One of the joys of working in western Pennsylvania is being able to go home for one of our “weekends.” Tom and I lost no time in taking advantage of the proximity and went home our third “weekend” in Pennsylvania. We headed first to Columbus for dinner with John and Jackie. Knowing how much we like good Chinese food, they took us to a new-to-us restaurant: Helens Asian Kitchen.
If John and Jackie hadn’t taken us, I don’t know that we would have ever chosen to try Helens Asian Kitchen. It is in a rundown area of Columbus bordered by warehouses and office buildings. If you know Columbus, Helens Asian Kitchen is located in the old Continent area. When I was a teenager this was a go-to place for upscale dining and shopping. Sadly, those days are long gone.
I’m not sure what year Helens Asian Kitchen started, but it is in a repurposed Howard Johnson’s restaurant. John and Jackie said it was previously a strip club, so it has been remodeled a few times. It seemed like an unlikely place for really good Chinese food.
Fortunately, Helens Asian Kitchen should not be judged by its exterior or its location. The food was excellent, easily the best Chinese I’ve had in Columbus. The dishes are served family style and we ordered lots of dishes so we could all try them. John and Jackie especially like some of the spicy stuff, which Tom tried. I abstained from that, but loved the sweet and sour chicken and the pork dumplings.
John, Tom, and Jackie all really enjoyed the stir-fried cauliflower with hot pepper sauce and the spicy dumplings. They also shared the General Tao’s Chicken which was spicy but not as spicy as the other food. Although we had an abundance of food, we did a great job of polishing it all off. Helen talked John into taking the spicy leftovers home, suggesting using it as a sauce with ground beef.
We really enjoyed going to Helens Asian Kitchen and will eat there again gladly. We were there on a Tuesday night and it wasn’t busy at all. But once the foodies in Columbus discover it, I’m sure it will be packed. You can order online and pick it up as you drive by on I-71. If you love good Chinese food, this place is worth the drive.