206 W. Silver Spring Dr.
Glendale, WI 53217
Proudly Serving Glendale, Whitefish Bay, and the Surrounding Areas
Mandarin • Szechuan • Cantonese • Hunan
Drop by our restaurant to enjoy authentic Chinese cuisines. Choose from our wide variety of food selection.
206 W. Silver Spring Dr.
"Chinese restaurant's dishes impress with quality rather than quantity"
- By Dennis R. Getto - the staff of Journal Sentinel (October 02, 1998)
Take a look at the review of our restaurant by Dennis R. Getto, the staff of Journal Sentinel (October 02, 1998).
I'm not sure which I liked better at Royal Garden restaurant – the sesame chicken ($10.50) or the fact that there was no buffet when I visited.
Over the past six months, Chinese buffet restaurants seem to have taken over. I've tried a half dozen of them and have yet to be impressed by any. The emphasis, at least in the places I visited, seemed to be more on quantity than on quality.
My biggest objection is that most Chinese dishes – especially those stir-fried in a wok – don't hold up well on steam tables, where crisp vegetables slowly turn mushy and sauces just get thicker and thicker. Flavors disappear quickly.
In contrast, Royal Garden's sesame chicken was served fresh and steaming and had been made perfectly. Each piece of chicken had been deep-fried, then cooked in a sweet, caramelized soy glaze with toasted sesame seeds. Between bites of chicken, I could taste little pieces of zingy fresh ginger.
There's a certain richness of flavor that goes with good Chinese food. And I knew from my first bite of chicken that this was it. So I grabbed a take-out menu on my way out of the restaurant and looked it over when I got home.
Under appetizers, I found unusual offerings like onion cakes ($2.50) and Taiwan chicken rolls ($2). Under duck, I spotted smoked duck Szechwan ($9.95) and an Eastern Chinese specialty, red-cooked duck ($9.95), both of which are pretty unusual for Chinese restaurants in these parts.
So I planned two more visits with friends.
Tucked into a shopping center on the northwest corner of Lydell Ave and E. Silver Spring Drive in Glendale, Royal Garden occupies space that formerly housed Sun Toy restaurant, an establishment that closed a few years ago and then reopened periodically.
Last December 2nd, Jean Zhang took over, bought a bright neon sign and reopened as Royal Garden. So far, she's done little to the interior of the place. A few booths are ripped and have been mended with tape and some of the ceiling tiles are stained.
But I can overlook problems like that in a casual restaurant if the food is good. And much of what my friends and I sampled was very good.
Orange flavor beef ($11.95) stands out in my memory as one of the best. These were tender slices of beef stir-fried with orange peels, ginger, garlic, onions and enough hot peppers to give the dish a respectable kick without overpowering. It was the first serving platter of four to be completely cleaned off.
Then there was a Taiwanese dish called crispy prawns with sesame ($14.95) that was most memorable for its rich, mayonnaise-like sauce and subtle sesame flavor. Another house special, shrimp with five diced vegetables ($12.95), proved to be a pretty straightforward Southern Chinese stir-fry, though the mixture of carrots, pea pods, tomatoes, Oriental corn and onions had cooked together enough to form an interesting sauce.
The red-cooked duck was a real treat. Tender pieces of duckling had been braised in a flavorful blend of sweetened rice wine and soy with fragrant cinnamon and star anise added. The result was a delightful aroma and flavor, along with duck that had been nicely tenderized in the braising process. Carrots, pea pods and chewy forest mushrooms accented the duck's flavor.
Royal Garden didn't fare as well with a Western Chinese duck dish. Smoked duck Szechwan ($9.95) was served with broccoli, but tasted as if it, too, had been braised. The flavors of tea and camphor wood that the menu had promised were conspicuously absent.
Two more common dishes, barbecued pork fried rice ($5.75) and lemon chicken ($8.50) were nicely done. The former had plenty of meat, bean sprouts, green onions, and eggs; the latter was covered in a lively lemon sauce that wasn't overly sweet.
In the appetizer department, I'd recommend the Shanghai style spring rolls ($2.80) over the egg rolls ($2.80) anytime. The Shanghai had carrots, pork, mushrooms and shrimp in them while the egg rolls were mostly cabbage. And the shells of the Shanghai rolls were delicate rice papers that fried up crispier than the thicker skins on the egg rolls.
Steamed dumpling appetizers ($3.95) were a little too tough around the edges, but cold sesame noodles were great – wonderfully springy and bathed in sesame oil that permeated them with its flavor.
There was one more disappointment. I had looked forward to trying both the onion cakes and the Taiwanese chicken rolls on my second visit.
Both were no longer available but hadn't been crossed off the menu.
And I did find out that Royal Garden does have a buffet, at lunch and on Friday and Saturday nights.
At $5.95 for lunch and $6.95 for dinner, some people will probably consider it a deal. I'll keep ordering off the menu.