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Anyone Been to House of Chang in Cambridge?

Has anyone been to House of Chang on Concord Ave. in Cambridge? I believe it's in the spot where Lucky Garden used to be. The restaurant's website says the owners served the people of Newton and Lexington in years but I haven't been able to figure out the names of their former establishments. What's the food at the new place like?

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  1. Menu looks VERY Americanized. Hard to compete with Shangri-La.

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    Shangri-La
    149 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478

    5 Replies
    1. re: StriperGuy

      The menu is very disappointing. It only opened yesterday but according to neighbors, the owners are very nice and the interior is a big improvement from Lucky (yucky) Garden.

      I'll probably check it out in the next week or so but I don't have high hopes since neither Newton nor Lexington has ever had a great Chinese restaurants (the exception being the northern breakfasts at Chung Xin Yuan).

      1. re: beetlebug

        I certainly agree that Chung Shin Yuan is special. But I also think Denian's in Lexington is quite special for Chinese buns, and in the old days Hunan Palace on Galen St (maybe this is technically Watertown but was right on the border) was special, and there were certain dishes at the now departed Ru Yee and Golden Star that were special too. Also, isn't Green Tea 2 in Newton?

        I am nit-picking here, because I agree that the great Chinese restaurants seem to be in further-outlying suburbs.

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        Chung Shin Yuan
        183 California St, Newtonville, MA 02458

        Denian's
        315 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA

        Green Tea Restaurant
        2 Beacon St, Framingham, MA 01701

        1. re: lipoff

          I disagree about Denian's being a special for Chinese buns. The buns I've had there were fine but not particularly noteworthy. I love the idea of a bun place and Lexington needs better than decent Chinese restaurants. To me, Denian's isn't worth a special out of the way trip.

          As for the other places, I can't comment on the special places and it doesn't look like I'll be able to since the restaurants are no longer there. However, I'm looking for a great Chinese restaurant, not just a mediocre restaurant with a couple of special dishes. Especially because fickle me may be in the mood for other dishes than the special ones.

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          Denian's
          315 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA

          1. re: beetlebug

            For the record, Denian's is closed. The big loss, IMO, is their fabulous pot stickers, succulent and flavorful like none I have had elsewhere.

      2. re: StriperGuy

        I went there yesterday for a second time and got a taste of their Chinese New Year special menu, which I found on their website. The food was pretty authentic and tasty. It is absolutely worth checking out.

      3. I went for lunch today. Although a spiffy awning doesn't quite cover up the old cinder block, the interior is much improved. The solid-color walls, spare decor, and wood tables remind me a bit of Shanghai Gate. The food all looks very Americanized. I had the Chung-king spicy pork, which was pleasant but bland and had too many green peppers, although some thick bamboo shoots were a plus. The vegetable spring roll, tasteless and greasy, arrived long after the pork. The owners were extremely solicitous, and a fellow at the next table recommended (correctly!) that they add soup to the lunch specials. Also, weirdly, someone ordered a lunch special with brown rice, and they brought the plate with white rice, and then another bowl of brown rice.

        So the House of Chang, unlike its predecessor, may be "above the line" for an occasional visit by those of us who live in the neighborhood, but earns no higher marks than that.

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        Shanghai Gate
        204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

        1. I checked it out the other day during lunch. The food was excellent and the service was good. No complaints.

          1. I stopped in for a quick lunch today. The interior and service were great. The owner has been working so hard to bring this restaurant into being, with the lovely awning and re-doing the inside.

            That being said, this isn't a special Chinese restaurant. That may not be fair for me to say since I went for lunch and it was mostly lunch specials. I did order the suan la chao shou which is on their dinner menu. The dumplings themselves were very good, clearly home wrapped dumplings with a nice filling (just the right amount of filling v. overstuffed). But the suace was a bit one dimensional.

            I also order the kung pao chicken. The food was very fresh and made just for me. Perfectly diced chicken pieces with freshly fried peanuts and not an overabundance of celery. But, again, the sauce lacked something. Actually, it lacked a great chili bean paste to bring out the flavor.

            But, I do think if you are looking for American Chinese food, this could be an excellent place to get it. There may be a banquet room upstairs - I forgot to ask. There are a couple of dishes on their special menu that I'm curious about so I may try them for dinner. This would also be a good place to go if you are in the area and you don't want italian food (Gran Gusto, Pulcinella, Armando's or Village Kitchen). It's many steps above Lucky Garden and I do wish them well.

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            Village Kitchen
            359 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

            1. We had a wonderful dinner there a few days ago.

              Dining room is very pretty and calm; clean and modern -- a vast improvement over it's former incarnation as Lucky Garden. Food was excellent -- we had "the classics" -- hot & sour soup, won-ton soup, scallion pancake and General Gao's chicken. The soups were served very hot and both were tasty. The General Gao was some of the best we've had -- very tender chicken and crisp-tender broccoli. The scallion pancake was perfect -- tasty, very hot and just a teensy bit greasy. YUM!! Brown rice (yay!) Service was attentive but not intrusive.

              A GREAT addition to the neighborhood. Of course take-out is always great and (drumroll please...) they deliver to Cambridge!!

              Is it the most authentic or most gourmet of Chinese restaurants around? I'll leave that for others. For me -- it was pretty, low-key, reasonably priced and the food was quite good. And sometimes that's all I need.

              2 Replies
              1. re: zisseh

                Sounds like tasty American Chinese food, which is the very best comfort food when it is great. Was the General Gao's dark or light meat? And did you find it too heavy? I don't order it much anymore because it seems like if it often just too heavy, though I love it when it is done well.

                1. re: hckybg

                  Disappointed but not at all surprised to read this is mediocre Chinese food, but will give it a try as it's in the neighborhood. BTW how come noone mentions Sichuan Garden in Brookline? In my mind the best Chinese hands down in the Boston area. Order off the special menu.