China Express Restaurant – Good, Cheap, Not Fancy Nor Classy, and No One Goes Away Hungry

Most of the short, online customer reviews of this Kansas-City-North eatery say the same thing. Good food. Reasonably priced. Fast and friendly service. Not fancy nor classy. One reviewer claimed its food is mixed-regional Chinese or Americanized, but he/she did not care because it was fresh and good.

The all-you-can-eat lunch buffet here is small compared to the bigger Chinese places. It generally has no more than 10 entrees and sides together with appetizers and desserts. Since this buffet has fewer entree choices, it could easily mean healthier eating if less fat-fried food is taken in by its customers. Still, this place uses only cholesterol-free 100% vegetable oil for cooking.

Chinese and oriental foods are notoriously known for their fried food, like, the egg rolls, rangoons, and battered meat dishes. But with fewer choices to start with, chances are the customers will eat fewer fat-fried items. In short, this buffet is kept simple with alternate less-fat item choices.

Lunch buffet items (11:00 am – 2:30 pm) $6-7/person

Appetizers. Egg drop and hot sour soups w/chips plus canned pineapple, melon chunks, and fruit-flavored gelatin from the dessert bar next to them.

Entrees and sides (with some day-to-day variation).

  • vegetable lo-mein (soft noodles)
  • vegetable fried rice
  • stir-fried and drained green beans and mushrooms (separate)
  • seasoned fried potatoes
  • braised-skewered spicy chicken strips
  • beef or chicken w/broccoli
  • meat w/mushrooms or similar
  • chicken or pork (add the warm sweet-sour sauce yourself)
  • pepper steak w/onion
  • Kung Pao chicken
  • fried shrimp, chicken wings, and chicken tenders or similar
  • General Tso’s chicken
  • non-breaded meat and vegetable items
  • crab rangoon, egg roll, wonton/dumpling, sugar roll
  • warm sweet-sour sauce
  • white rice (in separate crock pot)

Desserts. Rice pudding or similar, canned pineapple chunks, multiple layer brownie or fruit-flavored cake; cream puffs; cookies; melon chunks (water melon, seasonal); hard ice cream in separate deep freezer (usually four flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and two fruit).

Main menu items (omits MSG and alters spicy level on request)

For further entrees, customers can order specific lunches or dinners from the main menu, which can include water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, nuts, and Chinese vegetables, along with several appetizers and soups. For example, its lunch specials include 18 choices at an average cost of $5 each according to its take-out menu. At least half of them are non-fried, except for three of the five sides that accompany these midday specials (two soups, fried rice, egg roll and crab rangoon); choice of two.

Like other oriental restaurants, many of its regular dishes are listed under the main meat or vegetable item: chicken, pork, duck, moo shu, egg foo young, beef, shrimp, rice, or lo mein. These served-with-white-rice dinners come in two sizes 1) small, about $5 each, and 2) large, about $7.50 each. Additionally, the House Chef’s Specials (19 of them) run about $9.50 each, These are the large dishes also served w/steamed white rice. Children’s plates (under 12) are listed as well. The place also caters and delivers ($15 minimum order).

One online reviewer said the egg foo young here is their favorite dish because its gravy is perfect. Egg foo young is a stuffed flattened omelette that can be topped with a select possibly-hard-to-make gravy.

Restaurant description

The place itself is located at 200 NE Barry Road in the Barry Trails strip. It is mid-sized, and will seat 80 or more. Most of its booths and tables are four-person size. Some of the tables will unfold or can be slid together for larger groups. Extra chairs are available nearby.

Its decor is fairly plain, but nice. A large backlit photo of an oriental temple is mounted on the south wall. After the customers have filled themselves and read their cookie fortune, they pay at a well-lit cash-register counter on their way out.

Conclusion. At the buffet here, if customers choose only two entrees topped with tiny amounts of the sides, and limit themselves to only one egg roll or crab rangoon per plateful, it is still easy to overeat. For information on how to make healthy eating choices at Chinese or similar buffets, see this website.