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Golden Garden

cambridgedoctpr Mar 5, 2011 07:51 AM

the food was again excellent though at 7 45, when i showed up, there were still only a 4 tables in use.

i hope that they survive and hope that anyone with a blog or a column will try their food.

Golden Garden
63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

  1. p
    pedxing Mar 4, 2013 05:58 PM

    I loved a lot about this place at first, but it seems to be slowly slipping. Reliable items such as the dumplings, the cumin lamb, the shredded potato and the spicy wings have all been disappointing the last few visits. I think it's falling out of my list of Chinese places to go to. Have others been disappointed as well?

    1 Reply
    1. re: pedxing
      saria Mar 5, 2013 12:12 AM

      I went maybe a week ago and the dumplings were wonderful --- my favorites along with Wang's. I also had the chicken with chilli sauce and it was completely delicious. I'm looking forward to going again in a few days.

    2. c
      Chef Bwana Oct 10, 2012 07:47 PM

      Our first experience with Golden Garden tonight (take out). Ordered the H&S Wonton, pork shrimp leek dumplings, cumin lamb , cilantro beef & sautéed string beans (+ white rice). Wife and I both LOVED the soup! Dumplings yummy. Lamb was awesome, but had to keep an eye out for chilis (direct hits were a bit too hot). Cilantro beef, good but a bit on the salty side. String beans may have been having an off night (way overcooked for our taste). And lastly the rice was, well next time I think I'll make my own. Overall, very positive, with plenty of leftovers to reassess over the next couple of days. Except for that rice. Right in the bin.

      Has anyone tried their Beef Tendon? Compared to Shangri-La?

      They really should set someone up on the sidewalk, lemonade stand style with that soup.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chef Bwana
        Alcachofa Oct 11, 2012 08:14 AM

        My wife would prefer that I eat that soup outside on the sidewalk. She is not a fan of the smell!

        Had GG a couple weeks ago. Still great.

        Sorry, have not yet had the tendon there.

        1. re: Alcachofa
          cambridgedoctpr Oct 11, 2012 02:28 PM

          I have had the tendon, and it is excellent though I cannot compare it to Shangri-La. I have had it at Thailand Cafe and think highly of both. Thank Striper for the soup recommendation; he was dead on.

      2. Aromatherapy May 1, 2012 02:12 PM

        They've added a few new specials (jotted in Chinese on the in-house menus). The waitress translated for me, as best she could. Forgive me if my comprehension/memory fails:
        Steamed chicken leg with black mushroom
        Some sort of pork and noodle dish that's half hot, half cold
        Sweet and sour pork (Chinese style!)
        Three delight--eggplant, potato, hot green pepper (I think somebody was looking for this)
        Long-steamed pork skin (cold dish)

        I'm probably forgetting something. Anyhow, the 3 Delights is a nice homey dish--pretty much just what it says it is. These potatoes are *not* crunchy--they're big chunks (surely preboiled) fried together with the other 2. It wasn't very spicy at all but that depends on the peppers. I think the leftovers will be very happy nestled up to a grilled pork chop.

        Long as I'm at it: the Pork Kidney w/Spicy Chili Sauce is another stir-fry, with carrot , hot green peppers, and cloud ear, with plenty of dried red chili chunks. Really good. And I finally got around to the sour cabbage w/bacon recently, and kicked myself for taking so long. Not sure what I was expecting, but it's another big brothy bowl with lots of cellophane noodles, and it's really delicious. The bacon is definitely a supporting player, the dish is not greasy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Aromatherapy
          cambridgedoctpr May 1, 2012 03:28 PM

          i brought the sour cabbage with bacon to one of my colleagues; her husband is from Alsace and thought this food makes North West China sort of the Alsace of China. I agree, and when i was there two weeks ago, they were still not very busy. But it looked as though they would survive.

        2. hounda Feb 24, 2012 02:35 PM

          I wanted to like this place, I really did. We got take out, no problem there. The dumplings are very good, we got the pork with chinese cabbage.

          I found the hot and sour soup, and the fried chicken fingers average. Better across town at Shangri-La.

          I found the general tso's chicken uneatable, and based on that I doubt we will give the place a second try - other proven options in the neighborhood haven't let me down.

          4 Replies
          1. re: hounda
            StriperGuy Feb 24, 2012 03:50 PM

            Hmmm, you ordered NONE of the items they are known for that are discussed heavily above, NONE of the Manchurian items and just Americanized Chinese.

            As mentioned above, their Americanized Chinese is mediocre.

            And by the way I think they make the best Hot and Sour in Boston.

            1. re: StriperGuy
              cambridgedoctpr Feb 24, 2012 05:00 PM

              their hot and sour dumpling soup is dynamite; I tried it following your suggestion. I am not sure about their regular hot and sour soup. there are better places for those who want Americanized chinese food; that is true

            2. re: hounda
              grant.cook Feb 24, 2012 04:53 PM

              Isn't is humorous yet sort of saddening that a regionally-focused Chinese restaurant gets slammed because of the quality of its General Tso's chicken. Next time I am in Rome, the Chicken Parm's better be exquisite!

              1. re: hounda
                bear Feb 24, 2012 05:24 PM

                If you do give it a try again, try the spicy chicken wings if you like spice. After Striper rightly raved about them we got two orders along with pork and leek dumplings. Both most excellent.

              2. hondodog May 6, 2011 05:55 PM

                I must have some bad juju these days. Went to Golden Garden tonight and the net net is that my wife and son say that GG is on their do-not-repeat list. Why? Because it took foreveeeeeer to get our food. It took 45 minutes from the time our order was taken to the time that the last 2 (of 3) entrees made it to the table. We were famished. I've been to places where you need to timeplan the meal (as in: you go there when you know you'll be hungry in an hour), but I don't get the feeling that GG is such a place...normally.

                So, tell me, CHers: did I enter a parallel universe where everything is the same as what you describe EXCEPT that GG runs slower...and me and my family are the only folks I know in that parallel universe? Or is this aspect of the GG experience just an unwritten truth in your universe that I seemed to have missed?

                BTW we arrived at 7pm on a Friday night. Almost all the tables were taken and I didn't see any signs that we had just arrived/ordered after a big party or a big takeout order. Food was pretty darn good...I wouldn't say exceptional. Best dish award goes to Potato and Sour Stuff dish. But again....I must be in some weird universe as I was the only one at the table who enjoyed that dish (but maybe that's a good thing!)...our family's tastes normally run on the same track.

                Golden Garden
                63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                10 Replies
                1. re: hondodog
                  FoodDabbler May 6, 2011 07:31 PM

                  What were the other two dishes? Which of the three came first, and how long did it take?

                  1. re: FoodDabbler
                    hondodog May 6, 2011 07:57 PM

                    Ah...details details. The other two entrees were the-you-can't-leave-this-place-without-ordering-it Lamb with Cumin and the other dish was a Chicken with Yu Xiang Sauce. We also, per instructions received here, ordered the Hot and Sour Soup. The Soup came lickety split.

                    The chicken arrived at the 20 minute mark or so. Then big big delay (like, another 25 minutes) and then the Lamb and Potato dishes arrived within a coupla minutes of each other.

                    Gotta say, that the Lamb with Cumin at Qingdao was better; the lamb tonite was a bit dry and thus not particularly pleasing, mouthfeel-wise. The dish smelled better than it tasted. The chicken was good, but not quite up to being a keeper...just didn't have much of "special" in terms of taste or texture or smell. It was good, it was competent, I'd eat it again...I just wouldn't go super far out of my way for it.

                    1. re: hondodog
                      FoodDabbler May 6, 2011 08:23 PM

                      I think that these occasional inconsistencies and glitches are to be expected at the price point of a place like GG that turns out very good (often superb) food without having the resources to do so with Seal Team Six-like consistency and precision. If it's a busier than expected evening, or they are short-staffed by one, they probably don't have the resources to be quite at their best. My experience with them is that they're efficient, but I can see how they might occasionally not be, or might occadionally put out a less-than-stellar dish. I'm sorry you experienced these things, but I think it's worth giving them another shot. Perhaps delivery (if you're in their area)?

                      1. re: FoodDabbler
                        hondodog May 6, 2011 08:32 PM

                        Delivery? I wish. I live in a kind of culinary anti-black hole. It's called Concord, MA (well, not a perfect black hole...80 Thoreau just opened and now there is promise here).

                        Belmont is far enough away to be "a trip" and, while I completely understand your point and "get it", my family's patience got busted on the wait tonite. You only get one first chance...and my family doesn't have the advantage, that I do, of reading CH on a regular basis.

                        (Just as a note of background, we recently had a vacation in Barbados, and we visited some great restaurants, but oh-my-gosh they can make you wait down there for your food. I think part of my family's response to GG was partly an echo of what happened in Barbados.)

                        1. re: hondodog
                          FoodDabbler May 6, 2011 08:52 PM

                          Yes, that's a tough obstacle to surmount. Perhaps if you're in the area yourself you can do takeout one day and woo your family back. But, if your standards are set by Qingdao you're doing pretty well already so it may be hard to muster the energy to give GG a second chance. It's worth it, in my view, for some of the distinctive dishes at GG not on the Q menu, but you have to experience them to know this.

                          1. re: hondodog
                            lc02139 May 6, 2011 08:57 PM

                            I think the big problem was you didn't order any dumplings, to quell the rebellion. It sounds like if they only had a couple of tables open that they were busy and if you add a couple of take out orders on top of that the kitchen will be busy. Did you happen to notice if other tables where getting their food before or after you got yours?? Friday nights can be tough for small places that can't staff up for 2 days of the week that are really busy.
                            I would give them another chance but maybe pick a less busy time and order the dumplings.
                            I would be surprised if you wouldn't have had to wait to get a table at Quindao or shangrila at that time of day.

                            1. re: lc02139
                              StriperGuy May 7, 2011 04:05 AM

                              dumplings would have saved the day.

                              1. re: StriperGuy
                                hondodog May 7, 2011 04:44 AM

                                Yeah. My bad. I now need a wayback machine to fix this. I thought the soup would be pretty durn good and, us not being soup people, would be surprised and overwhelmed by its wonderfullness so that the First Impression would be compelling.

                                Oops. Sounds like dumplings woulda been that thing.

                                Maybe I'll just have to go back by myself and then I can give a first person account to my loved ones and bring them back...

                            2. re: hondodog
                              cambridgedoctpr May 7, 2011 02:28 PM

                              i hope that you will give them a chance on a non weekend night. I would have recommended the hot and sour soup with wontons; something i learned from Striper.

                              I prefer GG to Q though Q is also a worthy Chinese place. What are your favorite dishesat Quindao?

                      2. re: hondodog
                        heypielady May 9, 2011 06:53 AM

                        I have only gone on week nights when its been pretty empty. The lamb has always been moist and delicious. One of the reasons we go there (other than delicious food) is its proximity to our work places and the fact that we can get in and out in an hour which is certainly a plus on a school night.

                        Sorry your experience did not mimic mine!

                      3. Alcachofa May 5, 2011 07:31 AM

                        Golden Garden was awesome on all counts last night. You know how sometimes, you'll order a bunch of things, and most are good, but a couple are just OK? Not last night! Everything was DEElicious.

                        We had the vegetable leek pie (more like a pancake than a pie), the bamboo shots w/sesame oil, and the sautéed string beans, for the veggie elements of our dinner. All fantastic. The bamboo shots had the perfect amount of oil—not overly coated, just enough to give it the taste you want. We ordered the sautéed cumin lamb, and though we actually intended to order the lamb teriyaki, this was outstanding. I will definitely order again. It had a nice bit of heat to it. Not an insane amount of heat (kwagle would probably not be satisfied), but the spice added a nice kick. Also, not an overly "lamby" flavor, for those of you who are generally lamb averse. Finally, the beef with cilantro was even better than I remember from the last time I ordered it.

                        Speaking of "last time", I had ordered the potatoes with sour sauce then, and it really grew on me over time. It was "fine" when I had it for dinner, but somehow, when I had leftovers the next day, it was like, "WOW these are good." So, give them another shot if you've only had them once. Or maybe they need to sit for a day. I’ll try that method again.

                        While I’m piling on the love, we've also purchased frozen dumplings from GG, and they are great as well. "Better than Wang’s???" Possibly, but I have not done a side-by-side comparison, so my memory could be off.

                        Golden Garden
                        63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Alcachofa
                          heypielady May 5, 2011 01:55 PM

                          Wow! We were there last night as well! I was sensing a Chowhound vibe in the room. I branched out! Started with the hot and sour wonton soup for two: very unique and delicious on a rainy night. The yummy wontons gave me a good reason to skip the dumplings for once and try something else. We also ordered the cucumber with garlic. When I tasted it I exclaimed that it was nice and vinegar-y and Mr. agreed saying "yeah, like a pickle". So think of it as a really fresh pickle. The dried chicken with chili sauce was kind of like an awesome buffalo wing without the bones and skin... you know the good kind that are dry and not just sauced as an afterthought. I couldn't stop eating those. For a vegetable we had the pea shoots...good but I prefer the shanghai vegetables.

                          1. re: Alcachofa
                            yumyum May 5, 2011 02:03 PM

                            The leftover bamboo shoots were even better today as well. I really love that food, and the speedy delivery!

                          2. hiddenboston Apr 19, 2011 07:17 AM

                            Several of us returned to the place over the weekend. The shredded potatoes in sour sauce was excellent, as was the shredded dried beef in chili sauce. And the Singapore noodles were more savory than hot, with a real licorice taste coming from the star anise. Great stuff, though I had an even better meal at one of my faves the night before--Apsara in the West End of Providence.

                            1. h
                              heypielady Apr 15, 2011 09:05 AM

                              I had a another great meal at GG on Tuesday. Actually, I think it was the best its been. I have to admit I haven't been branching out that much in my ordering (i.e. I HAVE TO order shrimp pork leek dumplings and the cumin lamb).

                              New to me was the green bean noodles with spicy sauce which I ordered based on other hounds recommendations. When the waitress delivered it she said "bean curd with spicy sauce" Same thing? I know that tofu-y texture is not my husbands favorite so I noted that it was kind of like the texture of eggs whites on a hard boiled egg and he willingly gobbled it up. The sauce really made it though. Spicy but not too much burn with a little bit of crunch to it.

                              I also ordered the "Shanghai Vegetables" not really knowing what I would be getting and being to lazy to ask. Turns out it was baby bok choy (or maybe choy sum). It was sauteed until bright green and lightly seasoned. I loved it and it made for good leftovers the next day.

                              And the cumin lamb... It was better than ever! Those thin pieces of lamb were so savory and so tender and melt in your mouth.

                              Can't wait to go back.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: heypielady
                                StriperGuy Apr 15, 2011 10:06 AM

                                Try the Hot and Sour Won Ton soup. My wifes fav. I bit like Mary Chungs Suan La Chow Cho, but soupier and tastier.

                                Mary Chung Restaurant
                                460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                  GretchenS Apr 20, 2011 10:39 AM

                                  Thanks entirely to this post, when I found myself out of the office at lunchtime today, I stopped by Golden Garden to try the hot and sour won ton soup. I couldn't resist ordering the addictive vegetable leek pie too. There was one other party of four there, and I quickly realized that one of them had to be a Chowhound although the word had not (at that point) crossed his lips. The soup was delicious, light but very flavorful broth, melt-in-your-mouth won tons, tiny baby bok choy (or similar). The pie was as fabulous as always. By the time I finished my meal, I was sure that the 'hound adjacent could be none other than StriperGuy himself, and so he proved to be. So a delicious meal was capped by meeting someone whose posts I have long enjoyed, altogether a good reason to find myself out of the office at lunchtime more often.

                                  Golden Garden
                                  63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                                  1. re: GretchenS
                                    StriperGuy Apr 20, 2011 11:00 AM

                                    Great to meet ya!

                                2. re: heypielady
                                  newhound Apr 15, 2011 07:13 PM

                                  I'm in the same great rut-- cumin lamb and pork shrimp leek dumplings. I did notice last week that the lamb had less heat and a lot fewer of the charred dried chilis. But this is quibbling....

                                  1. re: newhound
                                    cambridgedoctpr Apr 16, 2011 10:50 AM

                                    i took striper recommendation and had the hot and sour won ton soup; i agree with his description. i was heartened to see that they were busy on a friday night.

                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                      StriperGuy Apr 16, 2011 11:53 AM

                                      Glad u liked it.

                                      1. re: StriperGuy
                                        cambridgedoctpr Apr 16, 2011 02:35 PM

                                        thanks; you and mc are the best. you two should be in the business.

                                  2. re: heypielady
                                    tdaaa Apr 18, 2011 07:19 AM

                                    Stopped in early saturday evening and ordered way to much food for takeout. The cumin lamb was fabulous - spicy, tender goodness. The pork/leek/shrimp dumplings were pretty good. COuldn't remember which soup stripe had recommended so ended up with vegie/tofu which had a really rich broth and soft tofu but was boring compared to the lamb. Having it for lunch today instead.

                                    I stopped in and ordered on my way back from the hardware store - only took about 10 minutes and they gave me a nice cup of tea while I waited. They were very nice, despite the fact that I was looking really rough.

                                    1. re: tdaaa
                                      StriperGuy Apr 18, 2011 07:56 AM

                                      HA. They created that soup at my wife's request on a day when she wanted something mild.

                                      It is a bit bland.

                                      The good ones are the Hot and Sour Dumpling soup, and the spicey noodle pork soup.

                                      1. re: StriperGuy
                                        tdaaa Apr 18, 2011 09:06 AM

                                        I was trying to stay away from the americanized items. It wasn't bad, just bland. Maybe I'll add some ass blaster hot sauce and see how it is.

                                  3. f
                                    FoodDabbler Mar 5, 2011 08:33 AM

                                    The reopening of Qingdao is bad news for them. Last night we got delivery from Q not GG. (It was excellent and they sounded very busy at Q.)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: FoodDabbler
                                      alohagirl Mar 5, 2011 08:57 AM

                                      I've been getting takeout from Golden Garden and the food has been delicious. I love their spicy cumin lamb, their dumplings, their noodles, sour cabbage and bacon, and their tofu. It is usually not very full at the restaurant but I think they are getting a good number of takeout orders. Please continue to eat and order from there, as they are super-nice and the food is so yummy and reasonably priced.

                                      Golden Garden
                                      63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                                    2. MC Slim JB Mar 5, 2011 08:09 AM

                                      They got a nice Cheap Eats review in the Globe this week. I'm sorry I don't get out to Belmont more.


                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                                        PinchOfSalt Mar 5, 2011 08:48 AM

                                        That's great news for GG. Thanks for sharing it!

                                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                                          cambridgedoctpr Mar 5, 2011 11:28 AM

                                          you should make the trek; i am pretty sure that your review would help them.

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