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St. Louis Chinese - Jade Garden Review

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St. Louis Chinese - Jade Garden Review

KBEAR | Jun 24, 2002 10:25 AM

Last week my eating club went to Chinese at Jade Garden on Olive, west of 170. The restaurant is deceptively large on the inside, with various weird fish in tanks and stereotypically tacky Chinese decoration. The color scheme is red and green. Chairs were covered by plastic seat protectors. Cleanliness was subpar, with crumbs and leftovers on the floor of the restaurant. Greeting was very slow, and we felt slighted by the other patrons being received warmly, while we were mostly ignored. This could have had something to do with the fact that we were the only caucasians in the place, and it was quite full.

Appetizers were a mixed bag. Fried potstickers were overly doughy with dried-out, stiff pork filling, and not too flavorful. The tempura fried vegetables were an improvement, with a light, not too greasy, tempura covering carrots, broccoli, onions and pea pods. This was a generous serving. Hot and sour soup was rated as good, but oddly, was burningly hot in tempurature for two eaters, and unpleasantly cold for a third. The hot mustard chicken wings we ordered was never brought.

Entrees were next. The special, a soft-shelled crab, was deliciously fresh, deep-fried in scallions, garlic, ginger and jalopenos or some pepper that gave it a nice kick. The Shrimp Amazing came in a sauce that was billed as different, a tame sweet and sour. The shrimp came with red pepper, baby corns, pea pods, onion and really big shrimp. The best entree was the Three Kind Mushroom Chicken (sic). Although it only seemed to have two types of mushrooms (white and portabello), they were indeed kind. The sauce was a sweetish and richly brown. The chicken pieces were all white, and cut thinly and cooked perfectly. The eater who ordered it requested some extra spice, which made the dish wonderful, avoiding possible blandness. The Cashew Chicken, white meat only, had noticeably no celery, but the eater rejoiced with this, as she is the kind of person that does not eat vegetables. The sauce was appropriately garlicky and gingery, and the cashews were firm and fresh, but the nuts were not too plentiful. Green beans ordered as a side were very nice - green, firm, with a light salty garlic butter sauce. The Beef Hot and Sour Pot was a DISASTER. The enormous chunks of beef were fatty and tough, with lots of gristle to further insult the dish. The sauce was floury and fairly tasteless, even though it was ordered spicy. Standard vegetables sank sadly to the bottom of the sludge.

All the entrees were served with rice, which was somewhat warm, but very dry, as though it had been sitting out in its pot for quite some time. Either something was really wrong with the kitchen, or our server just did not have it on the ball. From the time the first entree was served to the time the last entree was served, twenty minutes elapsed. No explanation was offered, other than, "it is coming". When the diner who ordered the beef hot pot expressed dissatisfaction, no offer of return was made by the server. The menu here is lengthly, but beer selection is small and there did not appear to be any wine. The meal ended with a complimentary serving of watermelon and stale fortune cookies. Not even the Three kind mushroom chicken could make up for the restaurant's other shortcomings. I was very disappointed with our meal here and would not recommend Jade Garden.

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