Update 11-Dec-2008: This restaurant had closed down. In it’s place is the Szechuan Harvest Moon Cuisine.
I think this place is new. I am sure that there was a Chinese restaurant in this location before but we had never walked in. Anyway, I am talking about the Empire Square along the No 3 Road. It’s in the same strip mall as Hon’s. Oh, talking about No 3 Rd, wouldn’t you all say that it’s a complete mess with the Canada Line construction?
It was just three of us that day. We decided to try someplace new. It’s kind of hard convincing Nanzaro to try a new restaurant. As long as they make Salted Fish Fried Rice or Pho, he’s OK. Well, the Evergreen Garden Chinese Restaurant is NOT one of those places. Nanzaro was sulking throughout. On well, it’s MY turn to choose the place to eat today … and I pay too, so I get more rights to choose right? :-)
We were there just after 5 pm. and the place was still quiet then. It was pretty spacious with lots of tables that extended even to the back.
They initially gave us the menu in Chinese and we had to ask them for one in English. For a moment we thought we are in one of those all-Chinese restaurant where they not only do not have menu in English, the waitresses does not even speak English. With our poor Mandarin and all, we would have walked out.
Well, well … we certainly liked the way their menu is laid out. Their popular Set Dinner Combo menu is priced by the number of “dishes” you order. Since there were just the three of us … well, two and a half … we went for the 2-dish combo which costs $24.80. The 4-dish combo ($45+) would have been too much for us.
The Set Dinner Combo menu has a very wide selection of dishes. We counted about 77 in all. The Combo also include all-you-can-eat rice, soup of the day and dessert. The soup of the day was winter melon and pork soup with some herbs and barley. It was absolutely delicious.
I had always liked rice that comes in a plastic bucket. First, it’s all you can eat. I just find it such a hassled being asked how many bowls of rice we wanted when we had no idea how big or small a bowl is. Also, the price of a bowl of rice various from places … with some charging up to $1.50 a bowl! And then, rice in a bucket keeps the rice warm and nice longer.
The first dish we ordered was what is called the Oyster with Ginger and Green Onion Hotpot. It was served sizzling hot and smells really, really good. We expected the oysters smaller (well, Asian oysters were smaller) but these were big pieces. They had been coated with cornstarch and deep fried. Nanzaroo was not pleased when we ordered this dish as he does not like the thought of oysters but he ended up eating most of them! It was a great dish. With a bit more gravy, it would have been a tad better.
It’s been a while since we had pomfrets. The simple pan-fried pomfret in soy sauce sounded so good and ordered that. To our surprise, it came in a pair of large fleshy fishes. The fish were deep fried to crisp on the outside. The soy sauce is just perfect … not salty.
The dessert that came along with the Dinner Combo is Red Bean Dessert Soup — just as we thought before we asked them. It was thick and creamy … just so-so.
By the time our dishes came to our tables, we noticed that the entire restaurant had already filled up with a few people already waiting for tables in the waiting area. I must say that they are really understaffed and can see how harried everyone was.
Total bill came to $29 including tips. We like this place a lot and will definitely be back. However, this is not a place that you can sit back and slowly enjoy your dinner. There were so many customers waiting that the waitress will come by and clear your table as soon as you finished your meal so that your table is free for the waiting customers. Highly recommended.