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Golden Temple ripoff

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  • Paul Apr 26, 2006 01:48 PM
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Although this is probably "chowhound blasphemy", I have to admit, as I did grow up on "americanized chinese food", I still love the occasional barbequed spare ribs, shrimp with lobster sauce, etc. Having said that, last night I went with a group of 10 to Golden Temple in Brookline. Although the food was certainly edible, it was average. What was truly astounding was that we got mostly appetizers (3 Golden temple ribs, fried shrimp, salt and pepper shrimp, salt and pepper calamari), we also got steamed chicken with broccoli, 2 orders of shrimp egg foo yung and 1 order of spicy green beans and everyone got a cocktail...the total bill with tip was $400! I don't think I will ever go back here, it is way overpriced and very average...I only went because a high school reunion committee wanted to meet there. Sorry for the rant but just in case someone else was thinking of going there...DON'T!

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  1. It has been that kind of place for many years. Sorry you got swindled, but I'm sure many Chowhounds (like me) would have been glad to warn you off in response to a query post.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      I grew up eating 'real' chinese food, but learned to enjoy an occasional egg foo yung or pu pu platter in college while learning about pub crawls. So I don't think there's anything embarrassing about an occassional craving for egg foo yung :)

      Next time, try Victoria Seafood for a good selection of American Chinese alongside reasonable real Chinese dishes -- I think their proximity to BU makes it worth their while to keep egg foo yung, chop suey, and pu pu platter on the menu. Unfortunately, they don't have a liquor license.

      1. re: TMaB

        I second the Victoria Seafood recommendation. My first year out here, I couldn't find a decent Chinese restaurant (originally from L.A.) and stumbled across Victoria. I figured they had to be halfway decent because they had items on the menu that no restaurant serving only Americanized Chinese food would have - stir-fried frog's legs, pork belly, chicken feet, etc. Ten years later, it's still my Chinese restaurant of choice - especially cause it's easier to get to from where I live than Chinatown.

        1. re: lorita113

          I third Victoria Seafood. The lobster deal is ridiculously good. Like 12.95!

          1. re: eLizard

            I got an order to take out last Mother's Day and while the food was very good the cost was outrageous. What I usually pay $80 for in other chinese restaurants cost me nearly double at the Golden Temple.
            They did give you a piece of cake from Athan's thrown in for Mother's Day, and the food was very good, (although quantity was small) it was not worth that kind of money.

        2. re: TMaB

          Yes they do... Beer and wine.

          1. re: TMaB

            i totally agree with you. i grew up in taiwan eating authentic chinese food. but being an american-taiwanese, i sometimes crave the american style chinese food ie: chicken broc or kung pao chicken. i live 1 block from golden temple and heard some good reviews so i went. my bf and i were SUPER dissapointed. every dish (4) we ordered tasted the same. prob just soy sauce + oyster sauce....and cost wayy to much.

            i went to victoria's a lot during my years at BU, and its pretty good. id also say go to sichuan garden in brookline village.

            too bad chinatown seafood on beacon in coolidge corner closed down.

            chef chang near beacon & st. mary in brookline is also good - esp the peiking duck

        3. not surprising at all. no one goes to golden temple for quality or perceived value. not sure why anyone actually goes there. definitely no one who knows better.

          i would definitely go to chef chang's any day over golden temple.

          1. I previously lived right around the corner from Golden Temple, so we went there quite a bit. It was a guilty pleasure to drink mai tais and eat greasy American Chinese food. While not the best value, we had fun with it.

            Based on my experiences there and memory of the menu, I have to take issue with this post as being unfair to the restaurant. Unless you ate (or more likely drank) more than stated, there is no way your bill approached $400. It is more like $300 MAX (with tax and a 20% tip included). However one more round of drinks for ten people could have pushed it up. Just to be fair to this establishment, the prices are not as out of whack as stated.

            Also, 3 of the so called house special appetizers were ordered. The GT special ribs (while very tasty) cost twice as the regular ribs. Also the S&P Calamari is the most expensive app on the entire menu if I remember correctly.

            There are many things to criticize about this restaurant, but fair is fair.

            1. t
              TalismanGirl

              I live near Golden Temple, but hate to go there for the same reason- very mediocre "suburban chinese" that is WAY overpriced. A dining companion of mine loves to go there because of good memories from a different era of the restaurant (I guess it didn't used to be so expensive)- and every now and then I relent. I am always horrified at how much the bill is, and we never order alcohol. I don't mind the occasional suburban chinese, but don't like the feeling of being had financially.

              1. i ate there for the first time tonight....and was weary based on the negative reviews. it's not my parents' cooking and it's not "authentic" chinese but i argue against it being "average."

                i also argue about price. yep, our bill was high--i can't deny that. it's, in part, because of the drinks. but those suckers are lethal and worth their weight in gold. ;-p but on another note, i get frusterated at the general notion that chinese restaurants have to be good, high quality and fit the budget of a high school student. i think we have different standards for chinese restaurants than other ethnic restaurants, say, italian or french. the cost of ingredients for chinese food is no less than the ingredients for any other food-type (not including mcdonald's), so why do we raise our eyebrows if a chinese entree is more than $12?

                the service i had was excellent--attentive and friendly without being overbearing. the dishes arrived piping hot--one of the trademarks of any "authentic" chinese restaurant. it's usually one or the other--but they got both right.

                and the quality of the ingredients is evident. they pride themselves on chicken raised humanely, hormone and drug free (i prefer that). and they try to support the local growers with the produce they purchase! (this is alice waters-thinking, people!) and no msg!

                i love chinese restaurants that don't use msg. my parents never used it but sooooo many chinese restaurants do. my noodles were prepared perfectly and weren't greasy! the hong kong-style noodles weren't "authentic" but it wasn't a bad thing in this case. it almost rivals the noodles i grew up eating--in a different way. the spinach in my husband's dish was fresh, not frozen, and was cooked perfectly (it's easy to overcook spinach, as is evident in myriads of restaurants all over the country). and the portions of large pieces of white chicken meat is worth mentioning. i love my dark meat but was amazed at how tender and large the chunks of white meat in our dishes were.

                all of this is in my humble opinon. it won't be my go-to chinese take-out but i'll definitely eat there again--and recommend it to others, even.

                13 Replies
                1. re: will_forfood

                  Thanks for the positive post. We just started going to the GT in the last few years and the food is certainly top quality. The servers were quite old school and polite on two visits there with out of town guests (New Yorkers) who loved the place. Otherwise we just eat at the bar and enjoy the excellent drinks thanks to Sam the head bartender.
                  Our only bad expereience was with a group, but that was mostly due to the organizer who kept changing her mind and invited several deadbeats as well. That time the price tag was ridiculous.

                  1. re: ginnyhw

                    I'm curious, ginnyhw: what other Chinese restaurants in Boston do you consider top quality?

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Not everyone has been exposed to authetic regional chinese. There are defintiely different grades of quality even when it comes to the American Chinese that everyone on Chowhound despises. It's a type of cuisine in its own right, and some places do it better than others.

                      Now, that being said, there are some holes in the wall that do it better than GT for 1/4 of the price. I always liked Rose's near Tufts in Somerville.

                      1. re: tamerlanenj

                        I enjoy American Chinese on occasion, and I don't believe that Hounds on this board are unanimous in despising it. I do find Golden Temple's food to be at or below average for the style. The bigger problem is that it might be the most expensive example of the cuisine in Greater Boston.

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          Am I allowed to change my mind? I have and apologies for being so obtuse. We went back for the last time last week- another going away party and the food was awful. As it was a weeknight we weren't having the excellent drinks- just a Corona and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc at the bar before the party started. The couple next to us, who appeared to be happy regulars were enjoying a Maitai and another cocktail and ordered the special rice. then they sent it back - said it tasted "off". Not a good sign. Ten of us sat in the dining room and soberly ordered 4 apps and 4 mains and black sea bass for the guest of honor, who was enjoying an excellent drink. The sea bass was the only entree that wasn't overcooked and greasy. We stuck with basics- General Gau, spicy string beans, Shanghai rice, pot stickers. I think we were lucky to get off with 40 bucks each. At least the guest of honor had a good time and the waiter was very attentive.
                          If only Shanghai Gate served stoli dolis.

                          1. re: ginnyhw

                            Of course you get to change your mind! Good places go bad; so-so places eventually find their footing and become wonderful; chefs, servers, owners, concepts change.

                            I've been bowled over by many first meals: charmed by atmosphere, great service, really fun dining companions, many Stoli Dolis (actually, I don't know what those are, but I know what you mean), the novelty to me of the cuisine, etc. Many places make great first impressions: the tough part is consistency. Great early impressions dashed on later visits are devastating compared to middling expectations set on early visits and exceeded later.

                            Consistency is probably the hardest thing to deliver at any restaurant, which is why the consistent ones stand out so much.

                        2. re: tamerlanenj

                          "American Chinese that everyone on Chowhound despises"

                          Wow, is that an erroneous statement. There have been many threads on that - search pu pu platter or crab rangoon.

                          Billy Tse's is my favorite for American-Chinese.

                      2. re: ginnyhw

                        And what are these excellent drinks that you speak of? My memories of the place are overly sugary cocktails made from bottom shelf alcohol, extremely poor service and awful food. Friends of mine often joke that their kitchen is connected to Dragon Star, which is around the corner and also serves terrible American Chinese, but for a quarter of the price.

                        1. re: Chrispy75

                          I have to confess I love their mai tais as well. Not overly sugary at all. In fact, as long as I'm here I'll say it... (deep breath) I like GT on occasion as well. A guilty pleasure, I admit it. Except for one time, we've had excellent service, Food is usually very good, if not at all authentic, but I'm sure it's hit or miss. Not greasy. Comfortable seating, and an, um, intriguing architectural design. Like a car wreck, I can't stop looking at it.

                          1. re: Chrispy75

                            taste is definitely subjective so i respect differing opinions. i definitely have a different opinion of the place than you and many others--and explained why i like it. i hear a lot about how it's "awful" or "average" but no one elaborates so i have no clear picture. would you mind sharing what about the food you remember being awful?

                            1. re: will_forfood

                              Ok, I hope this is clear enough for you. Ma po had no flavor and was a watery mess, bbq spare ribs were way overcooked and tough, pot stickers were straight from the freezer, hot and sour soup was starchy as hell and almost of gelatin consistency, noodles were so greasy that the uneaten portion congealed and a white layer was left on the plate. All the items ordered lacked freshness and taste, which is ironic because all over their menu they claim that all their ingredients are of the highest grade etc.

                              1. re: Chrispy75

                                thanks for sharing. based on your experience, it does sound awful and i wouldn't return, either. i'm intrigued by the restaurant even more now because my food experience is so completely the opposite.

                            2. re: Chrispy75

                              My husband really likes their mai tai's and I like the stoli doli.s and we aren't into sweet drinks.The only cocktail we would normally order out is a dry martini and are basically beer and wine drinkers but Sam the bartender won us over with a few free cocktails. As I said in my post we just started going a few years ago - we moved to Beacon St. in 2005 and were exploring bars on C Line via the train. I had never wanted to go to the Golden Temple having had awful takeout at work from Dragon Star and then for several years the bar had a smoking variance from the town of Brookline. So your memories are probably true but how long has it been since you were there?

                        2. More importantly, how is the duck sauce?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: tamerlanenj

                            Their drinks are definitely not made with bottom shelf alcohol. I know this firsthand. Their martinis are on a par with any in the city. I love their Chicken Liver with Walnuts Appetizer and their Lemon Chicken. While it is certainly not authentic Chinese, I think their food is good and professionally served.

                            1. re: edgewater

                              I have been going to the golden temple for over 25 years--The food is always fresh
                              and the service is excellent--There is always one of the owners on the premises--
                              Frank and Fred willing to take care of you making sure your food and dining experience is superb. This place is awsome!!

                              Frankie Imbergamo

                              1. re: frankie Imbergamo

                                Yeah..I like the Golden Temple too. Old style Boston Chinese in a try to be updated atmosphere. It's a bit expensive if you start in with the drinks with alot of people at the table but if you paid $400 you hosed yourself. Go for lunch. All the luncheon specials are under $10 and there's plenty of variety and more than enough to eat!
                                Moe

                          2. When there this week, got sesame beef, and left fearing sudden onset diabetes (the chicken fried rice at $10 didn't sooth my worries). Why do I make these decisions?