Restaurant review: If it's Asian food you seek, head toward Moy's in Elkhorn
Special to The Gazette
ELKHORN—If you’re in the mood for authentic Mandarin and Cantonese food, Moy’s Restaurant is the place to go.
Just a quick 40-minute drive from Janesville, Moy’s sits in the heart of downtown Elkhorn just across the street from Veterans Park. It has been voted the best Asian restaurant in Walworth County for six consecutive years, so we knew we had to check this place out.
We were instantly charmed by the beautiful, old brick building and, upon entry, we were seated in a large dining area with warm gold walls and green carpeting accented with terra cotta décor. It was an inviting atmosphere. Our waitress explained Moy’s has been in existence for 36 years and first started out as a hotel. The hotel’s claim to fame was that John F. Kennedy stayed there before he became president of the United States.
As we settled in, we skipped over the fun exotic drinks in favor of a more traditional cold weather option: Moy’s flavorful house tea blend. The hot black tea was just right.
Looking over the menu, we were suddenly distracted by a flaming tray overflowing with finger food en route to a neighboring table.
Intrigued, we asked our server about it and discovered it was the combination appetizer. We didn’t give it a second thought; this we had to try! It is listed on the menu as $12.75 for two people, with a charge of $6.50 for each additional person. It was definitely a hit with a little something for everyone.
The bali-miki (marinated beef tenderloin on a stick) sat on the mini hibachi that towered in the middle of the tray (hence the flame) and essentially could continue cooking to individual preference right at the table. The sticky barbecued ribs were moist and flavorful. The egg rolls looked great but were a bit thick and doughy (possibly due to the addition of peanut butter to the pork and vegetable filling?).
Our favorites of the evening were the large Cantonese fried shrimp—crispy with a delicate egg batter—and the crab rangoon (which was stuffed with tasty crab and without the usual heavy cream cheese flavor) in an airy pastry shell. They were seriously the best I’ve ever had.
For entrees, we considered sharing one of Moy’s family dinners for groups of two to six people. Each featured a unique menu.
The dinner for three was a feast of soup, egg rolls, fried shrimp, ribs, bali-miki, shrimp and lobster sauce, sweet and sour pork, chicken kow and fried rice—all for $59.15. In the end, though, we decided to go our separate ways.
I ordered the Hunan beef ($13.35). The menu’s description read “sauteed in spicy garlic and vinegar sauce.” The waitress pointed out the spice levels tend to be on the light side, so I took a chance and went with spicy. It was perfect with thin pieces of beef, carrots, mushrooms and red peppers. The Hunan dish also can be ordered with chicken, shrimp, pork or lobster.
Jennifer chose shrimp kow ($13.95) as her entree. She was presented with a huge serving packed full of succulent shrimp, snow pea pods, mushrooms, water chestnuts, onions, carrots and Chinese vegetables. It had a true authentic Asian flavor, and she enjoyed every bite.
Nikki ordered one of the house specialties, the almond pressed duck ($13.15). Happily, she discovered the boneless duck was deep-fried in the same wonderful batter as the shrimp we loved so much in our appetizer. The dish also included an assortment of vegetables (broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and more) in a brown gravy, and it was artfully topped with sliced almonds.
We were so full, we didn’t even think to ask about desserts. In fact, we probably could have left completely satisfied after our extensive and filling round of appetizers. As it was, we all had a generous amount of leftovers to take home.
As we were getting ready to head out, Jennifer decided to take a peek around. Moy’s offers a large bar area that seats about 25, plus two more dining rooms with a dozen tables each.
In her wandering, Jennifer commented to another member of the wait staff how large the restaurant was. She wasn’t surprised to learn that on Friday and Saturday nights, the restaurant is filled to capacity, and that reservations are highly recommended.
The Four Dishes—Nikki Bolka, Helene Ramsdell, Jennifer Spangler and Beth Webb—review regional restaurants for The Gazette.