Wok Box Fresh Asian Kitchen – Close to Tamarac
By: Dan I. Cook
When my editor mentioned this new restaurant moved into Coral Springs, I knew I had to try it because I am an Asian noodle fiend. I love Pho, Pad Thai, and Lo Mien dishes. So off I go down the yellow brick road of University Drive to this joint.
I walk in and right away I think “Chipotle with an Asian menu”. Which reminds me, someone should be kissing the ass of the person who came up with the concept of Chipotle. Whoever he or she is, they broke the paradigm on how fast food is prepared and served. Kudos to them. Back to my review. The restaurant is squeaky clean and the layout is pretty cool with seats to the left and chairs at a long table where you can watch them prepare the orders. As you know, I love that. The menu is listed on the wall and you pick and choose what style of cuisine you want. Mongolian, Singapore, Thai, Hong Kong, Korean, Indian etc… All the dishes are either noodle or rice based with fresh vegetables, carrots, bok choy, napa cabbage, onions, broccoli, peppers mixed within. You get to pick your protein which includes, chicken, beef, tofu, veggie or shrimp (extra charge).
I got the Pad Thai, no eggs, which is labeled as spicy. It’s made with tamarind, peanuts, and ribbon noodles. I also get DAN DAN with shrimp which is labeled as extra spicy made with red chili seed, and Shanghai noodles. Lastly I get an order of the spring rolls.
Eyeballing the Preparation
My order was placed and I shuffled down the glass and started watching them prepare my to go meal. I noticed that each protein, noodle, and vegetable mixture is portioned out in little bags. Pretty smart system to control food cost, control portion size, and consistency of the food. I then focused my attention to the cook. There were six or so wok stations in a condensed area and one cook working each station which is cool because it wasn’t busy. The cook saw me watching and I could tell he was nervous. Why? I don’t know, but I tell him “just do your thing man.”
This cook was not Asian. I’ve never seen a non Asian use a wok in a restaurant. Is that a stereotype? Yes. But it’s the truth. So this cook’s wok skills are pretty decent. I grew up around the Mai-Kai Restaurant and I used to love watching the Chinese cooks who were brought and recruited straight over from Hong Kong, so I’ve seen some pros work a wok. This cook is working it, man. Woks are tricky because of the high heat used to cook the food, the pan almost constantly needs to be moved along with the food or it will burn. This guy did a good job, so kudos to him. I watched them prepare my spring rolls and they brought them out frozen in a box that had about 24 of them inside. They definitely looked commercial made.
They put my order together and out the door I went.
I sampled each, and I loved the DAN DAN dish. Yes, it’s spicy but not crazy over the top spicy. The noodles were thicker than a Lo Mein and the vegetables were nice and fresh tasting. Watch out if you get a forkful with a sliced jalapeño pepper in it. That raises the volcanic measuring stick way up. The Pad Thai had some heat to it but it’s not spicy. This was ok, but nothing out of the ordinary. Same can be said about the spring rolls, just standard fare with no pizzazz to it. They really should make them fresh in-house.
It’s OK and definitely worth a visit. This concept should fit in nicely in Coral Springs. I like the open kitchen concept, and the service was pretty good too. I recommend you give it a try and judge it yourself. Will I come back? Yep.
Wok Box Fresh Asian Kitchen
2528 University Drive
Coral Springs FL
Open 7 days a week
Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. – 9 p.m
Friday Sat 11 a.m. – 10 p.m