My new co-worker R told me about Emerald Garden, his favourite Chinese restaurant. Instead of our usual team pow wow at Good Earth, I told R and MD that I was treating them to lunch at Emerald Garden. I know better than to ask my boss if I could expense the meeting.
I still remember my first day on the job. My boss said he would take me out for lunch. We walked along Stephen Avenue and I remember feeling giddy, wondering if we were going to check out one of the restaurants I could never afford to eat as a student. He picked A&W because “It’s cheap and it’s fast.”
I was surprised to see that we were charged for tea at the Emerald Garden. Not a biggie. Our server was friendly and attentive throughout our meal. The restaurant itself was about 1/5 full.
The dish I enjoyed the most was Beef Chow Fun ($11.99). The sprouts and onions were crisp. The noodles were slippery and smooth, with that heavenly wok smell and flavour. The beef was tasty and tender.
R loves the hot and sour soup at Emerald Garden. I can see why. Emerald Garden nailed the right consistency and ingredients. Peas, tofu, pork, thin strands carrots which added lots of different textures. I liked the strong taste of pepper, the spicy heat and hint of vinegar. I would have preferred the soup without the crispy rice as I thought it took away from the soup, but R wanted it.
The Ginger Beef ($12.99) was disappointing. The dish wasn’t very hot and I found the flavours one dimensional. There was little beef but lots of this hard candied batter. However, the temperature of the other two dishes was spot on. The hot and sour soup was served sizzling hot. The chow fun arrived steaming hot as well.
Overall, I liked the food. I would order the hot and soup again, without the rice. The chow fun was good as well, though the server told me they don’t always serve it. Reviews on Yelp mentioned Emerald Garden served Portuguese influenced dishes, of which I saw none on the regular menu.