Rice Valley in Newton?
Has anyone tried the new Rice Valley restaurant on Washington Street in Newton? It's in the location of the former Golden Star. I read a review in the Globe that made it sound like a refreshing, less greasy take on Chinese, which sounds great to me. I'm curious if any Chowhounds have tried it and what their opinions are. Thanks!
I tried it three times for lunch on three consecutive Mondays when Shangri-la in Belmont was closed. The first visit, the food seemed fine and I was excited to try it again. Each subsequent time after that, the food was overly salty (too much soy sauce) and goopy with cornstarch. Two very different dishes tasted exactly the same because the cooks clearly use a master sauce which they ladle onto everything, drowning out the flavors of the meats and vegetables.
The third visit (and last one ever), the manager came to ask why I didn't finish my lunch and I told him it was just too salty for me. He said that they'd had other complaints about the saltiness and he would speak to the cooks. He mentioned that they use a master sauce, which they make every morning and he would ask them to use less salt. I told him that it may be easier for the cooks but the result is that everything tastes the same and it's drowning out the flavor of the ingredients. I suggested that he take a trip to Shangri-la to see what can be done even for the most mundane of dishes when the sauces are freshly made and he said he would. I was so hoping that this restaurant could be my Monday go-to place for lunch. But alas, it's not meant to be.
My family ordered take-out from them tonight. I only tried the food as leftovers a couple of hours later, but it was pretty dismal. The two dishes left were a string bean and broccoli dish, and one with mixed vegetables and chicken. Both had excessive amounts of very gloppy sauce. The report from my family was that everything was gloppy when they ate it a few hours earlier, too. The scallion pancake left, although soggy, seemed decent - less greasy than most. Overall though, I had much higher hopes from the review in the Globe. This food wasn't any fresher-tasting than run-of-the-mill take-out Chinese. It was definitely worse than what I've had from Shing Yee and Ru Yee. I'll have to reread that review and see what the author ordered, because it certainly wasn't what my family ordered!
I've been there just once but I was impressed with the flavor, lightness and service. The wontons with bean sprouts were delightful as an appetizer, and the sauteed string beans were the best I've ever had in a Chinese restaurant. I'm eager to return.