Chinn's Restaurant

One of my friends is on a Chinese food kick right now and has been haunting the Golden Crown downtown, so I suggested we should check out some of the other Chinese restaurants in town. We settled on Chinn's out in south Salem.

Chinn's has been around for a long time, apparently, and I've heard people rave about it being the best in town, so I was interested to see what was so great about it. Now, I'm not a huge fan of Chinese food, but mostly because I don't love the fried, Americanized combo plates so popular in most restaurants around here. I realize that this issue has been discussed on here before and my purpose is not to rehash that all over again. I'd like to review Chinn's for exactly what it is: a Chinese restaurant in Salem, Oregon that also has a bar/lottery lounge.
Chinn's is in a rather old strip mall on south Commercial. The day we went the neon on the neon lights didn't seem to be working. The building could use some care and cleanup, so it looks a little sketchy when you first arrive. Inside the lobby, we waited to be seated and were promptly seated in a very clean, well-kept dining room. It's definitely not brand new, but it was actually quite relaxing, quiet, and clean.

We ordered from the lunch menu, which had the typical combo plates, but also had some simple lunch options that came with soup and fried or regular rice. My friend ordered a traditional combo plate with sweet and sour chicken, pork chow mein, and a rather impressive egg roll! I ordered Chicken Chow Yuk (I asked for it spicy) with fried rice. For an extra dollar ($6.25) you could add another item so I decided to add bbq pork to my plate. Both of our meals also came with soup.

I thought the prices here were extremely reasonable for the quality and quantity of the food. Our meals came out quickly, the service was good, and the food was very flavorful. The vegetables in my meal were fresh with just the right amount of crispiness. The bbq pork wasn't too tough to chew, as I've had in some restaurants. All in all it's pretty normal American Chinese fare, but done quite well.

I would definitely return to Chinn's if I was in the mood for some good ol' American Chinese food.

Chinn's Restaurant

Mon-Thur: 11am - 10pm
Fri: 11am - 11pm
Sat: 12pm - 11pm
Sun: 12pm - 10pm
Lunch every day: 11am - 3pm


Chuck Bradley said...

Thanks for the great review Rebekah. It has motivated me to give this place another chance. I'm very glad to hear the food quality has returned. I'd pretty much written Chinn's off a couple of years ago having watched the food slide down a long slippery slope almost from the day the delightful Mr. and Mrs. Chinn retired.

It used to be one of my favorite spots. Sounds like it may be again.

Amecameca said...

I am in mourning for the Rainbow Chinese Restaurant on State St. downtown that recently closed after a short run. Next time someone dares to open a place here that does NOT have Chinese-American food, please patronize them. This place had a dim sum menu with 34 selections that were mostly always available. Their beef chow fun was a great dish too with plenty of "wok hei" flavor! A sad day for Salem when this place did not make it.

Anonymous said...

We used to love eating at Chinn's, until their recent inspection scores. You should check on a restaurant's health inspection score before eating there for the first time.
Chinn's failed their last 2 inspections only months ago. You can see the details here:

Chuck Bradley said...

Sadly I racked up another serious disappointment at Chinn's today. Granted, it's risky business to order a lunch special combo mid-afternoon, but this meal should not have been served.

The Broccoli Beef was hot but I suspect re-heated. The Sweet & Sour Chicken was luke warm, dry and old tasting. The Pork Fried Rice was just alright. The Hot and Sour Soup was the best part of the meal.

Rebekah’s good experience gave me high hopes. But I just can’t recommend this place.

Salem Dinner Table said...

Some people think it's silly to check restaurant scores on-line b/f dining. I have done it b/f and frankly it does sway me, especially if they are critical or repeat violations like this place. IMO compliance is very important to everyone's well-being.

Rebekah said...

I'm sorry for your bad experience Chuck. I hate to be the one to recommend something that turns out badly for someone. Frankly, I was surprised at how good it was for a cheap Chinese combo, but maybe it was just a fluke. I'm not a huge fan of this type of food, I probably won't be back for awhile if ever.

Although I do periodically look at restaurant scores online, I don't usually check before going out to eat. For one thing, I've eaten all over the world in places that have never had and would probably never pass any health inspection, so I feel like I'd be hypocritical to check every restaurant I go to before eating here in town. So far, so good. Not that that's a reason for other people not to check scores if that makes them feel better about their dining.

Chuck Bradley said...

Any reviewer from whom I take a recommendation is automatically held harmless Rebekah. Please feel no need to apologize. Some places are spotty. I think this one qualifies. I very much appreciate your reviews and am confident that they always reflect exactly what you experienced. And that's plenty good enough for me!

Anonymous said...

Where is the best hot and sour soup?

KandN said...

I'm eager to find that out myself.
N and I used to love the hot and sour soup at Grand China when they were open.
Though, we did enjoy a cup of creamy Thai mushroom soup at Marco Polo last week. It was full of rich flavorful heat.

Anonymous said...

The chicken just tastes strange at Chinn's. I don't know what they do, but it just does not taste right. I have eaten there ten times in the past three years, and anytime I order a chicken, I regret it.

The crab puffs and the egg flour soup is just fine.

DeeDeeDiner said...

Tong King does a bang-up job on hot and sour soup.

Chuck Bradley said...

Anon and KandN, I'm a Hot & Sour Soup junkie. I believe I've tried it at every Chinese restaurant in town. To me, the hands down winner is to be found at the Gold Dragon on South Commercial. I sometimes order a bowl and nothing else for lunch.

I'm very interested to hear if you agree should you try it!

Salem Dinner Table said...

I'll have to give it a shot Chuck. I LOVE hot & sour soup too! Once in a while I have made it at home & at Queen of Tarts and will make it at Stone Soup in the future.