Reviews

Chinese takeout that’s perfect for a wok on Hampton Beach
The Boston Globe (Boston, MA)
June 8, 1995 | Bob MacDonald, Globe Staff
OCEAN WOK

Where: 7 Ocean Blvd., Hampton Beach, N.H.

Telephone: 603-926-6633.

Hours: Daily noon-midnight.

Good Choices: Crab rangoon, orange-flavored beef, shrimp in spicy garlic sauce, house special lo mein, deep-fried shrimp.

Credit Cards: All cards.

Access: Ramp to door; access to all facilities.

We sent an undercover agent into Ocean Wok and ordered takeout for our first tasting. We know the owners, Matthew and Sophia Fan, and did not want any preferential treatment, any extra shrimp in our egg roll. While you probably shouldn’t judge a restaurant by its takeout, Chinese places, like pizzerias, live by it. The results were so impressive that we decided they couldn’t have made it any better and planned a visit later.

Spring rolls (two for $3.50) were the essence of spring, light and airy with delicate fillings, a refreshing change from the usual suburban variety that tastes like they were stuffed with lawn clippings.

Lo mein is another dish that is often done badly in suburbia, loaded with syrupy, heavy soy sauce the consistency of used crankcase oil and deriving its flavor mainly from sugar. Ocean Wok’s house special lo mein ($7.95) was fresh tasting, with the vegetables, shrimp and meats retaining their character.

Pork with vegetables and vegetables with pork were both winners. Barbecued pork with snow pea pods ($8.25) featured thin slices of tender meat in a subtle sauce. Sauteed string beans ($7.25) were fresh and crisp and contrasted well with the ground pork that is optional with the dish.

Shrimp in hot spicy garlic sauce ($9.95) had a sweet, nutlike flavor and just a whisper of sesame oil. Considering how easy it is do overdo shrimp in the first place, this was the ultimate test of Ocean Wok’s takeout capabilities. After traveling in a cardboard box the shrimp were firm and had a just-out-of-the-wok texture. The spiciness depends on who is tasting. Those who like it hot will find it mild. Those not used to hot foods will find it fiery.
Orange-flavored beef ($10.95), a house specialty, consisted of slices of beef that were thick by wokking standards, crispy around the edges with a real tang of orange. The dish had an appropriate zip for spice lovers.

A visit to the restaurant brought more delights. Ocean Wok is just over the bridge on the south end of Hampton Beach, so you avoid that long loop of noise and traffic. The building, which formerly housed another restaurant, has been renovated for more space and light.

Appetizers called for a large party or a doggie bag. Dan dan noodles ($5.50) were a big bowlful, rich with sesame oil or paste and an afterbite of spiciness. Crab rangoon ($5.50) came eight to an order, the most delicately fried and intensely crabby we have ever found.

Seven Stars and the Moon ($17.95) is billed as a meal for two, but it could easily serve four or more, especially if you eat true (and healthy) Chinese style and make your mainstay the big bowl of rice that comes with it. The meal is a tour de force of cooking methods — seven deep-fried shrimp ringing a plate containing roast pork and lightly fried scallops swimming in stir-fried vegetables, topped with breaded chicken.

Our only disappointment was the lack of fish. Ocean Wok gets it fresh from a local dock and their supplier had caught only one fish that day. TIDBITS THREE CLOVER PIZZA, 401 W. Broadway, South Boston, 268-8048.

A fellow resident once noted that the secret to South Boston pizza was to throw away the pizza and eat the box, an exaggeration, to be sure, and one that no longer has the slightest validity. Three Clover makes an irresistible thin-crust pizza with a subtle tomato sauce and rich cheese. Nothing mass produced here: One of our samples came out a bit too big and wouldn’t quite fit in the box. The quality shows in the details — the black olives were oil-cured.

 
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