Golden Port, as the restaurant is colloquially known, is just down the street from the newly renovated Eastman Theatre. The restaurant is constantly buzzed about by Eastman students because of its proximity to their campus, and so I figured I’d let you all in on this great find.
Walking into the restaurant on a Friday night with a group of six people, I was admittedly surprised we were seated immediately; it was great, but on the way I kept thinking we should have made a reservation. My recommendation? Make a reservation if you can. As for the dcor, it was a modern, chic Chinese design; unique wall cutouts and hanging lanterns gave the restaurant a relaxed feeling, which was definitely appreciated by all.
Food-wise, a loose translation of the Chinese ‘dim sum,” is cuisine consisting of a series of light dishes, be it meat, seafood, vegetable or desserts and fruit. For us nowadays, they make great appetizers and we took advantage of the variety!
To make things interesting, a couple of us split different dishes; I ordered Ika Fry, which was translated as ‘fried squid” on the menu. Of course, it wasn’t until it arrived that I realized it was essentially fried calamari, which was hilarious. It was really good but a bit funny without marinara sauce.
Crab meat rangoons also made it to the table, dumplings with a crunchy fried outside, stuffed with crabmeat and cream cheese; those were rich. I also ordered ‘shumai,” traditional Chinese dumplings, which were tasty as well. However, I had no idea the confusion they would cause.
Essentially, all of the dim sums were coming out in a timely fashion and we were all enjoying them. The shumai came out, and I started eating it and suddenly a waitress, different from our original one, came out with a second order of shumai. Apparently I had been given the wrong thing and nobody told me. Regardless, she ended up leaving the second order, which I discovered was pork, while the first one was shrimp, so we got a different free appetizer.
Truthfully, this recollection reveals a flaw in the restaurant’s service. Throughout the entire meal, our table was never sure who our waiter or waitress really was because they kept switching out; some served food, some brought water, but there was no sense of continuity. Obviously, one result of this lack of communication gave us a free appetizer, but it also made the dining experience a bit frustrating because we didn’t know exactly who to ask for anything. It was kind of jarring and, while something positive came out of it this time, I could see orders getting mixed up in other not-so-positive ways due to this organization.
But back to the food. For meals, Golden Port has a fusion of Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese foods. With 188 options on the numbered menu plus some numbers with sub-options, it’s truly widespread. While this has the potential of causing order mix-ups, our meals went off without a hitch after the extra appetizer.
A whopping four of us ordered Pad Thai noodles with various different ingredients: one vegetable, one beef and two seafood, which included a combination of shrimp, scallops and squid.
The restaurant has a reputation for Pad Thai and after eating here over the years, it’s been the staple of my meal. At first I wondered whether it was realistic Pad Thai, because I was unsure of the potential influences of the Chinese and Vietnamese options, however it’s the best I’ve had. Another of us ordered Sweet and Sour Chicken, which she greatly enjoyed, so the table’s entrees had both Thai and Chinese influences.
As for pricing, this restaurant is more than reasonable, since, with a relaxed setting, it’s still a nice night out. All the dim sums and appetizers fall below $5 and the entrees range from $8.95 to $15.95. Since everything is wellpriced, it’s hard to pick anything as the best, but from personal experience, the Pad Thai offers two meals worth of food on one plate (unless you’re really hungry) and for an average of $11 between all of the combinations, it’s well worthwhile and a decent Best Bang For Your Buck to boot.
To conclude, definitely check this restaurant out. The atmosphere is relaxed, the customers range from college students that likely go to Eastman up to adults who are grabbing a bite before seeing a concert at the theater down the street, and the pricing can’t be beat.
Though the service is shotty, due to its proximity to the Little Theater and Java’s Caf, you can eat before you hit the movies or get some dessert at the caf, which we ended up doing ourselves. Give it a shot and see what you think!
Siegel is a member of the class of 2010.