A reader called to tell me that The House of Tam in Finneytown has closed. With Chinese take-outs on every corner, that may not seem like a big deal. But House of Tam was a step above the standard strip-mall Chinese; an old-guard Chinese restaurant with a more formal feel, where you'd sit and spend a few hours in a nice dining room. It used to get star ratingss from Mobil. I talked to K.C. Yang, the owner for the last five years, and he said the price of food recently was a real factor in deciding to close it. A 100-pound bag of rice that always cost $23 is now $39, just for instance. (This may be a sign of things to come.)
I'll miss the old-fashioned Chinese places when they're all gone. I'm talking about the kind of place with a sense of ceremony, a personable, hostly owner, elaborate hanging lanterns and art, (and often Zombies and other nutty drinks borrowed from the Trader Vic's school of bartending.)
Szchewan Wok was of that type, and it's closed, too. There's still China Gourmet, of course, and Oriental Wok, as the very best of the type. Grand Oriental on Fields-Ertel is a huge, grand version of it. Does anyone else have their favorite that fits the description?