Wah Kee Noodles was the first restaurant in Madison that made us think, hey, this is actually delicious. Which was … surprising. Dining in Madison has been a process of having hopes, having hopes dashed, having hope tentatively peek out of its grave, repeat. This restaurant was the first to break the cycle, for which I am eternally grateful. At one point I considered begging the chef for a job in the kitchen, in order to steal the secrets of their Thai iced tea, their lovely lovely noodle broths, and their perfect spicy-sour-sweet sauce for their Bun Ga noodle dish.
Bun Ga is heavenly stuff. Remember this when you look at their gigantic menu.
I haven’t had that many things on the menu, but I like to think I’ve hit the high points. The noodles in broth all feature perfectly cooked noodles in a wonderfully flavorful broth, with a couple of toppings that somehow stay full-flavored after soaking in the broth. If you think this sounds like Japanese ramen, it kind of does. The difference is this is simpler yet more delicious (much more delicious if you’re comparing it to the stuff Umami serves down the street, for example).
The “noodles in broth” category is great, but the real highlights of the menu are the Chef’s Specials, and the House Special Noodles. Each one of the Chef’s Specials are Chinese specialties that are literally cooked nowhere else in Madison. Take Guilin’s trademark braised pork belly with taro. From the House Special Noodles, the Stewed Pig Hock noodles (cue heavenly choirs) can’t be found anywhere else within <whatever the distance is between here and Chicago>. Finally, the crowning glory: they actually have the things printed on their menu. At least twice here in Madison I have gone into a Chinese restaurant, ordered something to do with duck, only to be told that they don’t actually have any duck. When might they have duck? They don’t know. Or that I had to order it days ahead. Screw that. If you’re not going to have it ready, or any idea when you might even have it, take it off the damn menu.
And really, if you have to ignore things on your menu, stop stocking the cheese for the damnable crag ragoons, and stock DUCK instead.
Verdict: Inexpensive delicious *Chinese* Food.