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Apr 25, 2014 04:26 PM

Joyce Chinese (Szechuan) Cuisine in River Edge


I was very excited to try this new Szechuan restaurant which opened this week in River Edge. It was a disappointment. While not quite bad, I just can't see myself returning here when the Chengdus (1 and 23, of course) and impressive (but slightly more expensive) newcomer Lan Sheng blow this place out of the water.

OK, let's start with the good... the place is very nice inside. Nicer than the Chengdus, and much larger than Lan Sheng. The owner and staff were kind and friendly, and there were quite a few people dining in.

Here's where it goes downhill...

I ordered Dan Dan noodles, and crestfallen that they didn't have my favorite Ants Climbing a Tree available, I ordered something called "Noodles with Minced Pork in Soybean Paste", thinking it might be similar to Ants Climbing a Tree.

The two dishes looked and tasted exactly the same, except the soybean paste dish was $1.00 more. The sauce was OK, but the noodles looked, felt, and tasted like thick, overcooked spaghetti. If you think you're going to get noodles like the awesome thin flat rice noodles the Chengdus use, forget about it. They also put scallions in the soybean paste dish, even though I asked them not to. To be fair, they did omit the scallions in the Dan Dan noodles, but they also omitted the bok choy, which was present in the second order I got for someone else.

I also tried the chicken braised with chestnuts. I asked the server taking my order (in front of the owner) whether the dish had scallions or onions in it. "I don't think so," the server replied. I should have gotten a more definitive answer.

When I got the dish home, scallions were swimming everywhere. The sauce/gravy and chestnuts were OK, but the chicken pieces were small, bony, and limited in number. The dish came with only a small side of rice too.

So, even with a 15% off Grand Opening special I was disappointed with what I spent for what I got. I can't see myself returning anytime soon with the better options available.

What I can see myself doing in the near future is paying visits to the Chengdus and Lan Sheng and thanking them for doing Szechuan cuisine right, for fair prices. (And asking them to open restaurants in Northern or Central Bergen County!)

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  1. That's disappointing to hear....but one thing. It's arguable if Scallions should be included in Dan Dan Noodles as a recipe ingredient. Clearly your request was not to have them, so the staff should probably assume all items ordered would be the same and I suspect there was a communication problem, possibly through language barriers or difficulties.....but I have never heard of Bok Choy to be included with the dish and although the other dish(another plate of DD Noodles?, or the second noodle dish) did include the BC, perhaps may explain the additional $1 cost for the soybean past dish.

    1. I had the exact same experience. I don't see myself going back.

      1. Zhelder, Chistizz I think you guys need to go and give it a second chance. We went on Wed. night and had a meal comparable to Chendu23 or Len Shang

        1 Reply
        1. re: double0

          I think judging a restaurant based on noodle dishes is unfair….especially thinking Chinese Noodle dishes should have firm texture noodles. Also, I never heard of Bok Choy as a part of Dan Dan Noodles…if you get them fine, but i would not expect them.

          Clearly, the Scallion issue is poor communication/understanding and execution on the part of the restaurant.

        2. i agree. i went tuesday night and it was great. i was nervous because of the service issues i read about, but they hired a manager and everything ran well. the manager was the only problem. she was obviously in charge but much too loud. i'm glad she has the place functioning smoothly but she should manage her staff without bothering the customers.
          the tripe and tongue appy was almost as good as in flushing and better than chendu 23. also loved the cowpeas and pork dish. the chongqiing spicy chicken was moist and spicy. reminded me of peck peck and thats a compliment. i can't speak of the non sichuan dishes but why go there for that? so the food was good, service was good and its byob. very nice wine glasses and upscale surroundings. i'll be back.