Fong's Fine Chinese Dining is in a huddle of small professional buildings that more typically house businesses like — well, like all the other offices there: doctors, massage therapists, that kind of thing. Fong's quietly takes up one end of one building.

But get inside, and you'll see that this is a nice setting for a small restaurant like Fong's: cozy, serene, elegant but welcoming to both families and couples. The cooking lives up to the ambience, too, with many homemade touches and friendly, prompt service.

We almost had the place to ourselves when we stopped last weekend for an early dinner. (Note to parents: this is a good strategy for taking the kids out to dinner. They won't be so hungry that they're cranky; plus, you won't have to wait too long or bother the crowds that usually turn up later.)

We started with cream cheese wontons and pot stickers. The wontons were crisp and hot when they arrived at our table, but their cream cheese filling was too sweet for my taste, almost like frosting. Even my 9-year-old, a dedicated fan of cream cheese wontons, found them too sweet.

The pot stickers, though, were delicious, browned and chewy with juicy pork-and-veggie filling and a dark, seasoned dipping sauce.

Fong's has a kids' menu, unusual at a Chinese restaurant, and it's a bargain at $3.95 for a hefty entree portion, rice and a drink. One of our daughters ordered the kids' chicken lo mein, a superior presentation with soft noodles, loads of matchstick-sliced carrots and onions, cabbage and tender meat. After I tried it, I wished we adults had some for our meal.

We didn't do too badly, though. Fong's features several "chef's specialties" that I haven't seen at many other places, among them the creative and tasty "Fire Phoenix," white and juicy pieces of chicken cooked with shrimp and veggies in a rosy, just-sweet sauce flecked with red pepper flakes. It was at once both familiar and different.

We also tried the Fuji beef, a French-influenced presentation of tender sliced beef in a light sauce served on a bed of crispy fried rice noodles. The sauce, not as assertive as the usual garlic-infused Chinese brown sauce, complemented the beef without the need to disguise its quality, which was higher than at many other Chinese restaurants.

And of course, we had to get pork fried rice, one of our family's favorites. Fong's version features dark-brown rice cooked in well-seasoned broth, then fried with veggies, egg and loads of red-edged Chinese-style pork, plus a handful of crunchy bean sprouts thrown in at the end. A little greasy, but very nice.

Appetizers $3-$8, soup $2-$6, lunch combinations $6, entrees $8.50-$28, noodles and rice $6.50, kids' meals $3.95.

Rating: ***

Where: 877 E. 12300 South, Draper

Hours: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

Saturday, noon-9:30 p.m.

Closed Sunday

Payment: Major credit cards accepted

Phone: 542-8004

Web: www.fongatdraper.com

Wheelchair access: Easy


Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: [email protected]