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Wong's Garden

Update 1/30/14: Wong's is closed.

In a word: The Secret Garden.

The specs: #0744  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at 77 Square, Yelp, YellowPages; listing at Eat Drink Madison; Facebook, Wong's Garden on Urbanspoon

Latest Wong's Garden news and reviews

JM ate the shrimp almond ding with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the Grandma ma po tofu with hot and sour soup.
We split some crab rangoon.
The bill was about $10/person, plus tip.
JM gave Wong's Garden a B; Nichole gave Wong's Garden an A- (see our grading rubric).

Eating at Wong's Garden feels like visiting a quiet, eccentric aunt's house. You walk in and notice that the dining room hasn't changed in years. Wide-leafed potted plants thrive in the ceiling-high windows overlooking the Kennedy Place condos and Surge Cafe on Atwood, and foster a deep sense of relaxed, modest permanence.

Hot and sour soup, crab rangoonIn this town that loves to talk about restaurants, there's not much out there about Wong's Garden. But there's much to like about the place. We found a couple things we'd skip next time, but overall it's a solid choice for homestyle Chinese-American fare.

We'd start again with our customary crab rangoon, but we'd skip the watery hot mustard. The rangoon themselves were done all the way through (you'd be surprised how often these are done awfully) and were on the savory side, but without onion.

The hot and sour soup we would skip. While the spice level was good and hot, it had a Campbells-beef overtone and a certain glüpiness to it.

We would repeat Grandma's ma po tofu or any of its variations. Amazingly fresh vegetables - bok choi, broccoli, onions, carrots, green peppers, peapods and celery - in a light hoisin/oyster sauce studded with red pepper flakes, with warm pillows of tofu, was filling and warming. (Eccentric aunts keep the thermostat low but make up for it with cardigans and hot pepper.)

Ma po tofu

The shrimp almond ding included a less broad swath of the vegetable kingdom, with just celery, onion, carrots and peapods, and was a bit undersalted. Gimme dat ding again.

Shrimp almond ding

The service was kind and quick, the salt and pepper shakers were clean (key sign of a clean restaurant, according to a hospitality industry manager we know), and dinner was very affordable. Wong's is an oasis if you're looking for a quiet, unassuming place to get Chinese food.

Comments

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So what you're really saying is that this restaurant is always right, never wong?

Wong's is about two blocks from my house and it's amazing how often I forget that it's even there. It's so unassuming. My favorite dish, by far, is the moo shoo pork. Perfectly sweet plum sauce with tons of meat and veg and nicely cooked pancakes. I think I know where I'll be eating this weekend. :) Thanks for the reminder! - A.

One of my favorite food stops in the neighorhood. Good Cantonese style food, prepared with fresh ingredients at a reasonable price. It won't wow you, but shouldn't disappoint.

This is one of my favorite spots for take-out Chinese in Madison. I agree with the reviewers that the dining area is slightly chilly and well-worn. But the food is consistently good, and a great deal for the price.

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