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Feb 5, 2011 08:53 AM

Golden Garden - More Hits Than Misses

This review is for takeout only. I wish I could give 3.5 stars, but I'll err on the side of generosity, because the food was some of the best suburban Chinese I've tried.

However, the experience didn't start out great, because the line was busy for 15 minutes as I tried to place my order--although I guess this is a good sign, since many people were clearly calling!
Finally got through. Ordered cucumbers with garlic; pork, shrimp and leek dumplings; pork intestine in spicy sauce; and the sauteed cumin-lamb dish so many others here have raved about.

There was a thick language barrier, and the woman on the other end kept insisting I wanted pork with xo sauce. Finally, confident they'd gotten our order right, I hung up and dispatched my Swanky other half to get the food.

Upon arrival, there was a feud at the host stand. Apparently one diner waiting for a table yelled at the host, "I'm going someplace where I'll actually be served FOOD!" Got our order but double-checked and sure enough, they'd given us pork with xo sauce. Brought it to host's attention and they went to get the intestine dish we ordered.

Brought home our order and bags were leaking everywhere--food packages weren't thoroughly closed, so not the best start. We were also missing a carton of rice.

However: The cukes with garlic were great. Others here noted lack of garlic, but this wasn't the case for us. It was plenty garlicky, though I would have preferred the cukes sliced a bit thinner--they were chunky and a bit unwieldy. Dumplings were terrific--chewy yet light, with unexpected bursts of juiciness. Liked the dipping sauce--clean, vinegary, and tart. My pork intestine was very good although I would recommend it as a sharing dish. It's very rich and swimming in a slightly oily sauce. Very well-spiced, though not spicy as promised. Cumin-lamb was terrific. Not overpowered by cumin, tender, spiced just right, with thin slices of peppers and carrots.
Definitely a big hit.

We'll certainly be going back, although I might recommend eating in.

Golden Garden
63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

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  1. Thanks for the report, there was some concern on this board that they don't get enough steady buisness to do well at that locations, but the food was promising enough that we didn't want it to go puff. I've only been there at lunch and only a couple of tables eating in. Hopefully their buisness gets steady enough that the can work on staffing. When I have gone never had problems with service and they are so nice.

    1. To take this review on it's own tangent....

      Once we move into the realm of Chow-worthy restaurants... is it fair to judge them on their take-out? If you think about it, most restaurant chefs, as well as home cooks, prepare their dish to be at it's best within a minute of plating and service. To have it dumped into a plastic tub/clamshell, then a bag, and driven 12.4 minutes away, then replated (possibly reheated), is it then OK for us to judge that dish compared to what the chef/cook would have put in front of you straight from the kitchen?

      3 Replies
      1. re: okra

        Hmm, well, no matter how much love I have for this restaurant, I think it is fair to point out problems with packaging of take-out food or the correctness of an order. However I am with you when you point out that the food itself can suffer from being transported home. No restaurant should be held to account if a lovely crispy morsel turns soggy after spending 20 minutes in a take-out container. Quite the contrary, it is up to the diner to choose wisely from a take-out menu. I know that when I do take-out from Golden Garden I take pains to stick with dishes that will stand up well to the 10 minute ride to my table at home. One of my favorites - not to knock GG's scrumptious shrimp/pork/leek dumplings - is the vegetable dumplings. The filling has a wonderful crunchy texture. Drool.

        Golden Garden
        63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

        1. re: PinchOfSalt

          For what it's worth, I don't think the flavor or texture of the food was whatsoever altered by it being takeout. I just wished it had been tightly packaged. Also forgot to mention that the intestine tasted just as good re-heated the next day.

        2. re: okra

          If the restaurant prints up paper take-out menus, then it's totally reasonable to judge it on the quality of its take-out. Some dishes are definitely going to be better if you get them at the restaurant, but Chinese take-out is pretty much an American institution.

        3. I haven't had takeout from GG, but have had delivery many, many, many times. I've never had a problem with the packaging. I've had the occasional communication issue, though, especially with the pork intestine. Try saying "pork interesting" next time. I've found it to work.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FoodDabbler

            Pork Intestine = Pork Interesting

            I agree!

          2. Went there last night for some anti-Superbowl fun and had a great experience. Cumin lamb was wonderful as always, spicy shredded potatoes were delicious and fiery with a delicate tooth to them, an eggplant dish whose name has slipped my mind offered a nice sweet contrast, and we also had the whole fish that is listed at the bottom of the 'house specialties' page was deep fried and covered with a brown sauce with ground pork was perfectly cooked and very flavorful. Fried dumplings were great as always and I get bags of their frozen ones which are as good as Wang's or Quindao's, but with a bit more of a delicate skin which requires them to be handled with care. We will be back, hopefully lots more Chow love will keep them open in that miserable neighborhood.

            9 Replies
            1. re: suzysue2

              Hmm, I would not say that the neighborhood is miserable. It's actually a fine place to live. The problem is that it is almost purely residential and the foot traffic near Golden Garden is minimal. Having said that, I am well beyond due for a fix of GG chow myself...

              Golden Garden
              63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

              1. re: PinchOfSalt

                It's a bit of a mixed neighborhood, don't you think? Blanchard road nearby has an unappealing quality to it (although we get our pet food from the discount pet store thereabouts). Plus the restaurant is positioned in a way that it's hard to see from the correct side of Concord till you're on it. And, as you say, the foot traffic is minimal in those reaches of Belmont (unlike much of residential Cambridge).

                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                  Perhaps not miserable, but it is an awkward spot for a resto, and that intersection doesn't really have a whole lot of charm to it...

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    Yes. Were it not for your original recommendation, it would never have occurred to me to try the restaurant. That intersection does not inspire optimism or hope. But how many people are lucky enough to have their own StriperGuy to tell them about GG? Perhaps we should market you as an iPad app.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        What are you on the iPod? StriperGod?

                        1. re: FoodDabbler

                          @Annoyingfoodweenie on twitter which is also the name of the app...

                          kidding, I'm kidding

                  2. re: PinchOfSalt

                    Sorry, in the grand scheme of things 'miserable' might be a bit extreme considering the property values there are probably higher than they are in 85% of the U.S., however, sitting at a table and looking out at shuttered businesses doesn't exactly inspire hope. On the plus side the parking is a breeze.

                  3. re: suzysue2

                    There are people who would kill to live in such a bad 'hood.

                  4. Went with a friend Saturday night and had the cumin lamb for the first time -- it was as good as all of you had said. Also pea tendrils and dumplings, equally excellent. Just the right amount of food, didn't want any leftovers on account of looming Super Bowl party. The phone never stopped ringing while we were there.