Restaurant Reviews

  • Food
    4
  • Service
    4
  • Value
    5
  • Ambiance
    2
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The Paris Cafe

The Paris Cafe

Reviewed by Dead in 60 Dives on Mar 29, 2011

What's it like?

Bo and I were back in Chinatown to actually check out some Chinese food. Right on F Street there is a legendary little hole in the wall called Paris Café. It is known for big portions for people with small wallets. It is also known for its only waitress, Helen, who keeps regulars from every inch of town returning again and again.

Paris Café opens at Noon, those in the know inexplicably use the back door and walk right through the kitchen. Paris is usually busy so expect to be greeted by Helen with a shout. The décor is classily dated Chinese bric-a-brac with a juke-box in the corner that is stuffed with anything from Tejano to Alanis Morissette. Helen will roll around with a cart to make sure you have hot oolong tea and water. When you see the menu you will notice there isn’t really a single item that sits at over five bucks. Bo and I decided to get the Paris Special Chop Suey ($4.95) and the Paris Special Chow Mein ($4.95). Both of these items came with shrimp, pork, and chicken and were coincidently the most expensive things on the menu. We also went with fried chicken wings ($4.25). When Helen came around to take our order she insisted it was too much food for two people. She said “just get the wings and Chow Mein and if you can finish that I will bring the Chop Suey.” We were shocked that she would get us to spend less money so we trusted her.

The food came out, a heaping plate full of fried noodles covered with veggies, shrimp, chicken, and pork with an accompaniment of 10 fried chicken wings. We went straight for the wings. They were meaty with a fluffy light batter. The consistency of the fry was superb, the chef had the wings down to an absolute science. They were amazing. The Chow Mein was an out of this world pleasure. The noodles were fantastic, a nice coloring from the pan fry and a great flavor with the light sauce. On top of the noodles though were sautéed shrimp, chicken cooked in what I felt was the “General Tso” style (not actually sure if that is correct because it wasn‘t fried) and bbq pork. All three meets were cooked individually and then added to the top of this huge pile of Chow Mein. All the meats were fantastic and would have been stand outs on their own but together it was a fantastic meal. We didn't have room to move on to the Chop Suey but I can't imagine it was anything less than WOW.

I felt that it was great Chinese food and for the price. When you compare the portion size to price, I am thinking the Paris Cafe would be hard to beat. Two grown dudes got out the door spending less than $10.00 total for both plates. That makes Bo and I two for two on getting mighty full in Chinatown for less than five dollars each. Great Food, Great Service, Glorious Price !!!

DEAD IN 60 APPROVED !!

Comments

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LuvlyRta  |  Tue, 2011-03-29 15:50

Thank you for this! I grew up on hole in the wall Chinese restaurants. I love that she told you it was too much food, love it :) We will be checking Paris Cafe out ASAP. Oh, a question about the noodles: They do not appear to be stuck together as so many Fresno Chinese restaurants often have; is that correct?

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jenne (not verified)  |  Tue, 2011-03-29 16:40

Thanks for the review! After going to many yukky little hole in the wall chinese places searching for a great little hole in the wall chinese place... this place looks promising!

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Dead in 60 Dives  |  Wed, 2011-03-30 00:56

It is true LuvlyRta, the noodles were separated and not caked together from cooking them with too much moisture. I can't wait to hear peoples thoughts on some of the other dishes. Thanks for interest in the review and don't forget to check us out at www.deadin60years.com

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laura (PALOMA) (not verified)  |  Wed, 2012-08-08 05:12

i've known helen since i was a child. Helen was always kind and funny, her food is great infact  i am here looking for her. i moved away 20 years ago and i can not find a good place out here in texas  its just not the same.  i miss there chinese food.

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laura (PALOMA) (not verified)  |  Wed, 2012-08-08 05:12

i've known helen since i was a child. Helen was always kind and funny, her food is great infact  i am here looking for her. i moved away 20 years ago and i can not find a good place out here in texas  its just not the same.  i miss there chinese food.

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Grace (not verified)  |  Fri, 2013-01-18 23:39

What happened to Helen and Paris Cafe -Fresno CA??? It has closed down. I traveled from San Diego to visit in Nov. 2012 and found it closed down. My family knew Helen for many years but were unaware of that fact, since we live in SD now.

If anyone knows anything, please let us know ! Would greatly appreciate it and send a gift!!

And Helen if you're reading this, please contact me at ggraciee@aol.com We miss you! And your deliscious food!

-Grace from San Diego

 

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James Collier  |  Sun, 2013-01-20 10:55

Hi Grace, Helen and the family closed down last year - I didn't know her, but heard that she was tired after decades of running the place. It was supposedly sold to a Lao family who planned to keep the name, but I'm not sure what's come of that.

If I find contact info for Helen, I'll pass it along.