When it comes to eating out, living in Sunnyside definitely has its benefits. We have downtown Calgary (and Chinatown) just a short walk across the Bow River (through Prince's Island Park) and Kensington is also just a short walk to the west; both are abundant in restaurants. Last , we decided to go somewhere new so we tried out Charly Chan's in Kensington.
Our total bill (for three) came out to $55. We started with a "large" order of Wor Won Ton soup (with thin noodles added for $2 extra) and it was, without doubt, the worst Won Ton Soup I've ever had. The won tons tasted very floury and the broth, while very dark in color, tasted like plain water. All the vegetables were over-cooked and it's a good thing that their "large" size wasn't very big at all. I was very hungry so it wasn't hard to eat, but it was definitely a major disappointment and a bad way to start a meal. I must say, the chicken in the soup was very good though and extraordinarily tender.
We went on to have their Yang Chow Fried Rice, Cantonese Chow Mein and their special of the day – Salt and Pepper Beef. The rice was good, though nothing spectacular; the chicken in the rice however, was some of the best chicken I've ever had in fried rice. They really know how to make chicken it seems. The Cantonese chow mein was very dark and looked like it was bathed in soy sauce – it reminded me of the "Chow Mein" you get from a fast food joint in a mall. For the most part, all the food was very below the standard (in respect to taste, preparation and presentation) that we have come to expect from Chinese restaurants in Calgary. The Salt & Pepper Beef was the saving grace, but it unfortunately isn't on the menu and was only a daily special. The thin and tender, batter fried beef slices (with onions and peppers) were quite salty at first but the more of it I ate, the saltiness seemed to die down and I grew to like it very much. (It obviously wasn't meant to be eaten by itself.) If this dish was on the menu, it would be my only reason for returning – I could see myself craving it, as did my company ;-)
Overall, our experience was a pleasant one, (it was a very comfortable atmosphere and the service was attentive), but unfortunately the food at Charly Chan's really let us down in a big way. I don't see myself returning there anytime soon – if you're in Kensington and looking for a great place to eat, this is not one of them. Charly Chan's is very much below par, not only compared to other Chinese restaurants in Calgary, but especially compared to the other restaurants in the area.
1140 Kensington Road NW
+1 (403) 283-6165