JoJo's China Bistro is located in the Target parking lot. (Troy LaFleur / American Press)
Last Modified: Sunday, September 15, 2013 1:08 PM
I tend to think of myself as an Asian food connoisseur. I do not limit myself to just your basic Chinese buffet; instead I make it a point to visit every Oriental-based cuisine establishment that opens in Southwest Louisiana.
Over the years I have seen my affinity for Japanese and Vietnamese food grow by leaps and bounds. Certain cravings for traditional Chinese food persist inside me and there is only one restaurant in the Lake Area that I frequent on a regular basis: JoJo’s China Bistro.
On a recent weekday I found myself with one of these cravings so I called up my dad for lunch. He had never been to JoJo’s, and I get a sense of satisfaction from introducing people to restaurants that I frequent.
We arrived at JoJo’s at around 2 p.m. in order to miss the lunch rush.
Upon entering the restaurant, most people are surprised to find that it is not your traditional, loud and crowded buffet. Instead, JoJo’s provides a pleasant ambience with its dim lighting, soft music and space.
Our waiter, who never gave us his name, came directly to our table after we had been seated to take our drink order. A trait I have found among the waitstaff at JoJo’s is that most are quiet, but very attentive and never leave you waiting for anything. As a former waiter, I tend to put a lot of stock into a restaurant’s service.
I knew exactly what I wanted before entering the building, but had to suggest one of my usual alternatives for my dad. I went with the Kong Pao chicken lunch order and an order of beef lo mein. My dad had the lunch order of Mongolian beef and an order of egg rolls.
Before our main course arrived we received the egg rolls and each a cup of egg drop soup. My dad guzzled down his soup, and took to mine after he was finished since I am not a fan of it at any location. He had to wait several minutes before eating the egg rolls since they were so hot. This is common since most of the food is made when you order.
When our food arrived, I wasted no time in devouring my Kong Pao chicken, which has become a favorite of mine.
The chicken is filled with carrots and celery on the plate and covered in a thick, spicy sauce. The sauce, which is usually almost unbearably spicy at some restaurants, is toned down at JoJo’s, making it enjoyable for everyone.
My dad sampled my dish, but for the most part was occupied by his Mongolian beef which he thoroughly enjoyed. He finished all of his meat and the vegetables and rice that accompanied it.
One I was finished with my chicken, I quickly turned to my lo mein. This noodle dish that I have eaten since I was a child is comparable to the other top Chinese restaurants in town.
In all, our order came to less than $24 and we both left completely full.
The mood at JoJo’s is calm and relaxing, but not upscale. My wife and I are able to bring our daughter with us and she is no distraction.
The menu also has items for children.
Whenever I lived closer to the location, I often had JoJo’s delivered to my apartment, a luxury that a majority of local residents aren’t accustomed to outside of pizza places.
At JoJo’s you must live within a certain radius from the restaurant to be eligible for delivery.
JoJo’s may not be the highest level of Asian cuisine, but it is a great option for those seeking good Chinese food without breaking the bank.