My wife and I went to Lin's Kosher Chinese in Manville, NJ to try out their all-you-can-eat buffet on Monday evening. First of all - yes, it was all-you-can-eat, for $14.95. I think I went back 4 or 5 times, my wife (the wimp!) only 3 or 4. They had appetizers (egg rolls, these really good chicken ball things, fried chicken dumplings), soups (egg drop, wonton, and hot and sour), as well as 5 mains (pepper steak, chicken w/ chinese vegys, beef lo mein, chicken w/ broccoli, and sweet-and-sour chicken) and 2 kinds of rice (plain and fried).
I had the wonton soup - it was good wonton soup. Not much to say, there. My wife had the hot and sour. It was really flavorful and had a wonderful texture (yes, soup with texture).
The egg rolls were good, the fried chicken dumplings were a little dry, but these little chicken ball things were fantastic. They had a sauce which nicely complimented the chicken balls, and were unlike anything I've had before. We both went back for more of those a few times.
As for the mains, there are two key things that sets Lin's apart from other good kosher Chinese restaurants.
First of all, the sauces all tasted different. We usually eat at Annie Chan's in Flushing, where the food is good, but they seem to have one brown sauce, one light sauce, one soy-based sauce, etc. At Lin's each of the dishes had a sauce which was significantly different, and clearly was chosen with a particular dish in mind. The chicken with broccoli sauce was completely different than the pepper steak sauce and from the w/ chinese vegys sauce.
The second thing that sets Lin's apart is that all of the beef and chicken were tender, moist and juicy. I've generally stopped ordering any beef dish in Chinese restaurants because I don't enjoy shoe leather in boring sauces. The beef was soft and moist; it was easily cut with a (butter!) knife and pleasant to chew. The same thing held with the chicken, which is generally only mildly better than the beef at the standard kosher chinese.
For the purists out there, you'll be glad to know that they do not serve sushi.
The staff were eager to please, and regaled us with stories of shidduch dates who drove in from Brooklyn. It seems that they, like many eateries, are having trouble due to the economy. I suggest that people go try them out. We drove all the way from Teaneck (with many so-so Chinese places). It really would be a shame for such a terrific place to close.
This is their website: http://www.lin-kosher.com/index.php
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