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Best Chinese in Brookline for Christmas Eve

Any ideas on a nice Chinese spot in Brookline for Christmas Eve. Yes, it is a cliché but a damn good one. Somewhere nice, comfortable, service is good and we can take our time... enjoy the tea and order a few rounds. Food helps us, don't hurt us.

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  1. I would recommend the Golden Temple located at 1651 Beacon Street in Brookline.

    1. Oy vey! I absolutely deplore Golden Temple. Not only is it TOTALLY overpriced, but I do not find the waistaff to be accomodating to those that want to take their time and enjoy the meal. I also find the food to be way too americanized. I am just generally suspect when anyone recommends Golden Temple for Chinese. It's like calling Bernard's at the Mall authentic Chinese.

      While it may not be the best in Boston, Chef Chang's would definitely fit the bill. You can order a crispy peking duck to be carved tableside, a full bar, and a owner that will not rush you through the meal. There is also no attitude.

      1. You could try Zoe's. I agree that GT is way overpriced for Americanized Chinese or even authentic Chinese. Reminds me somewhat of a PF Chang's, but not even as good if you can believe it. However, I will say that the times I've been for cocktails, they were very generous on the pour.

        1. For the love of g-d please do not go to Golden Temple. SICHUAN GARDEN is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Boston outside of Chinatown and they are right in Brookline Village. Wow, this brings back memories. Growing up in Brookline we would go for Chinese or Thai every Christmas eve. Back then the options were Golden Temple, Chef Changs, Chef Chows, and for Thai there was only the little place near the police station, across ffrom town hall. I think it's some kind of Sushi place now. We almost always went to Chef Chows...haven't been to that place in 20 years! Is it still decent?

          8 Replies
            1. re: galleygirl

              Good Call! And as I recall, a mean green curry.

            2. re: tomaneng

              Sichuan Garden has a very limited menu in English. Take someone who can read Chinese.
              Not terribly accomodating to my veggie dc's questions about chicken or fish stock.

              1. re: FoodFemme

                They have copies of their chinese menu translated into english. You just ask for one and they're happy to oblige.

                1. re: tomaneng

                  I was last there in late October and they could not find any translated copies. The lady/owner said she used to have one but after 10 minutes of digging thru everything, concluded that they no longer did. All the hotpots are on that menu (among other things), so I just asked them to make us one without seeing a menu.

                  I wouldnt call the english menu limited though, it is rather large. I was specifically interested in the chinese menu though so that sorta bummed me out.

                  http://www.sichuangarden2.com/dinner....

                  1. re: hargau

                    Funny. When I've been there, they always have a translated copy of the Chinese menu but the descriptions can still leave you hanging. We always order from memory -- pig's foot, wenjun prawns, beef filets with napa cabbage, dumplings in chile vinaigrette. I love that place.

                    1. re: yumyum

                      How long ago since you have been there? She told me people take them and she now had no copies including her original. This was late October, perhaps she has found 1 and made copies since.

                      1. re: hargau

                        Our party was there in mid-November. They had plenty of those menus then, but as I say, we didn't really need them.

            3. Skip Golden Temple for sure unless you love Chinese food that tastes like the pink gooey stuff out of the bottle! Sichuan Garden or Chef Changs would be my recs. If you want Peking Duck, Chef Chang's for sure.

              The only downside with Sichuan Garden is that I find the food quality WAY better when I go with my Chinese friends vs on my own...no differential at Chef Chang's.

              1. Golden Temple is really only an option if you're already sloppy drunk and in need of a disgusting american appetizers and some sort of alcohol with a pineapple garnish.

                Do yourself a favor and go to Sichuan Garden. Or, if you don't like spicy, Chef Chang's. Supposedly their Peking Duck is great.

                Not sure if this is your thing, but Thai would also be fun for xmas. Khao Sarn is a great option with good bartending and good food. I like the food at Dok Bua better, but they don't have a bar.

                1. Golden Temple reminds me of when I was 10 and I thought Chinese food was bright red, overly-sweet spareribs, chow mein noodles and duck sauce, and pork egg foo young.

                  Don't do it. Sichuan Garden, Chef Chow's House or Chef Chang's house are better options.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mwk

                    Some of us still like that stuff and cherish our memories of "Chinese Polynesian." The egg rolls at Chan's Wai-Ki-Ki in Bergen County, NJ were heaven.

                    1. re: tamerlanenj

                      It's true -- sichuan garden is my favorite, and I love the peking duck at chef chang's, but it's impossible to replicate good old bergen county fare like general TSO's chicken and those great pu-pu platters! every town in bergen county had at least one of those long chinese takeout places which was almost entirely kitchen, with just a counter and one table up front. I miss those places...

                  2. Chef Chow has actually improved recently, I believe that they have a new chef from China. Now when I ask for something spicy (and emphasize this enough to the waiter) I get it really spicy.

                    1. If you are in Brookline, eating Chinese on Christmas Eve, you could do a lot worse that Sichuan Garden in Brookline Village.

                      If you want a little better ambience, Mandarin Gourmet in Putterham Circle is a good bet. Not a bad 10 minute ride out of the city (and you can check out the Christmas lights).

                      1. Mandarin Gourmet is not worth the trip; pretty tame suburban chinese. Stick with Sichuan Garden or Chef Changs.

                        1. I went to Chef Changs a few weeks ago. For the second time in a row, it was horrible horrible horrible.

                          1. I'd go for the Golden Temple, just for the cheese factor alone. Tacky Chinese places on Christmas Eve are always a good time, IMO.

                            But if you're looking for a nice place with good food, maybe not. :-D How about Shanghai Gate on the Allston/Brookline border? Lots of excellent pork, chicken, and beef dishes there. The beef dumplings are very good, and the chicken with black bean sauce is excellent.

                            1. Chef Changs, Chef Changs, Chef Changs.

                              I have been going there since it opened in 1979. I can count on my fingers (10 or less :-) ) the number of subpar meals I have had there. Always when Sue is not on premises. Sue and Tony are always there on Xmas eve, so expect excellent food and huge crowds.

                              1. I was just going to say it, but C. Hamster, beat me to it, that the last time I went to Chef Chang's around Xmas, the wait was really, really long. So be prepared.
                                Also, I like Golden Temple. And it's not what I would call 'tacky' anymore. Perhaps some of the Chowhounds have not been there since they completely renovated the place a few years ago.

                                1. I know I'm a little behind on this post, but I highly recommend Victoria's Restaurant on Commonwealth Avenue right before Packard's Corner. While it's in Boston, not Brookline, and the ambiance leaves something to be desired, the food is amazing and better than almost every Chinese restaurant in Brookline (and believe me - I've tried most of them).

                                  Sichuan Garden is also good, but it depends on what kind of Chinese food you want. Victoria's is more Cantonese/Hong Kong-style.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: lorita113

                                    Sorry, but I would steer clear of Victoria's. I had a decent twin lobster there, but I've had better ginger/scallion. Sauteed greens/garlic were impressive...More importantly, it was SO FILTHY that I swore I would never return.

                                    1. re: lorita113

                                      I, too, have been disappointed by Victoria. It's blocks from my house, and I've given them several tries over the years, especially after a good friend raved about them. I keep thinking maybe I just haven't ordered correctly, but most everything I've had there was kind of boring.

                                      I don't remember it being filthy, but another demerit is that I've always found the service somewhere between blase and unfriendly.

                                    2. Got take out from Golden Temple last night -- only reason we went there was because they serve it with brown rice. Price was double what it should have been and quality of the food was awful. I asked for spicy and got mild. Everything tasted exactly the same. I will never go there again.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: goodeater

                                        This matches my every experience of Golden Temple's food. It is a very nice space, though, which I guess upholds the old saw that most fancy-looking Chinese restaurants are covering up for the fact that they haven't put money into finding a decent chef.