Restaurant Guide: Joyful Garden

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).

Grey sole filet. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 骨香籠利球。 (圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Grey sole filet. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

 

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.

Sirloin steak chunks in black pepper. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 鐵板黑椒牛柳。(圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Sirloin steak chunks in black pepper. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

 

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.

Beef with Chinese parsley soup. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 西湖牛肉湯。(圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Beef with Chinese parsley soup. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

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.

Dry cooked string beans. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 乾煸四季豆。(圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Dry cooked string beans. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

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.

 

Joyful Garden

1234 Soldiers Field Road

Brighton, MA 02135

(617) 787-8818

This post is also available in: Chinese

About Ling-Mei Wong 黃靈美

Editor of the Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English newspaper in New England 舢舨報紙總編輯。舢舨是全紐英倫唯一的中英雙語雙週報。
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