Huge portions and hearty fried rice make Confucio Express a welcome addition to Coconut Grove’s takeout scene. The cubbyhole-sized old Haagen-Dazs space has been expanded into a modern, counter-service Chinese restaurant with an open kitchen. Don’t let the formal tables and chairs confuse you. This is a takeout-delivery spot at its heart.
Prices were off-putting until we realized that one entree is big enough to feed two people. Packed in sturdy, black plastic containers, the dinner specials come with a heaping pile of fried rice loaded with big chunks of shrimp, ham and chicken, plus the ubiquitous egg roll.
The slightly spicy Mongolian beef is sweetened by plentiful strips of sautéed onions and a garlic-ginger sauce over rice noodles. Standards like General Tso chicken and sweet and sour pork are a notch above your typical food-court or buffet experience. There are plenty of vegetarian options, from vegetable fried rice and sweet and sour eggplant to veggie lo mein, chow mein and chop suey.
Service can be slow. Order ahead if you’re in a hurry, or pay for delivery to avoid the hassle of street parking in the Grove.