Other than pizza and beer, Chinese take-out may be the meal most synonymous with collegiate cuisine. That’s why it’s no surprise that in Boston, the city of a zillion universities, Chinese restaurants seem a dime a dozen. But Quan’s Kitchen — near the Boston University campus — stands out. And you won’t spend much more than a couple dozen dimes for a great meal.
This lively take-out and dine-in eatery meets the four criteria that make a Chinese restaurant great: the food is flavorful, the menu is massive, the dining room is dirt-free, and the tab is quite tolerable. Start with a small bowl of wonton soup ($2.10) or the special hot-and-sour soup ($1.90). Quan’s also cooks up respectable vegetable or egg rolls ($2.95 for two). The scallion pancakes ($1.50) are just as yummy — crispy and light.
Standards such as chicken with broccoli ($7.95) and sweet-and-sour pork ($5.50) are done just right; order a small side of steamed rice (75 cents) to round out the meal. And don’t limit yourself to familiar dishes — with Quan’s 188-item menu, you can have something different every time you visit. The adventurous may want to sample the hot Szechuan dishes, such as Szechuan eggplant with pork in spicy sauce ($6.95). And, for those of us watching our waistlines, Quan’s offers more than a dozen low-cal vegetarian entrées.
Although much of its business is take-out, Quan’s funky atmosphere makes it a fun place to eat. Score one of the window booths and people-watch on bustling Comm Ave, or grab a table by the wall-size mural of the Great Wall of China and pretend you’ve crossed over an ocean, not just the Green Line tracks. If that doesn’t transport you to Asia, pick up a Chinese newspaper from the stack provided — and pretend you can read it.
Quan’s Kitchen, located at 1026 Comm Ave, in Allston, is open daily from 11 to 2 a.m. Call (617) 232-7617 or (617) 232-0585.