Soyas in Newton
After years of going to the Wok and being appeased but not overly pleased, today I opted to stop by Soya's in Newton Upper Falls (by that sandwich Depot joint, used to be called something Moon I think). I'm so glad I did - it's closer to my work and IMHO much better. The restaurant still has the grand opening sign out front. The menu is below, be sure to also note the Globe review.
I wasn't feeling especially adventurous on my first visit and I love General Gau, so I opted to order their lunch version. The Gau lunch includes your typical choice of hot & sour or egg drop soup, white or fried rice (although it was vegetable, not pork fried), and lastly a choice of either a spring roll or crab rangoons (2). I opted for hot & sour, white rice and rangoons.
For an appetizer, I had the Indian Pancake, which I was expecting to me more like naan but was closer to a pan seared and buttered moo-shoo pancake with more taste. The curry sauce was somewhat oil, but it was oh so delicious with just the right amount of mild sauce. When I could only eat 1/2 of the enormous pancake, both the waiter and manager (or owner) stopped by to inquire if I was not pleased with it. Nice touch.
The General Gau main dish arrived and I was impressed. Lately some of the Asian restaurants I have tried in the 'burbs have been trying to pass off somewhat soggy and/or fatty chicken in their dishes. There was zero fat feel/taste to these, all white meat chicken, most likely chicken tenders cut into 3 pieces and golden fried then sauced. The broccoli was definitely cooked to order, as were the little mushrooms. Only the mini-corn on the cob (I forget the technical name) might have been canned although still quite tasty. The white rice was white rice, not too sticky at all and tasty plain. The rangoons appeared to be homeade, but I'm not positive. They were great regardless.
Service was mostly excellent and attententive but not intrusive. It did seem that the entree took somewhat longer to arrive then it should have, but I did order an appetizer. Every other patron (none of the 10-15 patrons seemed to have ordered appetizers, all lunch specials) received theirs in perfect order. I'm not complaining, just observing.
The total, with the appetizer, was $9 (tip not included). I was stuffed and could have gotten by without the app.
Anyway, I'll be back.
Thanks for mentioning this place. The Indian pancake sounds like roti prata (also known as roti canai), a very common street food back home.
I looked over the menus on their website and there seems to be a number of Singaporean dishes that I'm curious about. Love to hear about the char kway teow, gado gado, skate wing, malaysian curries and beef rendang.
Thanks for the recommendation. Took out lunch today from here, tried their General Gau's with fried rice and spring roll and Stir Fried Green Beans with white rice and spring roll. Overall, really liked the food and now plan to go back for dinner to try much more of an assortment. The best of what I got were the green beans, they were very fresh and had crisp pieces of onion, not that spicy, but very good. Also, the fried rice that came with the General Gau's was not your typical overly dry brown fried rice but was more like the white rice that you get with Yang Chow Fried Rice...very good.
Ate there Thursday.
Overall, I thought it was good for what it was and definitely at the same level Chinatown's Penang for the Singapore/Malaysian stuff (i.e. fine and tasty, but still very far from the stuff back home).
The Indian pancake was indeed roti prata. Good hefty feel to it; sis liked it more than Penang's.
Chicken satay turned out to be a gingery grilled chicken skewer. The flavors are all wrong to be satay, but it's a wonderful chicken skewer, moist, tender and tasty. The peanut dipping sauce is pretty good, but slightly too gingery. Could also use a bit more heat and oil in the dipping sauce.
Pohpiah, a spring-roll like appetizer, is a commendable effort, better than Penang's according to sis. The texture of the wrapping isn't perfect (closer to the vietnamese rolls than real pohpiah), but the fillings are good.
A tamarind skate is perfectly cooked and deboned and served tableside. The tamarind sauce is truly enjoyable, nice and tangy, and the skate is perfectly cooked. We just wished that they made a version grilled with hot belacan.......
Beef rendang was very tender, but the spice mix seemed somewhat one-dimensional. Also, it seemed that the beef hadn't been cooked in the sauce long enough, because the spice flavors didn't really penetrate the meat.
A stir fry of tofu and veggies was quite nice, with the tofu crisp on the outside and soft within.
Coconut rice was rather undistinguished in my mind; sis said it was a lesser evil compared to Penang's.
Looks like there's great execution at the sove, where everything is cooked to a lovely level of crisp, crunch, moisture and tenderness. If you don;t have th kind of gustatorial baggage that I have, it's actually quite a good place. But for me, it's yet another place that is somewhat close enough to make me homesick, but far from good enough to satisfy the desire.