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Posted by MEZ 28 Jun 2012 9 Comments

We’ve posted on plenty of great restaurant options in the Brightleaf area, but I realized recently that I’d never tried one that is smack-dab in the middle of them all: Rainbow, a Chinese order-at-the-counter spot. It’s primarily a take-out restaurant, but they do have a seating area if you’d prefer not to run and eat later.

Those pink and yellow hanging decorations were made of shredded paper bows and pretty darn cool. But I decided that the outdoor weather was more appealing, so I took my lunch to go. Turns out that Rainbow has a $5 lunch special, probably the cheapest option you’ll find in this area. Dinner specials are only $6.55 or you can purchase most of the entrees by the pint or quart. What the special will get you is an entrée, fried or white rice, and wonton soup, egg drop soup, or an egg roll.

I opted for fried rice, wonton soup, and shrimp in a garlic sauce. The rice was a tad greasier than I like, but I appreciated that the vegetables had obvious been sautéed and not just poured out of a bag and mixed into the rice. The shrimp were cooked well, and the garlic sauce was spicier than I expected. A nice heat built in the back of my throat by the end of the meal. The vegetables (broccoli, green bell pepper, and water chestnuts) were crisp. The soup consisted of two giant wontons in a nondescript chicken broth. The wonton shells were very thick, making the tiny chunk of meat inside them somewhat disappointing. I think the eggroll may have been the better choice of a side.

I was happy to see that Rainbow also offers bubble tea drinks for $2.50, which is a pretty darn good price for those. They have several options including taro, green apple, and coffee. I went for green honeydew.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit being a bit in love with that cup—bubble tea is happy time for me. It was perfectly creamy and tasty but could have been a touch more chilled for such a hot day.

Most of Rainbow’s offerings are standard Chinese-American menu items, but they do have Chinese donuts that intrigued me. Unfortunately, I forgot to order them, and really, that combination was plenty of food already. Has anybody tried the Chinese donuts? They also had Faygo soda bottles, which I’d never heard of before but are apparently sold in the mid-Atlantic states and some parts of the South, so if you’re a fan, you can get them at Rainbow.


910 West Main Street
Brightleaf District

Reviewed 20 June 12.


  • LHG said:

    Faygo is what Juggalos drink. STAY AWAY STAY AWAY.

    Thanks for reviewing this place, though. I always wondered what the deal was.


  • Britt said:

    The donuts are my favorite thing here, fluffy, hot, melt in your mouth, covered in sugar, but I’ve had enough uncomfortable experiences here with the staff that I will stick with Golden China, despite the delicious donuts.


  • jonn said:

    I’ve had nothing but terrible customer service and bad food from Rainbow. I’m really surprised by this review.
    My favorite cheap Chinese take-out in town is the one over in the Lakewood shopping center.


    dav replies on June 30th, 2012 at 7:57 pm:

    I believe the doughnuts are just canned biscuits that are deep-fried and then dipped in sugar.


  • Chris said:

    Yeah, tried this place a couple years ago and had about two bites of each dish we ordered. They gave us a free order of the “donuts,” they were the best thing we had. Hard to believe this place is still in business. It is a dump inside and out, with terrible food.


  • bob said:

    I’ve passed by this place almost twice a day for 7 years, and not once seen someone coming in or out of this restaurant. Always thought it must be a front.

    I’ve also loved the big blunt moniker on the side: “CHINESE RESTAURANT”. We should make all restaurants do this
    “IRISH BAR” …”AMERICA FOOD” … “WHISKEY BAR”. Well, at least that one’s already done.


  • MEZ (author) said:

    Sounds like most folks have not had great luck here! I was mostly excited by the pearl tea. I wouldn’t recommend the wonton soup because it was fairly boring, but the shrimp dish was just fine as far as takeout goes.

    bob, that is the restaurant naming trend these days. Or else we wouldn’t drink whiskey at Whiskey or have sandwiches at Toast!


  • Mark said:

    I got a case of non-stop intestinal “cha cha” from what I am sure was bad chicken at this place. never again…..and I have been told by others it has leveled the same wrath!


  • Sean said:

    I miss the time when it was Chopstix, before the proprietor Leo moved it to the K-Mart plaza and then retired. Wouldn’t recommend either place now. But if I ever get access to a time machine, one of the first things I’d do is go back there for one more plate of Leo’s crispy whole fish. That is, after I have gone back to Greenleaf every day for several years.


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