Restaurant of the Week: Dragon Inn

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Dragon Inn, 8031 Archibald Ave. (at Foothill), Rancho Cucamonga

This place was recommended by Robert Karatsu back when I was asking about decent Chinese restaurants in the Inland Valley. Since then I discovered the exemplary Good Time Cafe and Peking Deli, both in Chino Hills. But I met Robert for lunch Thursday at Dragon Inn to give it a shot.

It’s on the northeast corner of Foothill and Archibald. Belying the faded yellow paint on the exterior, the interior is quite nice, with Chinese prints on the walls, wooden chairs and smartly dressed servers. A short bar has a computerized register and that whole area resembles a Starbucks.

Right inside the door is a framed Jonathan Gold review of Chu’s Mandarin in Rowland Heights, which he praised for its hand-pulled noodles. The connection? Mr. Chu owns Dragon Inn, in existence seven years, as well as Chu Chinese at Fourth and Milliken, which I’ve tried and liked. Chu’s Mandarin, however, closed several years ago. But at least Dragon Inn has a good pedigree.

I ordered Szechwan Chicken Noodle ($6.95), figuring with its reputation I should get a noodle dish, and Robert got what he said was his usual, Shrimp with Broccoli ($12.95). His dish was average, mine was very good. Or am I biased? The spaghetti-like noodles were soft and chewy, in a slightly spicy sauce with bell peppers and mushrooms.

The menu is dumbed-down, as expected — cream cheese wontons, anyone? — but some interesting dishes surface, such as chow fun. Try a noodle dish and experiment with an appetizer or second entree.

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  • DMH

    I think most of us who drive past the 57 freeway into Rowland Heights/Walnut area know that there are not many really good traditional Chinese restaurants in the Inland Empire. Now Thai – that’s another story. One very popular (although a “C” health rating hung in the window) was the by the 99 Ranch Store off the 60 fwy.

    I am lucky to have Chinese students who educate me on their cuisine and they never take me to the inland empire.

    You should run a Pho article!

    [Yes, there are more very good Vietnamese places than there are very good Chinese places. I'm terrible with chopsticks and find eating pho kinda difficult, but I've been to a few. -- DA]

  • Christine Garcia

    We have a new restaurant in Chino Hills. The name is Camillias. They serve Mexican food and believe it or not it looks very healthy. They make fresh salsa, tortilla chips, fresh fruit (you can watch them cut it up for you). YUMMY!! It’s very delicious and you should go if you get a chance. It’s located on Pipeline between Chino Hills Parkway and Eucalyptus. Let me know what you think :-).

    [I'll try to get there sometime. -- DA]