“He’s always in the kitchen,” said sister Gail deFremery. “He can’t stay away. This is actually his third restaurant. He closed the other two a few years ago because he said he wanted to take it easy, but look where he is now – back in the kitchen.”
deFremery has helped at all of her brother’s restaurants, working as a server and hostess, but her favorite part is sampling the food. She prefers not to cook, so she’s glad that her brother often asks her to sample new dishes.
“He has his own style of cooking,” deFremery said. “He doesn’t cook it until you order it, so it’s fresh. It’s not like the other Chinese restaurants you go to, where they cook it and put it under a lamp; you have no idea how long it’s been sitting there, waiting for you to order it. You don’t have to worry about that here.
“He also makes his own sauces, and he rarely uses sugars or oil, so it’s a lot healthier. He’s also very sensitive to special requests like not adding nuts to a dinner or toning down the spice. He wants to make sure that the customer wants to eat everything on their plate and not dig around to push away the things they don’t like.”
deFremery said Jin has been cooking for as long as she can remember, even before the family emigrated to the United States from China more than 20 years ago. He started cooking using recipes handed down from his great-grandfather, who was also in the restaurant business, but Jin has taken most of the family recipes and put his own spin on them.
Jin opened Chopstick Restaurant last month next to Home Depot at Lone Tree Plaza, and as in the past, the orange chicken and the Mongolian beef remain favorites with his customers. deFremery said she always encourages regular guests to try new things, but they tend to stick with their favorites.
The orange chicken is coated in a succulent citrus sauce and draped in flecks of orange peel to ensure bursts of citrus in each bite. A zesty version is also available, offering a tasty contrast of sweet and spicy.
One of Chopsticks’ specialty dishes gaining popularity is the Hong Kong Chow Mein, loaded with crispy noodles and mixed vegetables layers bursting with assorted seafood. While the restaurant offers plenty of meat dishes, you can also choose from a vast assortment of vegetarian selections such as snow peas and water chestnuts, vegetable fried rice and braised bean curd. Chopsticks also serves an array of appetizers and soups.
The dinner menu offers affordable meals (the most expensive dish is the house special prawns at $12.95), but the best time to get a deal is at lunch, when meals are no more than $7. Lunch specials also come with rice and soup, but regardless of when you stop by Chopsticks, you’ll be leaving with a to-go box – even the most ravenous appetites will be defeated by the mountains of food that come with each meal. Just make sure to leave a little room for the fortune cookie at the end.
Chopsticks Restaurant, located at 5611 Lone Tree Way, Suite 100, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, call 925-513-9278.