Cowboy Feng’s is not the best Steven Brust book. It’s not the best non-Vlad Brust book. It may not even be (by the author’s own admission) a good book. But it was the first Brust book I ever read, and I still love it.
The book does have some editing problems that can cause confusion, but they aren’t deal breakers.
Cowboy Feng’s is a restaurant that is a time machine, only its time travel can only be triggered by a nuclear blast. The characters are real and easy to care about. You want them to survive, to outlive nuclear war.