HOME > Chowhound > Mid-Atlantic >


Westlake chinese on rt 34 keeps getting better

I liked this place since it arrived to be sure, but my latest visit was the best yet.

Their casserole dishes are as good as any I have had in Chinatown nyc, especially the new steak, chinese sausage and black mushroom one - yummy!

Fish swim in tanks in the back oblivious to the tasty fate that awaits them. Do yourself a favor and get one of the whole fish dishes if you go. I like the crispy ones, my wife prefers steamed, and we both love the ginger and scallion.

Also top notch is their salt and chili pepper pork chop or seafood dishes.

One last thing - I love real wonton soup. When I used to workout in Boston's chinatown many many years ago there was a small and now long gone place that would make big bowls of it that I almost lived on. You can recognize it by two things; crispy fresh lettuce is the only "garnish", and the wonton are wrinkled and look like little brains rather than triangular ravioli. Try a bowl.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You've got me hooked, Seal. I'm going this weekend for sure.

    1. Seal - I've never heard of this place. Do you have an address? I would love to go myself.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bgut1

        bgut, I don't have an address, but its located on Rt. 34 south in Matawan. Its at the end of a stripmall.

      2. It is 1016 Rt. 34 in the Pinecrest Plaza, just a bit south of where 34 and 79 cross.

        No website, but phone # is 732.290.2988

        Pick me up something? ;o)

        1 Reply
        1. re: seal

          seal, They do have a website: http://www.westlakeseafood.com

          Chinese food is not a favorite of mine, and the only Chinese restaurant in our area of NJ that I've ever really liked -- actually, loved! -- was the Chinese Kitchen, in Rumson, now long gone. But my husband likes Chinese food and occasionally goes off by himself to have lunch at one of the mediocre spots near our house. However, I always live in hope that I will find a Chinese restaurant nearby that is at least tolerable, which brings me to today....

          After reading your original post above this morning, come lunch time, I was struck with a huge urge to have some wonton soup. Since the husband, obviously, does not have to be coaxed to go for Chinese, and you spoke so glowingly of the wonton soup at West Lake, and we had never been there, off we went.

          It was just after 3 p.m. when we got there. There were no other patrons (though another couple came in right behind us), and all the cooks were sitting at a back table having lunch. The space is fairly large, has nice decor, comfortable seating, and was properly heated on this extremely cold afternoon.

          A pot of tea was immediately brought to our table, along with a small dish of pickled cabbage and carrots -- delicious! I could eat a whole bowl of that -- and another containing what I think were roasted peanuts. No Chinese noodles, duck sauce, or hot mustard. We did have to ask for water.

          They stop offering the lunch menu at 3, so we ordered off the regular menu.

          The wonton soup was as excellent as you said it was. Based on your comments, we decided to try the beef and turnips casserole. It was not exactly what either of us expected. While the sauce was excellent and we liked the turnips a lot, we didn't realize this dish contains not just beef but what turned out to be beef tendons. There was not a whole lot of meat, but whatever meat there was was very tasty. There were, however, lots of tendons. I've never had them before, and I found them so unappealing that I couldn't bring myself to taste any. My husband did try some and said they were o.k., but he wasn't enamoured. Too bad because we would have loved this dish if it had been strictly beef. :-( Btw, the menu lists it as "Beef Stew with Tulip." lol

          Despite this little disappointment, we will try West Lake again. Next time, the whole fish.

          Oh, and how did I discover they have a website? When we left the restaurant, my husband noticed that the signage in the window included the url.

        2. Sure .... What do you want?

          1. I used to order that casserole a lot, and as I spent some time living with a chinese family, I am not tendon shy. This is true chinese food that is not "westerned down" at all and, to be honest, my wife thinks it is gross as well ;o)

            Try the new beef, chinese sausage and black mushroom casserole next time. It has a yummy sauce and you will definately prefer the cut of beef they use.

            If I didn't cook beef curry casserole at home so often I would also order that one. Who am I kidding? I would order everything at least once.

            Dim Sum Sunday anyone? ;o)

            1 Reply
            1. re: seal

              Now that I know I'm not alone in my reaction to the tendons, I feel better. That other casserole does sound tasty. Thanks for the suggestion.

              When it come to being a culinary adventurer, you sound a lot like my husband. He is willing to give just about anything a try.

              We've never done dim sum. Are you serious about getting a group together?

            2. When it comes to eating I am always serious. Well, perhaps a wee bit silly, but mostly serious.

              And, if you like, we can skip the goose feet and jellyfish ;o)

              One thing though, seeing as how my organizational skills are, at best, sub-par, I will only say that I will get myself, my wife, and perhaps even my kids there at any agreed upon time. As for logistics, rules of the board, etc., I will leave that in more capable hands.

              1. With all the chatter on this board about West Lake, I had to try it myself. Since I am always commuting out of the Matawan train station, I figured, OK - -let me have the family meet me there! Well, the restaurant is quite unassuming -- especially when you arrive at night at the lovely strip mall parking lot.

                WELL --- being new to this board -- i have to say --- YOU GUYS ROCK! This place is like finding a needle in a haystack! Everyone was so nice at West Lake -- friendly and pleasant and couldn't do enough for us.

                The wonton soup was terrific --- really delicious - - with the crunchy lettuce and obviously hand made wontons. Yum! I had a spring roll too -- that was mighty fine with fresh ingredients inside.

                Since we were with our 12 yr old son, we had to order something on the simple side -- and he got the diced chicken & cashews -- - which came out so nicely presented with peas, cutely decorated carrots, celery, fresh mushrooms, and even pieces of ginger throughout. Amazly they made a boring dish quite scrumptious. Also had the prawns and honey walnuts -- that was really good -- nicely presented and the walnuts were like crack -- -full of flavor and i was trying to figure out how they made them - they were really good. The house fried rice was very good - but at this point - we had so much food -- we just took tons of leftovers home.

                The restaurant was really surprisingly good. Hey, i'm so glad i found this board! You guys are awesome! I can't wait to try more new places! I highly recommend it if you like chinese -- i felt like i was in Chinatown and saved $$$ on gas / parking !

                Definitely go! You'll love it. I surely will be back!

                7 Replies
                1. re: CNJFoodie

                  Welcome to our terrific group of Central NJ Hounds, CNJFoodie! :-) Thanks for that detailed report. Glad you enjoyed West Lake. Despite the fact that I thought I knew just about all the Chinese restaurants in the vicinity, I, like you, discovered this "hidden gem" via this board. (Well, given all the discussion here about it, it's not exactly hidden any more.) I hope you will chime in often with your other dining experiences.

                  1. re: RGR

                    I'll tell you how funny this board is. I was out with my newly 8 yr old daughter this morning and reading this post made me think of West Lake for lunch.

                    We opened the place at 11:30. Well, they did have a few take outs in the works, but Emily proclaimed us the first to sit. We ate our bowls of soup and she picked out the sweet sausage pieces in our beef, sausage and black mushroom casserole.

                    I love this board.

                    1. re: seal

                      I'm sold! Dying to go! one thing, my dining partner is a vegetarian (eats fish though) still a good option??

                      1. re: stack_c

                        Here's West Lake's website where you can check out the menu: http://www.westlakeseafood.com . Looks to me as though there are vegetarian-friendly dishes, and if she eats fish, then you're golden.

                        1. re: RGR

                          Man, I love their pictures page...can you say Food Porn? Yum.

                    2. re: RGR

                      Oh, I'll chime in for sure, don't you worry. I can't believe it took me this long to find this web site/message board! This is going to be my new hobby !! Enjoy your weekend and I'm looking forward to hearing more about your restaurant finds. You give great, honest reviews from what I have seen.

                      1. re: CNJFoodie

                        Thanks for the compliment, CNJFoodie. :-) I have to say that one of the best things about all the Central NJ Hounds on this board is that they all provide very honest assessments of their dining experiences. We many not always agree, but we've come to know that we can trust each other's judgment.