Takeout That Delivers
Keilly Chinese Restaurant
21-40 Utopia Pkwy., Whitestone
Cuisine: Multi-regional Chinese
Hours: on-Thu: 11 am-10:30 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am-11 pm; Sun noon-10:30 pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Parking: Lot In Rear
For more than 20 years, Keilly's has kept the flavor coming. So much so the restaurant staff boasts 20,000 customers in the Whitestone area loyal to the Chinese mainstay. With those types of stats, I headed over to the neighborhood staple knowing they wouldn't disappoint.
On entry, I wasn't immediately convinced I'd be a fan. My first thought was "What could this two-decade-old establishment offer me that was not already available at my local Asian eatery?" Although much of both the interior and exterior of the place is not different from your traditional Chinese take-out, there was something special about Keilly's and I wasn't the only one who sensed it.
On any particular afternoon during the week the 16-seat establishment is brimming will all types of patrons, especially during a busy lunch hour. Everyone from college students to local nurses and shopkeepers on a quick break filed in to take advantage of Keilly's 36 lunch specials.
Hanging over the counter, a menu gleamed with all the typical dishes one would expect: beef and broccoli, General Tso's chicken as well as sweet and sour shrimp. But don't be distracted by the familiarity of it all.
Upon further inspection, though, I noticed a menu with more than 190 items to choose from. My eyes scrambled.
I overlooked the more exotic options in pursuit of what I knew; with a short lunch break I was in need of something quick and classically consistent, so I chose a selection of personal favorites, spreading my options across the board.
First came the House Special Lo Mein. The tongue-twisting noodles were packed full of flavor. Shrimp, bits of beef, mushrooms, bean sprouts, bok choy, carrots and celery created a cornucopia of colors on the plate before me. I dug in.
An orchestra of chefs waved their tongs while the pitter patter of saucepans and woks played in the background. I was brought a sampler platter of various dishes - alone they are delicious but together they were marvelous: succulent sesame chicken, gloriously glazed boneless spare ribs and plump pork dumplings with the house special dipping sauce. After each bite I didn't know where to poke my fork next. To some the medley of dishes would not mix, but that day they did.
Keilly's versions of my typical items knocked my taste buds back to the Orient where many of these dishes originate.
After walking in a skeptic, I left a believer. From the rather usual, which will always be favorites, to the more exotic Dragon and Phoenix Chef Special, Keilly's promises a fast, fresh and healthy Chinese cuisine that is guaranteed to be the best.