By Ling-Mei Wong
The Days Inn on Soldiers Field Road may look nondescript from the outside, but inside blooms an oasis of authentic Chinese food.
Joyful Garden serves solid southern Chinese cuisine in Brighton. With a capacity of 300 guests, free parking and live seafood, the restaurant has earned a loyal following through word of mouth.
For the past seven years, owner Henry Ho has enjoyed brisk business in Brighton. Joyful Garden’s ample space and mouth-watering food attract even the most discerning Chinese gourmands while the noisy Cantonese, Mandarin and Toishanese conversations wafting out the door provide a Chinese restaurant experience that rings true.
A signature seafood dish is the grey sole filet ($35.95 or market price).
The whole butterflied fish is golden and crispy and stir-fried with mushrooms, carrots, peapods and leafy Chinese broccoli. Served hot, the fish is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.
Sirloin steak chunks in black pepper ($12.95) come straight out of the kitchen on a hot iron plate; the savory meat is complemented with sweet peppers and onions.
The iron plate keeps the food sizzling, a welcome sound during New England’s chilly winter. The black pepper blends savory and sweet together with gentle heat, making this a hearty and aromatic dish.
More hearty fare includes the beef with Chinese parsley soup ($8.95). The Chinese parsley is bright green and tender in this thick soup, which features beaten egg whites and a generous serving of minced beef. Finely minced scallions, ginger, onion and garlic give this soup its full-bodied flavor.
Vegetables at Joyful Garden are crisp and bursting with aroma, thanks to excellent “wok air,” or fiery woks producing dishes with a tasty char. The dry cooked string beans ($8.95) are a Chinese classic: string beans stir-fried with chilies and onions over high heat. The crunch of the string beans is satisfying without being overly greasy.
Joyful Garden is a wonderful place for authentic Chinese cuisine without Chinatown’s parking woes. Be sure to come hungry, as the food never disappoints.
1234 Soldiers Field Road
Brighton, MA 02135
This post is also available in: Chinese