John Curtas is …

JOYFUL HOUSE Isn’t So…Unless You’re Aunt Edna

You can say this about Joyful House: It’s as lao wai (non-Chinese) friendly as a Chinese restaurant can get.

The waitstaff is friendly, the place nice and clean, and nothing on the menu will ever offend Aunt Edna.

It had been at least ten years since we’d been in, so we stopped by yesterday for some hot and sour soup and Szechwan shrimp to take the chill off. That soup was thick, dark and rich looking, but  tasted only vaguely of vinegar and white pepper. How a soup base can be so brown and taste so bland must be a trick only a skillful(?) chef can pull off.

As for those shrimps: the menu advertised them with three hot red peppers — denoting the spiciest thing on the menu — but what showed up were big chunks of onions flash fried with big shrimps in only the vaguest hint of chili oil studded with barely hot peppers. It tasted like Chinese food as interpreted by a bad Italian cook.

What was missing in both dishes? Spice, depth, richness and salt.

Un-salty, tepid Szechwan? Yeah, go figure.

Aunt Edna, though, (and apparently Yelp-ers) would have been pleased.

Adding insult to injury, our lunch came to $27 + $5 tip.


4601 Spring Mountain Road

Las Vegas, NV 89102


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