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Fearless Critic restaurant review
San Antonio
Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese
Casual restaurant

Daily 11:00am–10:00pm

Features Good wines, veg-friendly, Wi-Fi
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


Uptown Central
3214 Broadway St.
San Antonio, TX
(210) 828-8449
Van’s Chinese Seafood Restaurant
Van’s is wallpapered with wine, but the everyday food is only fair

For a time, Van’s was one of the signal Asian restaurants in town. We say “Asian” because this is one of many such places with an identity crisis: Chinese seafood, Vietnamese specialties, sushi…A guy hardly knows which flag to salute. And this doesn’t count Van’s periodic festivals such as one celebrating Dungeness crab.

In fact, we suggest paying attention to special events; they’re where the best stuff happens. We further counsel that if wine is important, you should make sure the obsessed co-owner is on premises. His collection has been reduced from 6,000 bottles to 2,500, we’re told, but that’s still a lot of wine—especially considering that there’s not really a wine list. At the owner’s suggestion, we have had a lovely Alsatian Gewürztraminer, a very respectable Gigondas…but we digress.

A salad of julienned lotus root with various cohorts was stunning one Chinese New Year’s; whole crab steamed, hacked, sautéed with black bean sauce, and reassembled was another festival success. But on a daily basis, one has to make do with slurpy braised duck and egg noodle soup (comforting), pork spare ribs in peppercorn (crunchy but not peppery enough), and soft shell crab in black bean sauce (killer sauce but too much coating on the crab). Happy New Year.

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