Like a famous line from the movie "Jerry Maguire," Sunrise China had me at hello. Except this time it was ni hao.
The restaurant, which shares its owner with neighboring Taki, a Japanese steak house, makes sure its customers are taken care of right from the start.
Immediately after I was seated, the waitress put a basket of fried wontons on the table, along with duck sauce and spicy mustard for dipping.
It was a real treat. I have been to just one other Chinese restaurant that served what is basically the equivalent of chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant.
My dining partner and I munched on the snack while we considered the menu. I decided on the Hawaii-style chicken from the recommended dishes section, and he ordered beef lo mein. We also placed an order for shrimp and vegetable rolls as well as fried and steamed rice.
The ambiance of the restaurant was serene. Soft music played in the background. The dark hardwood floors were impeccably clean, and statues of Buddha and other figures lined the walls.
Service was timely. After only a few minutes, our shrimp and vegetable rolls - what some Chinese restaurants call "spring rolls" - arrived first. The shrimp roll had ample shrimp and the vegetable roll was not too heavy on the cabbage.
Then our main dishes arrived. I was first struck by the beautiful presentation of my Hawaii-style chicken. The dish consisted of three battered and fried chicken breasts, topped with strawberries, honey dew, cantaloupe and a mango sauce.
The flavor was just as impressive as the presentation, and the portion size was large enough for both of us. The beef lo mein had just the right amount of beef and nice, thick noodles.
My partner ordered a slice of cheese cake for dessert, but it was nothing special. When it arrived, he was informed to wait a minute so it could defrost. This was hardly a setback to the meal, though, because the rest was so good.
At the end of the meal, we received our customary fortune cookies. Mine read: "Words are the only things that last forever." Fitting, I thought.
I returned a second time hoping for a repeat experience. This time my partner ordered the coconut-flavored chicken from the recommended dishes, and I ordered the sesame chicken.
The only complaint I had this time was that the vegetables that came with both our meals were a tad on the cold side, like they had been steamed long before the meal was ready and lost the heat.
I liked that the coconut flavored chicken, which came with asparagus, sugar snap peas and baby corn, and was grilled and not fried like most items on the menu, but the coconut sauce seemed to be missing that extra kick and could have been sweeter.
Besides serving dinner, Sunrise China also has an affordable lunch menu that includes an entree, soup of the day, crab angle and fried rice for less than $7.
Overall, Sunrise China stands out among other Chinese restaurants and is definitely worth a visit (or more).
6255 Zebulon Road, Suite 300, Macon
Phone: (478) 471-0101
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4:30-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4:30-11 p.m. Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday; noon-10 p.m. Sunday
Payment: Cash, major credit cards
Price: $2.25 to $34.95
Children's menu: Yes
Vegetarian selections: Yes
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Noise level: Low
Smoking policy: No
Latest health code rating: 100