I feel like everybody has their own restaurant or store that always intrigues them — they feel like they should check it out sometime but never get around to it.
Well, CT-Eats-famous boyfriend Ryan and I have collectively had one of those restaurants for quite some time. And this column gave me a reason to finally go in and check it out. I did betray Ryan a bit, though, by going without him and taking my friend Shagun instead. But hey, screw it. If Saturdays must be for the boys, then Fridays are for the… everyone else?
Well, anyway, this long-awaited trip was to a Chinese restaurant known as Yummy Garden. Outside of the restaurant, there are two signs: one that reads “Yummy Garden” and one that reads “Hot Pot.” This was part of the mystique for Ryan and I because we were never sure if it was two different restaurants or just one. Shagun and I came to discover that it is one restaurant, Yummy Garden, that also serves hot pot.
The hot pot I will be getting back to at a later date. Yummy Garden’s main Chinese menu was so extensive that having the separate create-your-own-hot-pot menu on top of that was just too overwhelming for two 5-foot-very-few-inches gals in the big city. So, we decided to focus on the Chinese food this time and to then return to tackle hot pot after doing our proper research. A two-part CT Eatstravaganza, if you will.
On this Chinese-menu-based trip, Shagun and I ordered the steamed pork dumplings to start. Shagun Bose, self-proclaimed dumpling expert, found these dumplings guilty of being too doughy, but the judge ruled otherwise. (That’s me, I’m the judge!) Honestly, though, I believe this was just a matter of personal preference. I personally love a nice thick and chewy dumpling wrapper as long as it’s still soft and cooked all the way through, which these definitely were. Where I actually thought these dumplings fell a tiny bit short was the flavor of the filling, which seemed a bit bland. However, I was overall satisfied by these dumplings, and the slightly-sweet, slightly-salty dipping sauce on the side was an enjoyable touch.
The first entree we ordered was the General Tso’s chicken, one of my all-time Chinese takeout favorites, so I was definitely surveying this dish like a hawk. However, even with my threatening hawk-like attention and sparkly pink polished talons, this dish managed to emerge victorious. This was possibly the crispiest chicken I have ever had in a Chinese dish. This fried coating was the fried coating of my dreams, really. Even under the abundant, thick glaze, the chicken maintained its structural integrity to the highest degree. The sauce also had really nice flavor. The initial flavor was sweeter than I would normally expect, but then the heat came as an aftertaste. I thought that was a really neat and pleasant combination.
The chicken also came with two satisfying sides. Let us begin with the fried rice. Though I loved the large chunks of sweet, cooked onion in this fried rice, I thought it could have used more of the other various mix-ins such as the egg and other vegetables. Overall, though, the flavor was very nice, and it was still just as addicting as fried rice should be. Even better than this fried rice was the pork egg roll. Though this egg roll was a tiny bit oilier than I would have liked, I really loved it altogether. The shell was so perfectly crispy and chewy — truly dreamy. And the filling was lovely as well, featuring crunchy vegetables and tender, flavorful pork. I totally missed this egg roll after devouring it.
To add a vegetarian dish to the mix, Shagun and I elected the tofu with garlic sauce to be our second entrée. However, I’m not quite sure that this was what we truly received. The sauce on this seemed pretty non-garlicky and also oddly similar to the sauce on the General Tso’s chicken. Being that the menu did offer a tofu with General Tso’s sauce, we speculated that they may have just messed up our order. Regardless, we certainly enjoyed this dish. The cook on this tofu was so satisfying. It had that great chewy sort of light fry on the outside, and the tofu inside the coating was still nice and moist. And all the crunchy vegetables soaking up the creamy, flavorful sauce? Pure Disney magic.
On top of the fabulous flavors, an added bonus of dining at Yummy Garden is the value. The portion sizes may be far larger than expected, but the prices certainly don’t follow suit. We didn’t even realize how cheap this trip was until the check came. Our two entrees with all the sides, the appetizer, and the small dessert we ordered weren’t even $25 combined. The eight-piece dumplings appetizer was only $5.50 and our mountain of chicken didn’t even cost $7. To end this review like the last one — qué ganga. What a bargain.