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Mar 28, 2011 08:12 AM

Why no good Chinese Cuisine west? 帮助

Had a sad take out experience from a former Chinatown Chef now in Wellesley. HIs food was once as good as any of the better Mandarin or Cantonese kitchens downtown. Last night every dish was lacking both in taste and technique. I get the western morph on Chinese food but can anyone vouch for a place west of the city? Although I know we have fairly few tremendous Sino supperettes round The Hub compared to Outer Boroughs, Toronto or SF but when I can cook better than the local restaurants something has gone terribly wrong. I like Taiwan Cafe, Fuloon, Szechuan Gourmet and some Dim Sum. Never had Bejing Star or Chung Shin Yuan. Very excited about getting a big party to Quick Pic. Still, what about the regular thing. 帮助

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  1. Not sure how far west you're considering, but in Belmont, there's Shangri-La and Golden Garden. In Framingham, there's Uncle Cheung's. Search for them on this board for recommendations.


    149 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478

    Uncle Cheung's Restaurant
    266 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA 01702

    Golden Garden
    63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

    3 Replies
    1. re: JoJo5

      I have not tried these three. How are their noodles and dumplings?

      1. re: EATTV

        If Belmont is west enough, Golden garden has wonderful dumplings as well as the newly reopened Quingdao in North cambridge. I haven't been in a while but thought Lotus blossom in Sudbury was okay.
        What do you consider West?? I really like Sichuan Gourmet and Garden. Gourmet has a new branch out in Sharon which is out side 128. Alices taste of Mandarin in Sharon is also good.

        Sichuan Gourmet
        1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

      2. re: JoJo5

        We love Uncle Cheung's. I really appreciate their green menu, which has all the non-Americanized stuff, like pea shoots. I had never had Shangainese food until I tried that place.

        Uncle Cheung's Restaurant
        266 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA 01702

      3. Of course, there's the Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham, and I like Green Tea in Newton (though it's not very "west.")

        9 Replies
        1. re: nsenada

          This thread: is very entertaining. I've never tried Shanghai Gate in Allston but it looks promising. How about something closer to Needham which boasts a dearth of good Chinese food.

          Shanghai Gate
          204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

          1. re: EATTV

            Jumbo Seafood in Newton Centre is not terrible. Certainly far better than CK Shanghai in my opinion. But you are just not going to find that many quality Chinese restaurants in the western suburbs just like you are more likely to find better options for nearly all types of food in and near Boston as opposed to further outside the city. There are a few exceptions but probably not if you are limiting your search to something close to Needham.

            1. re: Gordough

              Such has been my experience. Wouldn't it be great to poll the CH community and ask about the 100 best Chinese dishes, hire a great young Chef and open in a funky space out here in the wasteland. I would probably call it "Cold Tea" / 凉茶, the old Moon Villa after hours euphemism.

              1. re: Gordough

                Green Tea is not far from Needham (and being a Needhamite, it's the closest decent spot). I actually don't mind Dragon Chef for greasy, late night drunk Chinese food. I have had some very good, shockingly greaseless scallion pancakes there. I don't like New Garden, seems to just be a place to get wasted. I occasionally hit Mandarin Cuisine with larger crowds if we've decided to go somehwere nearby at a time when getting a table elsewhere will be an issue. The owners are really nice people.

                There it is...a tour of Needham's Chinese restaurants. Bask in the glory...

                Green Tea Restaurant
                2 Beacon St, Framingham, MA 01701

                New Garden Restaurant
                250 Chestnut St, Needham, MA 02492

                Mandarin Cuisine
                238 Highland Ave, Needham, MA 02494

              2. re: EATTV

                Closer to Needham, I guess there's Bernards in the Chestnut Hill mall, slightly suburbanized but generally decent. Some have said good things about Joyful Garden in Allston but haven't checked it out yet. If you like Taiwan cafe, you should try Jo Jo Taipei in Allston (which I prefer over Shangri La or Uncle Cheungs).

                Joyful Garden
                1234 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02135

                JoJo Tai Pei Restaurant
                103 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

                1. re: barleywino

                  Anyone been to Formosa Taipei in Lexington recently? They were originally a Jo Jo tai pei diaspora. They had an outpost in Nashua as well, but I heard it was shut down recently, and lost their Jo Jo taipei chef in a dispute with ownership.

                  All rumors, of course. Anyone know for sure?

                  Formosa Taipei
                  315 Marrett Rd, Lexington, MA 02421

                  1. re: justbeingpolite

                    Yes, the food isn't exactly the same but things are still very good. Lately they introduced "vegan chicken" dishes which is wheat gluten and seems house-made. Perfect texture and my DC who tried the 3 cup version was pretty amazed it wasn't chicken. This is as good as some of the vegetarian/vegan Chinese places I've tried in NYC.

                    I'm not sure what happened but they had several chefs, but I haven't seen Steve, one of the owners, in quite some time. The woman who I usually see up front seems a bit coy but I'm going to get the story sooner or later.

                    1. re: justbeingpolite

                      Nashua is definitely gone, they sold it, I can confirm that for sure. They put up a couple of folding tables in so eating in is a bit more of an option.

                      Some of the dishes that perhaps came down a notch: Spicy Beef Noodle Soup, XLB, both the steamed and pan-fried editions. I still reco the pan-fried one since it's rather unique in this area. Like I said, I still give FT the thumbs up and recently took a Taiwanese native there who enjoyed it very much.

                      1. re: tatsu

                        Sad about Nashua, i liked that place a lot. Not surprising though, its a horrible location and every time i was there the place was mostly empty.

              3. China Sky and Bernards are my favorite. While they are more expensive than most Chinese restaurants the quality makes up for it. I don't think Needham has good Chinese restaurants. I did like Joy Luck in Needham but now it is Rice Barn which I have not tried yet. You would think Newton would have good Chinese food but it does not. I cannot think of one place in Newton not including Bernards that is that good.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cherrytomato

                  We have eaten at Rice Barn several times. It's not really Chinese, more like Asian fusion. It's fresh, but not very interesting, and it can be quite bland. What I love about the place is their mango sticky rice, which is one of my favorite desserts, and is very well done there.

                  Rice Barn
                  1037 Great Plain Ave, Needham, MA 02492

                2. i go to CK Shanghai in Wellesley. I speak to the chef who makes special dishes for me. Of course, no one else seems to get good food other than Scotty who also knows him personally. Still, even my friends and partners from NYC are impressed with the quality though no one else seems to duplicate my experience.

                  6 Replies
                    1. re: barleywino

                      yes, the difference between what people are getting and what he can give is great. the menu is generally to be avoided.

                      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                        I'm going to heal myself with a suckling pig dinner for 5 at Quick Pic next week and lunch tomorrow at Shanghai Gate. (I will speak to the Chef)

                        1. re: EATTV

                          Please report back on the pig! Thanks

                          1. re: EATTV

                            Nice. I gotta get back to the Gates of Shanghai myself. Order some lion's balls. The chef's special menu is great, but also many worthwhile things on the regular menu. I'm sure you've seen this thread by now. barleywino turned me onto the fish tail in brown sauce, which i think about often. Heck, you'd think they got a mamaw from Mississipi in the kitchen back there, their gravies got soul. Both the brown and the white gravies are luscious. Have fun. Eat the whole menu.


                            1. re: Nab

                              Shanghai Gate's take out menu quotes a Globe review,"What you get at Shanghai Gate plain and simple is a chef who really knows how to cook". Fair enough. It was soulful and flavors were right. I am restored...but not wowed. The restaurant was indeed full of asian dinners, always a good sign. I liked what I was seeing on other tables. Service was prompt and cheerful. I had studied the menu. My companion required "foods from her childhood" meaning recognizable. There were spring rolls. Shanghai pan fried noodles had the high heat breath of the wok. The noodles had just the right bite. Rice cakes sauteed with pork and leek had a soulful depth and elegant presentation. Pork Belly and Tofu Skins, a sort of brown sauce dong po rou with bean curd ribbons tied in knots was served with tender baby bok choy. It was a savory big bacon meets braising wicked and fattylicious almost custard like guilty pleasure. Also notable were yóu tiáo (twin tubular crullers) Lions Heads casseroles and Sweet corn pancakes as well as Ma Po Fish a dish I really love where fish and tofu bob about in orange Sichuan oil cracked peppercorn glory. One low note were the well reviewed soup dumplings. I recognized them as a frozen variety that lives in the far back of my freezer. Xia long bao are my favorite dumplings and these I just didn't get. If the high maintenance buns are too much to make then I think perhaps bao out. This aside it was all water to one great huge thirst.
                              Next stop is Quick Pic for the 10lb suckling pig supper and some excellent nose to tail eating. (Not today: NCAA)

                              Shanghai Gate
                              204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

                    2. The Waltham outpost of Mu Lan now has a grand opening sign in the window and people setting up table settings, when I drove by around 7. I don't think they're actually open yet, but they will be soon.