At first glance, Lexington doesn't seem like a destination spot for dining out, but this historic northwestern suburb of Boston has slowly but surely become a town with a number of good restaurants. Here you will find upscale spots such as Il Casale and Lexx Restaurant, old-school eateries such as Mario's, and a number of Asian restaurants such as Daikanyama and Beijing Chinese Dining. And it is this last one that is the focus of this review, as this relatively new dining spot has quietly become a favorite place among folks in the Asian community, locals in the know, and diners who are looking for something more than just basic Chinese-American takeout food.
Beijing resides in the space in Lexington Center where Khushboo Indian restaurant used to be, and before that, the legendary deep-dish pizza place Bel Canto. The layout of Beijing is much the same as that of its predecessors, being located on the second floor and having both indoor dining and an outdoor patio that overlooks the downtown area. The interior features a main dining area to the left, a bar and a narrow dining section back and to the right, and a bit more dining further back to the left by the patio. While a bit on the plain side, Beijing's space is also quiet and serene for the most part, and it includes a few large tables, making it a good option for groups.
Its simple name, suburban location, and basic decor may make some think that Beijing is yet another Chinese-American restaurant, but it is far from that. This is actually not really a place to go to if you are looking for chicken fingers, spare ribs, crag rangoon, beef teriyaki, chow mein, orange beef or other old-school items (although they do have some of this kind of food). Instead, the menu here focuses much on authentic Chinese dishes, including cuisine found in the northern and northeastern parts of China (including the city of Beijing and the surrounding area). Some highlights include outstanding versions of both wonton soup and hot and sour soup; freshly-made Beijing dumplings that can be ordered with shrimp, pork, and chive or pork and cabbage; beef vermicelli hot pot that comes to the table steaming hot and comes with vegetables and spices mixed in; scallops or shrimp in a moderately spicy garlic sauce; a rich and hearty plate of stir-fried beef and king mushrooms in a mild brown sauce; a mild version of Singapore noodles; a plate of shredded potatoes and peppers that has some serious heat; a house fried rice that includes fluffy white rice, shrimp, pork, beef, and chicken; a chef's special whole fish that can be braised or steamed; an outstanding Beijing pan-seared noodle dish with scallops, shrimp, chicken, beef, and veggies; and yes, for those who like Chinese-American fare, an excellent General Gao's chicken with just a touch of heat. Beer and wine are both offered at Beijing, along with hot tea and soft drinks.
While Bel Canto was a special place back in the day and Khushboo was a solid Indian restaurant, Beijing Chinese Dining is a spot that may make diners forget about those two restaurants. Excellent food, friendly service, comfortable surroundings, reasonable prices, and easy parking all make this eatery very appealing, and it is just one more reason to come to a town that doesn't get mentioned all that often when it comes to dining out, even though it really should at this point in time.
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