Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chopstixx Cafe in Elkridge

Mapo tofu and kway teow at Chopstixx
I need some recommendations at Chopstixx Cafe in Elkridge.

With Red Pearl gone, we're in search of new Chinese.  Noodles Corner in Columbia has caught our eye, and people talk up some pan-Asian places like East Moon in Ellicott City and Asian Palace in Columbia.

Chopstixx in Elkridge is a tiny place with real ambition.  They do a standard Chinese-American menu, but several commenters like KristenB and Stephanie T have talked up the "street food" menu with dishes like mapo tofu.

The one fact to highlight is that Chopstixx is really far from my house, so I need a rundown of the kitchen to order the best stuff.  We went a few months ago, and we hit 50-50.  The big plus was the Malaysian kway teow off the "street food" menu.  Thick noodles and white meat chicken.  At first, the sauce seemed mild with onion and small shrimp, but the spiciness creeps up on you.

The second dish was a kung pao tofu.  It was well-cooked.  Good tofu, carrots, baby corn, peanuts.  The bean paste sauce was fine, sort of spicy, but in the end not a dish to make me drive 30 minutes across the county.

You should check Chopstixx out because it is way more than your corner Chinese takeout.  Inside, it's a tiny, minimal box.  But that kway teow was exceptional, and Chopstixx comes up again and again in comments from thoughtful folks like JW who offered favorite dishes at a run of Chinese restaurants like the beef show fun (dry) and Hong Kong style wonton soup at Chopstixx.

Actually, I'm unfair about Chopstixx being minimal.  The seating is small and sparse, but they use unusual modern dishes like the upscale "fusion" spots.  They also go the extra effort on the food.  The shrimp in the kway teow were sweet and crisp.  Next time, I may try the scallops and shrimp "crazy spicy noodles" -- and, when you visit, you'll see that I'm impressed if I'm ordering scallops in this shopping center.

Note in JW's comment that he also talks up China Village at Rte 103 and Rte 104.  That's a new place to me, but JW talks up the beef chow fun (dry).  If you want to browse, check out all my posts about Chinese food.

Chopstixx Cafe
7260D Montgomery Road
Elkridge, MD 21075

NEAR:  Chopstixx is just off U.S. 1 in Elkridge.  This is north of Rte 100 and almost to the Baltimore County line.

Chopstixx Cafe on Urbanspoon


MarkM said...

Two local Chinese restaurant legends in HoCo are:
Hunan Legend in Dorsey Hall.

Excellent food, attentive service and reasonable prices.

Peking Chef in Hickory Ridge Village Center

Best Crispy Beef in town (depending on the chef that day). Service is pretty good, but undermanned at times. This place does a huge carry out business, too.

Anonymous said...

I live just around the corner so Chopstixx is my go-to Chinese restaurant. They allow you to order off their website, but call to make sure they received your order (I have had to wait a few times).

Lately, my fiancee is loving the Eggplant in Hot Garlic Sauce. Originally, the dish came with mushrooms and water chestnuts, but lately they have been absent. We usually just request them to make sure they are there.

We always grab the crispy beef from Chopstixx--they do it better than a lot of other Chinese take out places in Howard County.

Even the Lo Mein is great (we usually grab the House Special). This will be our extra meal that we take to work the next few days.

I don't think we have had a bad meal here, so I would highly recommend people in the area try it out.

Mark S said...

I eat at Chopstixx a lot. The Street Menu is where its at. Like someone else said, the Chow Fun is excellent. However, my personal favorite without a doubt is the Malaysian Kway Teow, it is phenomenal.

kevlar51 said...

Back when I lived around the corner from Chopstixx, I'd keep going back to the shredded crispy beef. Not sure how traditional it is, but it's a tasty dish and you'll probably end up with leftovers.

Anonymous said...

KristenB here. :)

Our standards include MaPo Tofu, Pad Thai (my favorite), shredded crispy chicken, and the teriyaki chicken.

Being in the neighborhood, we used to joke that the only places to eat out in Elkridge was either the Furnace Inn or McDonalds. We are so happy to have a couple of good options close to home.

That said: Still doesn't beat Grace Garden. I owe you huge thanks for that recommendation!

EdL said...

It's also one of the better bubble tea places in the area. Their menu is much better than the standard carry-out places you see. Chopstixx and Grace Garden are my two favorite local places (though I haven't tried Hunan Legend or Peking Chef as mentioned by MarkM above.

Vicky said...

We started going to Chopstixx because it's nearby and we needed a Chinese takeout place, but it's so much better than that. I would actually go out of my way for this restaurant. The food is good, the service is great, and there's always tons of food, too!

Anonymous said...

Chopstixx is a slight cut above the average strip mall Chinese joint. The Street Meals are interesting, esp. the Malaysian Kway Teow. Young Chow Wonton Soup is a favorite and the Easy Dinners let you get some healthy veggies with your Chinese food.

But Chopstixx has its oddities. For example, hardly any PORK dishes, very odd for a Chinese place. Ma Po Tofu made with beef is not the same dish, I make better Ma Po at home. And every time I've ordered a beef dish it's been tough. So together that kind of limits meat options.

perrik said...

"For example, hardly any PORK dishes, very odd for a Chinese place."

Judging by the menu, Chopstixx's owners/chef are likely to be Malaysian or Chinese-Malays. Malaysia is an Islamic country, so no pork.

Anonymous said...

This is the Chinese restaurant that we usually use. We love the Salt and Pepper pork Chops (my kids must have this every trip), we also like the shredded crispy beef and the combo pan fried noodles. Street meals are great!!

Anonymous said...

The Pork Chop rice on the Street Foods menu is *very* authentic. Very typical lunch fare in Taiwan.

Yimei w. said...

Hi I'm on Yelp and a friend tipped me about your post today so I had to visit. I'm a long-time fan of Chopstixxx and we order there a lot when doing stuff at church late into the evening. Repeat and reliable dishes are: Thai fried rice, pad Thai, eggplant with chicken, wonton noodles, chow fun-like dishes, and bubble tea. I had crazy spicy noodles and it was interesting but not that complex of a dish, kind of a mix of sriracha and tomato sauce...scallops were decent and shrimp was plump too but the pollack was a bit annoying. Big portion though!

EGKate said...

I used to work around the corner, and Chopstixx was my go-to lunch joint. I always did the Hunan style tofu lunch special and hot and sour soup. I suppose I should have explored the menu more, but there weren't many tofu options (I'm not vegetarian, just prefer tofu to meat in most Chinese food). I really liked their hot and sour soup.

One thing I noticed over the years is that the quality varied quite a bit from visit to visit. It seemed like maybe they had a main chef who was there most of the time, but if he/she wasn't there, quality really suffered.

I miss having decent Chinese food around the corner from work. Hunan Taste is supposedly opening in Towson, so I may be in luck soon! That's going ot be rough on my wallet. :)

SC said...

I just went to Chopstixx on your recommendation and got the Chicken Cutlet on Rice.

It is *exactly* what I would see and eat in Taiwan, down to the boiled egg. Delicious! (It's missing the drink, a small yogurty thing, but that's it).

Erin M said...

Seconding everyone's comments on the Kway Teo (I like to add snow peas and my husband likes to add broccoli) and the bubble teas. Egg drop soup is good there, and the Mandarin-style fish from the street menu is another of my favorites. We live just around the corner so we eat there a LOT. The standard Chinese-American dishes tend to be so-so. The meat stew over rice is tasty, but not enough stew to rice ratio. Shrimp toast and rangoons were disappointing, but the egg/spring rolls are good. I found the hot and sour soup disappointing... neither hot nor sour. The green beans appetizer was super yummy. As someone else noted, the quality varies a lot from day to day.

Mark S said...

I second the Mandarin Style Fish from the Street menu. So good.

omars said...

Stopped at Chopstixx last night. Very hole-in-the-wall as far as the space goes, and I see what Mr Howchow means about the shopping center.

First: I really like the online ordering. I wish more places did that. Way easier on us introverts than phone ordering, and more accurate for everybody.

Second: Food...meh. Chinese-american dishes were ok (tried general tso's, szechaun string beans, spicy wonton), but heavily sauced. Not as good as Hunan Manor (Columbia) for these common dishes. From the street food menu, we tried beef chow fun, which was reasonable, with great rice noodles, but a bit less seasoned than I expected.

It was a good deal with the amazon-local special ($11 savings), and I like supporting the local restaurant scene, but not really worth repeating.