Sunday, August 26, 2007

Catching Up...Joyful Garden

OK, so I've been bad in not keeping up with my posts. At least now I have material stored up...just hope I can remember all of the details...

Anyway, I saw that Nadine Kam had reviewed Joyful Garden, a chinese restaurant in Kaneohe, in Sunday's Star Bulletin. You can read her review here.

Here's an outside shot...



I didn't totally agree with her review so thought I would post my own (no offense to Nadine Kam, of course...who I believe is a fellow Waipahu High graduate...yay Marauders!). And, everyone is well aware that no visit is the same when you go to a restaurant... Anyway, Nadine...the restaurant is located in Windward City Shopping Center, not at Windward Mall! The bad thing is that it's located in the back of the shopping center(which traditionally is slow) but the good thing is that the back has slowly been building up traffic, due to eateries like KJ's, Genki Sushi, Pizza Hut and now, Taco Del Mar.

I've been going on and off to Joyful Garden since they first opened in February (my wife reminded me that it was Super Bowl weekend). On that first weekend, there was a substantial amount of traffic...guess it was all of the people like us checking out the new chinese restaurant in town...plus they were advertising free soda as a promotion...can't beat that, right? I was impressed with the space...very spacious plus there was an adjoining room for private parties, I guess...and they had a plasma tv mounted. Formally dressed waiters...haven't had that in Kaneohe since Eastern Garden left... The wait time was kind of slow and the food was OK...nothing special..but it was their first weekend... Gotta give those new restaurants time to settle in, right?



A few months down the road and a few more tries... Less people dropping by(the room was mostly empty) but the quality of food has improved some. Seems like less wait help (maybe because less traffic?). Looks like they're starting to advertise "local style" plates and that they're going to have dim sum service in the summer...hope that drums up more business for them.

OK, now it's the middle of summer and they finally have dim sum! Kaneohe has been missing dim sum since Eastern Garden closed down. Only thing is, I went to Panda Cuisine last month so this has to be pretty good to top that.



So we went inside and notice that there were quite a bit of people there. Of course as soon as we sat down, the carts gravitated towards our table and the usual showing of dim sum took place..."would you like some _____?"..."or, how about some _____?" ...and they pretty much go through what they have on the cart. There were two carts...one for fried stuff and one for steamed stuff. Not a lot of wait help...noticed only about three people running around. Anyway, seems that the carts didn't have a lot of stuff that we wanted and we were told that the items we wanted were "coming out soon". So we got these...

I like good blackbean spareribs so I usually have to try it at least once at a new restaurant...this one had lots of tiny bits which made it difficult to eat...


Pork hash, I think it had shrimp inside too...


Taro puffs...


There was a long period where no dim sum was offered to us...decided to order from the menu...beef choi sum chow fun...tasted Ok but lots of cornstarch...


We were waiting for new stuff to come out but the carts kept on going farther and farther, never coming back. I know at dim sum restaurants, they like to hit on the new customers but usually they eventually rotate around the room. It was kind of disappointing that this didn't happen. Fortunately, a couple sat down near us so we pounced on the cart after the couple was done. Unfortunately, by that time, all of the new stuff was almost gone...and my daughter was looking forward to har gau...we got the two baskets that was left though.


Taste overall was pretty good but the service was pretty lousy, especially when we had asked for specific items but never got them and had had to ask repeatedly. Kind of disappointing for us. Could be they had an off day. Seems that they are pretty inconsistent, hopefully it gets better. Pricing was pretty standard, I think it started at $2 something for the lower end dim sum. Ended up spending just a little under $20, which is low for going to a dim sum restaurant for us...top it off to the unavailability of stuff we wanted. Guess I'll check back later to see if it changes...

Joyful Garden
Windward City Shopping Center

5 comments:

Ryan Tatsumoto said...

Cool site, viewed since you're a fellow 96744er. Haven't tried Joyful Garden yet - the Mrs was heartbroken when Pauline & Co left Eastern Garden. Trying Panda this weekend - will post a blog if it's worth it.

alohabc said...

Aloha! I just discovered your blog via Ono Kind Grindz today. I've adde your feed to my blog, http://anuenuegems.blogspot.com

Hope you don't mind. It's nice to have additional links of places I might not get to. Feel free to do the same with mine, or let me know if you'd prefer to be off my blog. Gads, now I'm hungry for dim sum! Mahalo! ~alohabc

Anonymous said...

Went to Joyful Garden for the 2nd time today 12/28/07. Just like you, I wasn't impressed the first time. Glad I went again. It was ono. Good service, the dim-sum cart came around many times (maybe too many) and we had a yummy variety and the food was perfect for this rainy weather. I want to go back for dinner and have some fish dishes; there were several good local fish specials posted today. I'm glad we have this choice on the Windward side now.

dakine said...

Nice place. My family goes to Joyful Garden at least once a week. We love their dim sum. Better than China Town. I like the fact that they have live seafood and different special menu every month. I recommend this restaurant to all my family and friends. Best in Kaneohe!

anasarca said...

Our family loves Joyful Garden, especially the dim sum offerings. It wasn't that busy when we first went. But business seems to really have picked up with lots of locals, older people, and families. The seafood is extremely fresh, the wrappers are not oily or soggy, and the fried dishes are not overly heavy.

On the number of occasions that we went the staff was competent, and the cart came by almost too often. Perhaps it depends on what time you go.

Kaneohe is the best for Chinese food outside of Chinatown. Kinwah (get the chicken salad), Pake's (now offering a special higher end menu in addition to it's regular) and now Joyful Garden are all delicious for different reasons.

Just discovered your blog and we're really enjoying it!

Aloha