Lemme say – mission successful! Traffic was light when we went in on Friday evening. They seemed used to take out/counter service, but we opted for a table next to the wall of fake bamboo. The interior is gorgeous. Personally, I think it’s a great addition to Chinese food options in the Albany area.
Some people might think the market is getting saturated, but this is unlike other restaurants. It’s more upscale, akin to the Chinese coffee/tea shops in NYC. Or think of it kind of like a fancier Chinese Starbucks (or Professor Java’s). Hong Kong Bakery is across the street with the bare bones take out minimal service authentic food. CCK & Shining Rainbow are also on the same street, but do more full family meals.
The food choices at One of A Kind Teahouse are both more condensed, and more versatile than others. They have curries, soups, a few meals, skewers, noodles, rice dishes, sandwiches – rather continental in comparison to other Chinese restaurants in the area.
Price-wise, it’s not the cheapest place in town, but on par with coffee shop / teahouse prices. Nothing will break the bank, but you know you’re paying a bit of a premium. It’s like going to Starbucks, only instead of having a $2-3 scone with your coffee, you’re Chinese and you have a few other snacks with your beverage.
You can see Rochelle’s mango bubble tea in the background. She tried asking if the papaya was red or green, but our server didn’t understand what she was asking (language barrier), so R got the mango. Also $2.95 for all bubble teas.Albany John got a green tea smoothie. His cup was noticably less full than mine. *shrugs* It is very light – not too sweet or anything. I’m glad I didn’t get it. I would have wanted more sugar. But he enjoyed it very much since he has a low sweet tooth. Would be perfect in these 90 F + degree days though. My lychee smoothie was more creamy, and this green tea smoothie was very refreshing.
Albany John ordered a soup. Cute cover, no?
It was a shrimp and mushroom soup. Tasty mushrooms. Not overcooked or anything. It came out piping hot. I was classy and did the “spit it back in the spoon because it’s burning my mouth” technique.
R’s squid. This was the skewer order. Not a bad price. It was very tender, and tasted quite buttery. It was just the body, no tentacles. We are thinking those were fried lumpia or spring roll wrappers. Just a little sweeter and thinner than eggroll/wonton wrappers.
I didn’t hype myself up too much, and it was an interesting salad to try. Chopped lamby slices over iceberg lettuce, mixed with some carrots, cherry tomatoes, and red bell peppers. They served both the house sauce (top left corner) and the spicy garlic sauce (bottom right corner) since we were new. The house sauce was the same as with the squid. Not a fan. The garlic sauce wasn’t spicy, but it went much better with the salad. It tasted more like seasoned soy sauce to me. Not bad, but not spicy or garlicky either.
Like the lighting? R’s Droid was awesome at providing additional light for my pictures. Now I want one!
The curry sauce is so well flavored – rich, full bodied, a nice coconut accent. I don’t usually like coconut milk curries because they can be too sweet. But this. Oh man, it was good. Dudes, much like a newly minted lottery winner in a strip club, I felt ecstatic to be in the same room as this soup. It was chock full of beef and veggies – a good combination of both. We could have used a side of rice or something to sop up the tasty liquids at the bottom. I’m surprised we didn’t use our straws. That. Good.