Go-to Chinese: Moy's Restaurant in Elkhorn still satisfies
ELKHORN—The gig was cancelled, and the bar shut down for the winter with a “for sale” sign in front of it.
That meant the band with which I occasionally perform, The GoDeans, had a free Friday night.
Instead of Docs Who Rock, we did Docs Who Dine. And if you're going to gather a big group of hungry musician/physicians and their spouses, what's better than eating Chinese? Especially if it's Moy's Restaurant in Elkhorn.
Moy's occupies the ground floor of the city's former hotel. It's a lovely red brick building that sits on a prominent corner downtown. The restaurant had a fire a few years ago, so it feels like many of the historical details are missing. The décor is pretty sparse and unimaginative.
Our table of 10 sat alone in a big dining room along the front. Just as well—I'm sure we were fairly loud.
The menu is extensive. You can find just about any protein or vegetable with several types of sauces available, from super-mild to fiery. With a group so large, we had plenty of dishes to pass around and sample.
We started with drinks and appetizers. The egg rolls (two for $3.60) were about the best I've had. The crispy wrapper was stuffed with barbequed pork, shrimp, celery, cabbage and a touch of salty-sweet peanut butter. The richness of the meat and peanut sauce with the crunch of the veggies made for a perfect bite. The rolls were generous in size and a big hit at the table.
The crab rangoon (four for $5.50) were large, stuffed with crab and cream cheese, and delicately fried. This is my favorite appetizer at a Chinese restaurant, but often they're fried a little too long so the wrapper gets chewy. Not these. They were tender to bite into yet firm enough to hold their filling. Excellent.
I ordered the second thing on the dinner menu, the Lung Fung Kow ($13.45). Thankfully, it contained no lungs or cows. It was a combination of barbequed pork, shrimp, white-meat chicken, mushrooms, peapods, water chestnuts and Chinese vegetables in a mild, smooth white sauce. The portion was huge and the components beautifully cooked. It was a bit too bland for my taste, but well executed.
Lisa's Hot & Spicy Scallops ($14.75) took the flavor meter up several notches. The dish offered plenty of large, tender scallops in a mildly spicy sauce with sweet red pepper strips and assorted vegetables. It had the bold flavor that my entree lacked. She was very generous in sharing.
Her husband (and lead guitarist), Mitch, ordered the shrimp with lobster sauce ($14.45). There's no lobster in lobster sauce—it's minced pork seasoned with garlic and black beans in a soft egg sauce. And, boy, is it rich and tasty. Moy's does an exceptionally good version of this classic.
My husband, Richard, is a pressed duck nut. He always orders it when we go to Cozy Inn. Moy's Almond Pressed Duck ($12.25) had the perfect balance of fried breading and duck meat. It was served with a generous amount of vegetables in a sauce of crushed almonds and gravy. Richard prefers the sauce at Cozy. I liked Moy's version better: The breading and gravy didn't obscure the flavor of the duck. It was among my favorites that night.
Robin's Almond Ding ($12.50) was a sauté of chicken, shrimp, beef and Chinese vegetables. The sauce was lighter, but flavorful.
Bill, our rhythm guitarist and Beatles devotee, had the Subgum Beef ($10.25), and his wife, Kathy, had the Classic Cashew Chicken ($11.90). I will confess that by the time their dishes reached the end of our table, I was much too stuffed to try them. However, they both said they enjoyed their entrees.
Amanda chose the Chicken Chow Mein ($10.25), which comes with hard, crispy noodles rather than the soft rice of subgum chop suey. Everything tasted fresh. The vegetables had nice texture. It was mild in flavor but overall a solid dish.
Our lead singer, Tim, has the will but not the intestinal way for Chinese. Fortunately, Moy's offers American alternatives. His jumbo fried shrimp, breaded in light panko and served with a generous helping of french fries ($13.75) was a happy choice. Moy's kitchen staff definitely knows how to use the deep fryer.
Drummer Dave also skipped the Asian cuisine for a New York strip steak ($25.35), which he reviewed with a smiling thumb's up.
Our server was friendly and professional and the staff was patient as we closed down the place, sharing food and stories. It might not have been rock 'n' roll, but I liked it.