Eau Claire Eats: Quick Wok

A quick talk about Quick Wok

Sam Johnson

More stories from Sam Johnson

The Tator
December 13, 2022

When Riverview Cafe doesn’t sound appealing, Midwest Meals prides itself on being a healthy alternative.

I don’t know about you, but I’m something of a Chinese-food-enthusiast myself. I’ve had amazing, horrendous and nearly everything in between.

So, after my seafood extravaganza last week, I was looking forward to familiar territory. As always, I brought Ryan Mass, my roommate and trusty sidekick.

Quick Wok is a place I’ve driven by at least 100 times. It’s across the street from Dooley’s, my one true love in the Eau Claire food scene and a brief three-block drive from my house.

I knew the building’s exterior well. It looks like either a bank with the flu or a homeless gas station, but sometimes, this is a good thing. 

The ugliest buildings, in my experience, often hold the tastiest flavors.

It’s hard to say exactly what I expected the inside to look like, but I know I wasn’t expecting what I walked into.

The inside reminded me of a cross between an old ice shanty and a bowling alley concession stand. It was decorated with outdated Pepsi signs, a Buddha statue and a surprising number of maps.

There were two different maps of Eau Claire, one of the Chippewa Valley and one of campus. So, for those with both culinary and cartographic interests, I think I’ve found the place for you.

The kitchen to public ratio was shocking. A space smaller than half a dorm room was available to the public, with the rest of the building hidden behind the counter.

This was — technically — a dining area, as two booths made out of wooden planks rested on either side of the counter.

It was brightly lit, with one of the fluorescent bulbs flashing, causing a strobe-like effect.

The service, on the other hand, was good. The two workers I interacted with were both incredibly nice. 

Mass and I each ordered a pint of food, which came with a portion of white rice. He ordered chicken chow mein and I went with Mongolian beef. 

We also ordered two of their egg rolls — which cost an exorbitant $1.75 each — and the more reasonably priced crab rangoons.

After I swiped my card and sat in a booth awaiting my order, disaster struck.

The cashier said they were out of beef. 

I, not being a “Karen,” calmly ordered hot and spicy pork instead, then continued waiting.

The cashier then said they were not out of beef, but it would take a long time to prepare, so they couldn’t serve it to us. I didn’t really understand this, as beef cooks quickly in my kitchen. 

I assume time is of the essence for a restaurant with “Quick” in its name, so I let this confusing explanation slide.

We received our food in a reasonable amount of time and, despite the ambiance, brought it home to eat instead. 

The food was exceptionally okay. The hot and spicy pork was, in fact, both hot and spicy. The chicken chow mein was bland by comparison, but not bad. 

Both dishes had a large number of vegetables. This isn’t a bad thing to me, but they were cut into large slices. This made getting more than one or two flavors in a single bite a disappointingly impossible task. 

The crab rangoons were the highlight of the meal. They were giant, crispy and delicious. 

The egg rolls had a good flavor but were absurdly greasy. It was like eating a deep-fried dipstick

Overall, it was a remarkably decent experience.

The food was reasonably-priced, reasonably tasty and filling. 

Three hours after my meal, my stomach took a turn for the worst, but unfortunately for readers seeking a negative review, this passed.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected].