First Look: Double Dragon in OakhurstThe inside of Double Dragon in Oakhurst. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
This post has been updated.
Let me start this review by saying I’m not a food critic, so I’m not going to write a food review with the voice of an expert who knows the ins and outs of kitchens and cooking methods.
I’ll leave it to the professionals to tell you what you should think about Double Dragon in Oakhurst. I’m a man of simple tastes when it comes to food, and I can’t say I’ve eaten at a Chinese restaurant in this part of Atlanta that I really liked … until now.
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Be forewarned: I think when this place gets up and running there’s gonna be a line out the door on most nights. Double Dragon is taking over the old Saba space at 350 Mead Rd. There’s a good deal of pent-up demand for decent Chinese food in these parts, particularly since the possibility of Big Boss Chinese was dangled in front of our collective noses for almost four years before the proprietor, Guy Wong, decided to pull the plug on the project.
Double Dragon is owned by Michael Lo and George Yu, the folks behind Taiyo Ramen in Downtown Decatur and Suzy Siu’s Baos in Krog Street Market. The official opening date is Wednesday, but Double Dragon held a soft opening on May 22 to prepare for the big day. Full disclosure: The restaurant did not charge any of the guests for their meals, but Decaturish will make a donation to the Decatur Arts Alliance on Lo’s behalf that’s equivalent to the cost of dinner.
Starting Wednesday, the restaurant will be open for dinner nightly starting at 5 p.m., Lo said.
The last really good Chinese food I had was at a restaurant called Formosa out in Bumblescrew, Tenn., near Chattanooga. The food was like eating a home-cooked American Chinese meal. (Remember, not a food critic, don’t judge me.) Most of the Chinese food I’ve had around Decatur is stringy and slimy and tastes like it’s been sitting under a heat lamp for hours.
Lo knows what I’m talking about. Before opening Double Dragon, he decided to try the competition to figure out what worked and what didn’t.
“I ate so much bad Chinese food all over Atlanta,” he said.
Me too, brother. But no longer.
My family shared a few dishes while my two year old son tapped chop sticks on the table and got soy sauce everywhere. My wife is really picky about her Hot and Sour Soup and said Double Dragon’s was the best she’s had since Formosa. It also had bacon in it. You can’t go wrong by adding bacon to things. The General Tso’s chicken was made with all dark meat from Springer Mountain Farms. I don’t know what they do up on that mountain, but they produce some succulent hens. It was garnished with broccoli that had been cooked with brisket. The Mongolian Beef was made of tender pieces of flat iron steak.
The egg rolls were interesting and the ingredients included beets. It wasn’t something I’d crave in the middle of the night, but there wasn’t any left on my plate when it was all said and done. The dumplings were juicy little pouches filled with pork that are almost as good as the dumplings at Chef Liu.
My one complaint would have to be the turnaround time on the Tiki drinks. We ordered ours at the beginning of the meal and didn’t receive them until the end. The first one I had, Missionary’s Downfall, tasted like I was sucking on a lime rind. I couldn’t finish it. The waitress brought me a Singapore Sling which was smuch sweeter and closer to what I was going for. To be honest, if you’re going here for the Tiki drinks, you’re doing it wrong. The Tiki drinks weren’t my favorite part of the experience but this was by no means a deal breaker.
Would I eat this again? Hell yes. Will I get a chance to in the near future? Maybe if I get takeout or delivery. Oakhurst is going to go nuts over this place and the parking lot isn’t that big. If you live near it, would you consider adopting my family, or at least letting us park in your driveway?
Quick side note: There will be an arcade machine, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Lo said it’s actually going to be more like an emulator inside a custom arcade machine shell and, yes, it will have “Double Dragon.” He hasn’t decided whether the arcade machine will be free to play or not. I advised him to accept quarters. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to pry me away from it.