Crab rangoon are deep-fried dumplings stuffed with a combination of cream cheese; flaked, canned or imitation crab meat; and scallions. The filling is wrapped in Chinese wonton wrappers, then deep fried in oil. The key to making great crab rangoon is having the right proportion of filling to wrapper and cooking them to order. This keeps the wrapper crispy and fresh and the filling smooth and creamy.
: 14346 S Outer 40 Rd., Chesterfield
This busy neighborhood restaurant is a throwback to the '80s, with red décor and lacquered furniture. Our server was somewhat knowledgeable, but not particularly happy to be there. The square plates were modern, and the food was placed in an aesthetically pleasing way, though some soup had spilled into the saucer when it was brought to the table. I was thankful the food came quickly in the hot restaurant. However, our server forgot the order of crab rangoon. I resorted to tasting the crab rangoon that came with my meal. The wrapper on the crab rangoon was very thick and not particularly crispy, and the small portion of cream cheese inside was sweet, but not well seasoned. Some people at our table had scallions in their crab rangoon, but I did not, so the different pieces of crab rangoon were inconsistent.
The good: There was only one.
The bad: The crab rangoon wrapper was too thick. The portion of cream cheese was too small, lacked seasoning and had inconsistent amounts of scallions.
Royal Buffet & Grill: 15425 Manchester Rd. No. 37, Ballwin
Royal Buffet is a relatively new restaurant in Ballwin. It has a variety of foods at its buffet. The servers were friendly and attentive, but there were some sanitation issues. I witnessed the owner or manager open a napkin and eat peel-and-eat shrimp directly off of the buffet line. The crab rangoon wrapper was chewy and rubbery, which may be expected on a buffet line. The filling, though adequately portioned in relation to the wrapper, was cloying and dry, but adequately flavored. Overall, the crab rangoon had sat for an excessive amount of time on the buffet, causing it to be dry and chewy.
The good: The portion of cream cheese to the wrapper was balanced with OK flavor.
The bad: The wrapper was chewy and elastic, and the filling was dry.
: 229 Lamp and Lantern Village, Town and Country
In this small, mostly takeout and delivery restaurant, the two cooks and counter girl were buzzing around. Despite the lack of décor and size, the staff was warm and friendly. The cooks made everything fresh and to order. The crab rangoon was made as I waited at the counter. The skin or wrapper on the crab rangoon was crispy, light and not at all oily. The generous portion of cream cheese inside was sweet and flavorful. There was a good balance of filling to wrapper.
The good: The wrapper was crispy and not excessively large. The portion of cream cheese inside was generous, smooth, sweet and flavorful.
The bad: If I had to say something bad, it was so fresh the cream cheese was super hot.
The winner: China Garden because of its fresh, crispy wrapper and generous, flavorful portion of cream cheese.
Next week, we'll review cheeseburgers. Who has the best cheeseburgers in West County? Let us know in the comments.