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Restaurants & Bars 1

Outtake on Golden Temple's steak dish

MC Slim JB | Jun 6, 200802:00 PM

Basically an outtake from my feature in the Boston Phoenix this week on alternatives to luxury steakhouses. This bit was left on the cutting room floor, as I couldn't really enthusiastically recommend the place:

"Among Brookline’s many Chinese restaurants, Golden Temple must be the glossiest. A multimillion-dollar renovation some years ago turned its big bar into the 'E Room', a nightclub complete with DJ booth and dance floor, and gave the dining rooms a modern sheen. It’s the type of good-looking, unapologetically retro American-Chinese restaurant in which my parents feel comfortable (whereas Chinatown frightens them). The menu showcases brimming platters of Fifties-vintage American Chinese food: chicken chow mein ($12.95) with good crunchy noodles, thick-battered fried scallops ($9.95), and an assortment of potstickers, boneless pork ribs, teriyaki beef and chicken skewers, and chicken fingers with gloopy duck sauce ($16.95). Bartenders pour similar-tasting, rum-heavy Tiki drinks like Zombies and Suffering Bastards. A few dishes support the restaurant’s 'Healthy, Fresh Food' motto, like the sort-of-Chinese Szechuan eggplant ($9.95), rice vermicelli with pork ($12.95), and a chicken soong dish ($9.95) which P.F. Chang’s fans will recognize as minced chicken in lettuce wraps.

Golden Temple wanders comically afield of the American Chinese idiom with its E Room Tenderloin of Beef, presumably named for bar patrons who wanted something even less Chinese than chop suey to fuel their dancing. The medium size ($28.95), billed as serving one to two people, is generous, a good twenty ounces of quality tenderloin, properly pan-seared to order. The accompaniments look like nervous refugees from an American steakhouse: wok-charred red onion, underdone asparagus and mashed potatoes. A fork and serrated knife are helpfully provided, as chopsticks might fumble those four big fillets. The mashed potatoes are an especially pathetic sight in a Chinese restaurant: flecked with basil, thin yet gluey from overprocessing, and bizarrely sweetened, they’re just dreadful. 'Instant are better,' one companion opines. The tenderloin is worthy and fairly priced, but next time I’ll get rice as my starch. And in the end, who cares if I snicker at faux-Chinese restaurants with grand décor? Grandma loved it, especially after a couple of big Mai Tais."

As an aside, we got very good service, and I managed to find a bottle of wine that impressed me, something from Alsace that now escapes memory, but went reasonably well with the food. Also, as at least one other Hound has mentioned, some very good bartending on non-Tiki drinks like Martini cocktails. Not my kind of place, but it hit a certain sweet spot for my party.

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