At first glance, the restaurant isn’t that flashy but upon stepping inside, you will find that it is newly remodeled and decorated in a stylish way. Looking around, patrons will notice peach and brown color scheme. The tiled floor and brown booths seem a bit stifling at times but the green potted plants, framed paintings and subdued lighting really help soften the interior. Great China Bistro is relatively quiet although there are a couple of TVs inside the restaurant.
Large enough to hold about 160 diners, Great China is great for dates, birthday parties, and even family gatherings. The space is properly configured so that customers won’t feel like the restaurant is too crowded.
When dining at Great China, you are offered two versions of the menu—one is the authentic Chinese cuisine in Chinese and the other, an Americanized Chinese version. People with a craving for authentic Chinese food can choose from a long list of items, including Szechuan culinary delights, such as the popular Ma Po Tofu. However, most Americans tend to be a bit more conservative with their choices and gravitate towards traditional Chinese dishes prepared in an American style. To better cater to the customers’ palate, the owner and chef has adjusted recipes by decreasing the portions of pork, and reducing the amount of oil and salt.
Great China Bistro has a number of signature dishes including General Tso’s Chicken, Sesame Chicken, and Broccoli Chicken. Owner Jia Chen strongly recommends the Black Pepper Steak, Szechuan Style Fish, and Stuffed Eggplant. When preparing the Black Pepper Steak, the chef uses high quality rib eye steak, and cuts it into large cubes which are later dressed with cornstarch, and seasoned with salt, pepper powder, lemon sauce, and black pepper sauce. Broccoli and onion slices are also garnished onto the dish to provide it with a spectacular finishing touch. However, even with the addition of vegetables, the strongpoint of this dish is the tender, juicy, and flavorful filet that many customers can’t seem to get enough of.
The Szechuan Style Fish is a authentic seafood dish with an American twist. The fish meat is deboned, seasoned, and fried so that it is fully immersed in flavor. Bolstered by a shot of pepper oil and homemade sauce, the taste is simply exquisite. Jalapeño peppers also come with the dish giving it a subtle hint of spiciness. But don’t worry, the spiciness does not overwhelm the other flavors. Those looking for something with an exotic taste will definitely want to try this out.
“You don’t want to miss it,” Chen says.
The Stuffed Eggplant is another menu offering that combines the best of Chinese cooking styles. Preparing this dish is anything but easy—the chef must chop up the meat, stuff the eggplant with ground meat, and then stir-fry the stuffed eggplant with various seasonings.
Aside from these classic offerings, the assortment of seafood and vegetables are well balanced with the dishes featuring pork, chicken, or beef. The Chinese supermarket adjacent to the restaurant has made purchasing more convenient, and has also ensured a sufficient and sustainable supply of produce.
“We only choose high quality pork, beef, and fresh vegetables while making sure to never use any canned food,” reveals Chen.
Despite being a newcomer to this area, Chen knows that the healthy dining fashion has swept over the whole country, not to mention the city of Columbus. Chen quickly responded to this trend by altering his Chinese culinary renditions so that they were both healthy and tasty. That translates into a bevy of steamed and boiled dishes, along with various kinds of fresh vegetables.
However, just making good food is not enough, especially for a new business. Yet, even without much advertising on newspapers or TV, Chen has still been able to blaze a trail and outperform his competitors through the restaurant’s strong word of mouth. A lot of hard work went into turning Great China Bistro into what it is today. Chen took a closer look at the market to get a better idea of what his customers’ specific needs were. Then he took a survey that identified customer dining preferences. The second step was training the staff to be more knowledgeable and professional. According to Chen, the servers must be cordial, gracious, and friendly. Staff should also have some knowledge about cooking procedures, and know a little about each dish on the menu.
“The staff must be knowledgeable about our offerings in order to recommend the right dishes to customers,” Chen further explains.
Taking advantage of the favorable location, Chen has now decided to provide take-out service to the local community. Some of the strategies Chen is using to find new customers include sending out menus and offering discounts.
“I opened one takeout restaurant over 10 years ago, and I found that take-outs could easily attract customers because of the value they deliver, even in a weak economy. I aim to duplicate what happened before by offering take-out at Great China Bistro,” Chen says.
Great China Bistro’s strong word-of-mouth recognition is due to Chen’s unwavering drive and his belief that every dish prepared needs to be his best work yet. Those dining at Great China for the first time will find that it is a refreshingly simple experience made even better by the delightful interior and attentive service provided by the staff.
Great China Bistro
Location: 3586 W Dublin Granville Rd., Columbus, OH 43235
Offers: Dine in, Take-out
Cuisine: Americanized Chinese Cuisine
Signature Dishes: Black Pepper Steak, Szechuan Style Fish, Stuffed Eggplant, Broccoli Combo
Year of Establishment: 2011