Review: Em’s Place; Recommended

McAllister between Hyde and Leavenworth

Em’s Place is my all-purpose fall-back lunch spot. It’s extremely convenient to school, and they haven’t let me down yet. The decor may leave something to be desired, but hey, it’s the Tenderloin. And the food is good, which is what counts.

The menu includes breakfast, American food, and Chinese food. I haven’t explored their breakfast option much, but I can vouch for the #3 breakfast ($3.65) — grilled cheese sandwich, two eggs, and hashbrowns. It wasn’t a revelation in cuisine, but all three parts of the breakfast were well-made, and the hashbrowns were generously portioned.

The Chinese food is pretty good. Their great strength here is that they use good ingredients and don’t overcook them. So most of their dishes consist of good-quality meat and nicely tender vegetables, which gets you a long way in Chinese food. Their sauces tend to be a little syrupy for my tastes, alas. I recommend the black pepper chicken ($5.25), the teriyaki chicken ($4.75), or the broccoli chicken ($4.95) (I understand you can get beef or pork in any of these for 50 cents more, but I’m cheap and I like chicken). The pork fried rice ($4.95) is hit and miss; it’s been really good on some occasions, and sort of mushy on others. On the other hand, I have to respect a pork fried rice with actual slices of barbecue pork rather than rubbery cubes of extruded pork-like product. The curry chicken ($4.95) is mediocre; there are better places to go if you want curry.

The American food is also tasty. I highly recommend the grilled chicken sandwich with BBQ sauce ($4.50). The quality of their chicken helps here, and the syrupy quality of their sauces is actually a plus with BBQ. They make a perfectly serviceable burger ($3.75), a darn tasty turkey burger ($4.50), and as I mentioned, a pretty good grilled cheese sandwich ($2.95). I can’t endorse their breaded foods; the chicken club ($4.50) and chicken-fried steak ($5.50) are fine, but not great. There’s better stuff on the menu. Of the side orders, I recommend the potato salad. The fries, in my experience, are unexciting, and while the fruit cup is fresh, it’s basically a small cup of melon chunks.

Originally published on Tournedos