A Long-time Favorite
Posted on 08 / 29 / 2011
Garden Fresh has been one of my favorite restaurants since the 1990s. I became a little disenchanted with the restaurant when it changed owners in the early 2000s because I felt the quality dropped off some. Since then, I think the quality has improved, although it's been accompanied by higher prices and fewer freebies. For example, back in the old days, the lunch special used to include fried spring rolls, and all of the dishes included complimentary brown rice (even at dinner). Still, Garden Fresh is one of the better deals around, and its best dishes are excellent.
On our most recent trip, we got the lettuce cups and the veggie chicken curry. The lettuce cups were not nearly as good as I remember; something was "off" with the flavor. I don't think we'll try that dish again. The veggie chicken curry is wonderful comfort food. Sometimes I'm not in the mood for something tasting so "heavy," but this time it was exactly what I wanted.
Some of our other favorites: Mongolian veggie chicken and Hunan veggie chicken (these dishes are pretty similar), basil moo shoo rolls, the veggie curry noodle soup and the moo shoo vegetables. Many other dishes are good too. I also like the tofu chowder they frequently serve complimentary. My wife prefers the hot-and-sour soup, and sometimes they will substitute that for the tofu chowder without charging more.
The restaurant itself is hardly atmospheric, although it is slightly more spruced up than it was in the 1990s. It's basically a few rows of formica tables in a mini-mall. Then again, my culinary tastes were honed in Southern California, where the best meals always were in mini-malls, so the setting doesn't bother me. For us, its convenience is an added bonus; it's in easy biking distance from our house.