Too many Asian restaurants in the Augusta area seem overly concerned about offending the Southern American palate, so they churn out dishes that are safe, fried and bland.
Sho Chin's, 4466 Washington Road, turns on the heat, but not to the point of overpowering the other flavors in the food, and that's just about perfect.
On a recent Saturday visit, we tried the Hunan chicken and Mongolian beef ($5.95 for the chicken, $6.25 for the beef at lunch), with sides of hot and sour soup ($2.75 each). The waiter kept the iced tea glasses filled, which was fortunate, because the chicken and soup were indeed fiery but not overwhelming.
Sho Chin's is a bit of drive, well out Washington Road in Evans, but it has some of the best Oriental fare in the area. You order your food and pay as you enter, and get your first drink from a fountain, but waiters carry your food to the table, refill drinks and carry away clutter. Our waiter was attentive and friendly.
The dining area has a bit of an institutional feel, with the kitchen behind the ordering counter, and one wall dedicated to the self-serve beverage station. Still, the seating area is comfortable and open. There's also a deck overlooking Washington Road that catches the breeze on cooler days (just wait until October).
With iced tea and jasmine rice substituted for white rice, our bill, with tip, was $33.69. That exceeded the Lunch Money target of $10 a meal, but the cuisine is worth the extra money.
Sho Chin's is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. See www.shochin.com, or call (706) 364-6858.