Red Orchid

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We must keep as our goal turning away from production for war and expanding production for peace.png This entry refers to a departed business that has closed or left town.
All information here is for historical reference only.

Red_Orchid.JPG

Location
1750 E. 8th Street, Davis, CA
In Davis Manor Center
Hours
Mon-Sat 11:00AM - 9:30PM
Sun 11:00AM - 8:30PM
Phone
(530) 759-9392
Established
2008-06-09, new owner in 2010-12
Owner
????
Menu
menu2012p1.JPGmenu2012p2.JPGmenu2012p3.JPGmenu2012p4.JPGmenu2012p5.JPGmenu2012p6.JPGmenu2012p7.JPGmenu2012p8.JPGmenu2012p9.JPG

Red Orchid restaurant features Dim Sum and Shabu Shabu (literally "swish swish", a cook-at-your-table hot pot). Ownership of the restaurant switched hands in December 2010 and the menu has noticeably changed to a more traditional-looking Chinese menu for Davis. Prior to this change, Red Orchid had the same ownership as Davis Noodle City and the non-shabu shabu Red Orchid menu had considerable overlap with the Davis Noodle City menu, with the same homemade noodles.

They have plenty of free parking and offer delivery as well.

It is frequented by DaVinci students during their lunch period, and seating is minimal. So it's best to plan accordingly if you want to eat here. It is also best to avoid eating here during cold, rainy days at lunch time for the same reason. At other times of day here, and in general, hot pot can be very nice on a stormy day.

They now appear to be offering free WiFi Hotspot to customers. (Saw a sign posted on Jan 9 2011 and people that appeared to be online, did not confirm with a device yet)

Comments:

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2010-11-24 17:28:45   I'm really sad I didn't know about this place during my undergrad years. Yes the service is a little slow sometimes but I've learned that all you have to do is walk to the counter to get their attention. Especially now that deliveries have started. The kitchen is probably understaffed (I went here a few nights ago during a thunderstorm and they told me they had so many delivery orders it was going to be an hour to get food!!) but I've always found the staff to be friendly.

Plus the Hunan Tofu is pretty much the shit. Best deal for your money is lunchtime, HUGE servings for the cheapest price. Dinner is actually less food from my times here. I don't care though, I love the Hunan Tofu. —OliviaY


2010-12-24 13:57:06   I was a big fan of this restaurant prior to the ownership change. After giving the new chef a few tries, I am no longer a fan. Very sad. The food is heavy and simply does not taste very good. For example, fried foods are soggy with lots of breading, rather than crispy, and the spicy tofu had some very odd flavors in it (and was not that spicy). I am going to stick with DNC now. —CovertProfessor


2010-12-24 15:20:55   Ate here the other day while visiting Dollar Tree for some small knick knacks and have to say it was not too pleasant of an experience. The wait was horrendous (blamed on amount of deliveries) and the food was not all that great. There is something wrong with the Tofu, which I expressed to the staff and was basically told to leave at that point in the rudest manner possible. Agree with Covert Professor about the fried foods too, tastes and feels like sticking an oil clump in your mouth now compared to the old food.

Suggestions:

A) Ensure better food quality/storage... something is definitely amiss here and I am not sure if it is just finding the lowest possible quality food, the cheapest food, or if it's just a bad storage problem but it was barely edible. (here's a hint Tofu in the fridge is only good for a week and only if you change the water it's stored in every 1.5 days otherwise, you guessed it, it goes bad which is where those funky flavors come from... crap tofu with spice is just spicy crap) (Another hint: Use higher cooking temperatures to thoroughly cook the meats/breading, soggy, raw, breaded meats and vegetables taste like sewage)

B) Hire a new chef. I understand full well that many of these establishments hire friends or family to work for them, btu if the food is bad, the restaurant is worthless. better to hurt the feelings of a friend/family member than to go bankrupt with a happy relationship.

C) If you have enough deliveries to cause such long wait periods for the in-house guests (in my case just over an hour wait) you need more in-house staff.

Bottom line, as if they will ever read this, you need better service and food quality all around or this business will fail miserably. I will revisit in a month or two to see if any changes have been made but right now I can not recommend this establishment to anyone. —Wes-P


2011-01-09 20:36:15   I was very sorry to learn that it changed ownership. It's not easy to figure out what you're ordering since the menu doesn't have many descriptions and the names of the food don't really give you an idea of what you're getting. I ordered the chicken dish with a brief description next to it that said it had a garlic ginger sauce, and was presented with a plate of bamboo shoots in sticky sweet sauce with almost no chicken. The service was terrible. They brought out our food very slowly and forgot to bring out one dish entirely. The tofu in the green pepper and tofu dish tasted like it had been in the fridge for a week absorbing off flavors. It reminded me of fish in a very bad way. I do not think I will be going back any time soon. I really liked the old place and these changes are very disappointing. —MicheleTobias


2011-01-09 20:52:10   I'm also horribly disappointed by the changes. The menu is super long now and yet doesn't appear to have anything worthwhile, though I'm not really sure what most of the dishes contain based on the menu. Service is really slow — people literally have go back to the kitchen to get their check, the balance of ingredients is really cheaping out (A plate of "Chicken" X should not be 90% bamboo). Homemade noodles was part of the magic from the previous owners that made this place good. I'd recommend that they reconsider simplifying their menu to 20 things they make really good and forgetting all the standard "Chinese" americanized dishes that every generic Chinese restaurant makes. —AlexMandel


2011-01-21 10:35:05   After reading the comments, we were a little hesitant to try this place, but decided to give it a shot. We ordered Kung Pao, Fried Rice and Mongolian Beef. Everything was really good! The fried rice had chunks of meat, the Kung Pao had toasted peanuts and good spice and the Mongolian Beef had a delicious sauce and smoky flavor. The food arrived steaming hot and within a reasonable time. After trying different chinese food places in the area, this is my favorite that I have found so far. I just wish they had foil wrapped chicken and boneless pork spare ribs. —MissKay


2011-01-28 21:13:39   This place has one of the worst customer service ever. Long wait for average tasting chinese food. Definitely not like what it use to be. —Sin


2011-03-06 21:42:10   Maybe I have unrealistic standards having grown up with really, really good Chinese food, but I was really let down by this place. Came here for dinner with my roommate and his family for the first time after walking past it many times. While the service was relatively friendly and the menu varied, the food was, at best, mediocre. For starters, the sweet and sour pork was had awful breading. The rice was somewhat unimpressive, having little to do with what I associated with Chinese restaurants.

The guy who runs/cooks here is apparently from Taiwan which could explain the state of the food. It's a relatively Cantonese menu and supposedly the incongruity between tastes is why it wasn't so good. Not trying to offend, but it's one reason I've heard.

Take your money and go to Old Teahouse if you can. —HarrisonM


2011-05-03 13:52:29   I tried their General Chicken and was disappointed. The portions were huge but it lacked flavor and was unappetizing. —Magster


2011-05-31 21:33:04   Very disappointing! I have only gotten delivery, and this time (LAST TIME!) I was told it would be 20 minutes, and the guy (who spoke absolutely no English) arrived in 45 minutes. It took me nearly 8 minutes to place my order because the man could not understand me, to the point that he had me spell "Pole Line Road." Come on, the place is 2 blocks from Pole Line! My roommate said she has thrice been disappointed with their meat. I'm not enamored with this place and will not be giving them my business any longer. —deeray82


2012-01-23 13:09:43   I had the same experience as the previous poster! We ordered at 1:15 and the food showed up at 2:45! When I had questioned the delivery man, he didn't speak any english and just handed me the bill to sign. Never again! —MissKay


2012-01-23 20:33:22   Worst delivery ever. We called and placed our order at 5:45, the food didn't show up until past 6:30! By the time it got here it was all cold. I'll still go in, but I'll never order delivery from them again. —Hastings1066


2012-01-29 17:34:03   I agree that the new owner/new menu outcome is poor. Bssically they had a fairly decent dim sum menu and now that's virtually all gone. What they do have is generic Chino-American food with outrageous amounts of oil and sugar. Gross. (Although Noodle City also uses a lot of oil too). —JanetFoley


2012-02-08 23:20:59   My girlfriend and I arrived at Red Orchid on a Wednesday night about 45 mins before closing time. This is our very first visit to Red Orchid.

First impression: The menu is rather standard, nothing that sticks that that would make them unique. However, when I stepped in to the restaurant I noticed a Chinese family enjoying a nice “hot pot” meal. (A general rule of thumb for any Chinese restaurants is that if you see older Chinese families eating there, the food should be good.) I am assuming there is a side menu for native Chinese speakers. Looks like they serve Dim Sum but I’m not sure the size of their selection.

Décor: The restaurant is design with a native Chinese theme. There are traditional paintings on the wall and the lights are covered by paper lanterns. The restaurant is a bit dim but I believe that is the look they are aiming for. The only thing that seemed out of place are the tables and chairs.
Service: Average at best, a simple hello and “may I take your order” and that was about it. My girlfriend said the waitress was rude but I didn’t pick the negativity up myself.

Food: I ordered the Honey Walnut Prawns and Spicy Sesame Chicken. The turn-around time was fast, I waited for about 5-10 minutes before my order was ready. I was a bit disappointed to the portion of the walnut shrimp, but at 7.99 I knew it was too good to be true. The Spicy sesame Chicken is a good portion.
Conclusion: Overall, I think this is an average Chinese restaurant, although their specialty might be the dim sum or the hot pot. (Maybe when I revisit this restaurant again.)

The Good:

Reasonable Pricing

Constructive criticisms:
A smile goes a long way.
Average taste, better than Panda Express but no differentiation among other Chinese restaurants.

Grade: C

Comment Regarding delivery: In my experience, I would not order any Chinese food to go. Majority of these Chinese restaurants do not employ fluent English speakers. That being said, they are unfamiliar with English street names. My advice, if you want Chinese food. GO PICK IT UP!


2012-03-21 10:34:44   Stop leaving menus on the doors in our apartment complex until you get better food. —gurglemeow


2012-03-24 13:24:44   My roommate and I picked up an order to go for dinner last night. We had never been to Red Orchid before, but they left a menu on our door so we thought we'd give it a try, especially because an order of $15 comes up with four complimentary egg rolls. I found my order of broccoli beef to be rather flavorless, with the broccoli being soggy and the beef being stringy. My roommate found the quality of her orange chicken to be decent, but also on the bland side. The bbq pork fried rice and egg rolls were tasty. The portions were a good size for the price, but I probably won't return since there are several Chinese places in town that aren't as bland. —AlexHirsch


2012-06-06 15:19:21   Restaurant was closed yesterday at 5:30, despite hours that say it's open from 11-9:30. There was also a new menu posted in the window with a new name. Must be undergoing an ownership change or something, though there's no notice posted. —AJThompson


2012-06-08 20:09:31   The new name of the restaurant is Golden Sun. It is under new ownership. I stopped in and got takeout tonight and am so, so happy. They have a meal special that's an entree, plus rice, plus two spring rolls, plus a small cup of soup. (7.95 for veggie, 8.85 for chicken or pork or beef, 9.95 for seafood.) I suspect the small spring rolls were frozen, but they were still tasty. My entree was delicious. The woman who runs the front of the house is a total dear.

They lose a lot of their business over the summer when the DaVinci High kids go on break. Here's hoping others in town discover the good food and good bargains. I'm a neighbor, so I can walk over there any time. I'm hoping other folks will be willing to make the drive across town, because it's worth it.

(I have one of their new menus, but won't be able to scan post it for another couple of weeks due to work stuff. It has, as the manager said, "too many choices!") —AJThompson

* Edited to add: After I called in my order, the front-of-house woman — who's not yet familiar with the huge menu — called me back to ask me if I wanted fresh or fried tofu. She called twice, and she left a voicemail. This place has excellent service. —AJThompson

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