In spite of being next to the Mall at Fairfield Commons, King Garden is actually pretty far out of the way to the average driver. Crammed into a little strip mall behind the mall’s movie theater, the restaurant is a modest hole in the wall run by a small family with neither flash nor expensive signage. Like many a good Chinese place, this one flies well under the radar. Instead, its local appeal in in convenience and frugality — Quick, filling Chinese food on the cheap. I can see the appeal that would bring you here a first time. You won’t want to come back for seconds.
So the menu is pretty generic, the typical Chinese take out fare, which is to say a collection of chicken, beef and seafood dishes.
- General Tso’s Chicken: The chicken is prepared adequately, and served in a variety of generic and indistinguishable sauces.
- Fried shrimp: The shrimp is fried, which is nice, but it’s fried with its tail on, including in dishes where it’s really obnoxious to pull each piece out and remove it.
- Mongolian beef: One of the few meat items I like on the menu, though heavy with veggies.
Well, you take these acceptable foods and coat them in salt, and you’ll get an idea for what King Garden offers. We’re not talking a small amount of salt either; as in large granules of sea-salt like crumble on every piece of meat, including the fried stuff. Why they do this absolutely astounds me beyond reason, but the result is abominable. You’re literally crunching on salt throughout the entire meal. It’s all over the meat, it’s in the sauces, it coats the entire experience into a mess. There’s also a lunch buffet. I wouldn’t recommend it.
I suppose price is the reason for it all; some of the lunch meals go below $5, and salt is about the cheapest seasoning for food. There’s a limit though, when just about anyone will pay a little more for more quality food.
Service is terrible. The family gets its food out quickly, I’ll grant that. If you come in outside of the mealtime rush, you’ll get your food in 10 minutes or so. I can only assume the people who run the place are hoping you don’t stick around to eat, because after you pay and get your food, you won’t see anyone bothering you again. Combined with the aforementioned lethal dose of salt you recieve with your food, you can imagine where problems arise. At one point I was literally the only person in the restaurant, and no orders were being prepared, and still, nobody bothered to come check on me. So, there it is.
As I said, it seems to me that this place is banking on convenience and cost to make it a go-to choice for locals wanting some Chinese food. But if you aren’t coming here for lunch, the prices are on par with what you’d get anywhere else. Moreover, if the idea of cheap food here is “douse everything in salt and call it a day,” you’ve got an absolute crash and burn.