’t appear to have much parking, and their dining room is equally limited in space.

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