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.