I am not adventurous in trying restaurants serving multicultural cuisine; in fact, Taco Bell is about as ethnic as I get.
But after learning Fulin's Asian Cuisine was coming to Ooltewah's Cambridge Square, I checked out its menu online to see what it offered. Colorful photos of delicious-looking entrees had me anticipating the new restaurant's opening, which happened two months ago.
So six of us went to check it out, and I found the photos weren't deceiving. What we were served was just as visually appealing as the photos.
Fulin's is a statewide chain, with its closest location being in Cleveland. The Cambridge Square restaurant is not right on the square's loop, but in a new brick building just off the square facing Davis Wayne's restaurant.
If you go
› Where: Fulin’s Asian Cuisine, 6011 Chesterton Way, Suite 103, Ooltewah
› Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday
› Prices: $3-$44
› Phone: 423-910-0647
It is one large room with the ubiquitous gray walls and oak-look floors. Large floor-to ceiling windows on two walls allow lots of natural light. Banquettes line one end wall; a long counter with bar stools faces the kitchen along the back wall. The remainder of the room holds a combination of tables and booths.
The menu is almost overwhelming. It offers 34 Chinese entrees in poultry, pork, beef, seafood and vegetarian, not counting egg rolls, rice bowls, the lunch menu or children's menu. The Japanese menu sports 11 choices of sushi, 22 types of rolls and five Japanese dinners, not counting soups, salads and appetizers.
Thankfully, photos were scattered throughout the multipage menu to help us make decisions.
Menu prices are equally as diverse, ranging from $3 for a cup of wonton soup to a $44 Japanese dinner called the Love Boat. The latter serves an assortment of sushi and sashimi with an American Dream Roll (tempura shrimp, cucumber, avocado and flying fish roe topped with eel sauce) and Spider Roll (soft-shell crab and spicy tuna or salmon topped with avocado and eel sauce.)
On average, though, entrees were priced from $8 to $16.
Between all of us, we ordered Teriyaki Chicken ($13), Vegetables Lo Mein ($10), Sesame Chicken ($13), Fried Rice With Shrimp ($9) and one pork egg roll ($2). Entrees were served with a side bowl of either white, brown or fried rice.
Servings were so generous that we were able to divide dishes and swap halves with plenty of food still remaining on the plate.
The hands-down winner of the night was the Sesame Chicken. Breaded, fried chicken bites are coated in Fulin's sauce and topped with sesame seeds then plated with broccoli garnish. The chicken was tender, the sauce neither too spicy nor too sweet.
Both of us ordering Teriyaki Chicken agreed our chicken was dry and a little overcooked; however, it wasn't inedible since the teriyaki sauce moistened the meat — and whoever prepared that sauce had a heavy hand with the soy.
The fried rice with shrimp entree had delicious flavor. About a dozen plump shrimp were mixed in rice with chopped onion, carrots, green veggies and strands of egg. The amount of rice mounded on that one platter could have served the whole table.
Knowing this was our first visit, our waiter patiently answered all our questions and even made suggestions when we couldn't decide between dishes. He kept drinks topped, without being intrusive or hovering.
However, there were fewer than six other tables of diners in the room with us, yet it took nearly a half hour for our order to arrive. I'll just chalk this up to still working out the kinks in a new opening.
Fulin's should be a welcome addition to the Ooltewah dining scene. You definitely get a big bang for the buck with the amount of food served. Feeding a family of four for less than $30 is easily conceivable by splitting the huge entrees.
With the size of its menu, you could visit once a week for a year and still never try everything. But I've already picked out two plates — Shrimp and Cashews and Sweet and Sour Shrimp — that the seafood lover in me plans to try on future visits.
Contact Susan Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6284.