Joyful Garden, Watertown

I think this an interesting enough restaurant that it deserves its own thread. I’d posted earlier about a dim sum experience there:

Dim sum there since then has continued to be good, but not great. Freshness, I think, is still the main issue, and that’s related to volume. The same stuff circulates on carts because there are not enough people around to take stuff off them.

Go there, people, go.

The dinner menu looks very interesting, and they have fish tanks at the back, but I have not been there for that (yet).

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I’m surprised they don’t just use a menu on weekdays.

They have a fair number of families there in weekdays (not kids, but older people cutting across at least two generations) and they seem to enjoy the carts being pushed around. Having said that, at the next table last week, they ordered something in Chinese and two plates of dumplings, different from the ones on the carts, were brought to them.

Do we think this is the same Joyful Garden that used to be on the first floor of a hotel on Soldiers Field Road? A Chinese-born former colleague of mine rated that Joyful Garden extremely highly.

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From press, it used to be in a Days Hotel in Brighton - which was on Soldiers Field Road - so from that it seems like the same place. I was never at the previous location so I don’t know how the menus compare.

Thanks @Thimes, yes that is the one. I also had a out-of-town Chinese-American client who used to stay at that Days Inn because of Joyful Garden and it always struck me as such an unlikely location for a great restaurant. Anyway, I need to heed @fooddabbler and get myself over there. Or maybe we should plan a HO Down there sometime…

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Sadly, my first non-dimsum experience at JG was pretty bad tonight. The fried duck with taro crust was very greasy, yet (oddly) very dry. The standard lo mein was very bland – you might say that anybody who orders that deserves what he gets, but – really – try the lo mein at Qing Dao Garden before you judge me. The fried rice with chicken and salty fish was the only dish worth eating.

They have softshell crabs for “around $18” , but I discovered this too late.


do tell!

I only meant that even a humble dish, simply called lo mein, is prepared with care at Qing Dao. We especially like the lo mein with ginger and scallion.


Have had generally solid dim sum three or four times at JG since I last posted. Interestingly, they were packed at 12:30 today, and giving out numbers. My daughter and I shared two kinds of steamed shrimp dumplings (har gau, pure shrimp here, and a version with chives), two types of fried shrimp dumplings (one triangular and translucent, with chives, and one like mini cigars), those taro-on-taro fried dumplings (shredded taro around mashed pork-and-taro), radish cakes, and sticky rice in lotus leaf. With the large crowd everything was much fresher and better than it usually is. We even had to wait for the sticky rice because they had run out and were steaming a fresh batch.

The bill was $40 for the two of us, slightly high for dim sum, but we’d ordered a lot (and I find even in Chinatown these days, we’re not coming out under $15/head as we were for a decade or two – and before that in the single digits).


Oh, we also had an order of “pineapple buns” – my daughter adores them, not so much I, and they escaped my increasingly leaky memory.