Wong’s Garden Restaurant Is Remarkable Madison Treat
One of the truly hidden wonders of eating in Madison can be found at Wong’s Garden Restaurant on Atwood Avenue. In a simple and yet tasteful building, a long-time married couple cook and serve some of the best Chinese food that can be bought in the city. If you have eaten there I am sure we can agree on something. Even better than the food is the atmosphere of kindness that blends with the wonderful scents of cooking.
During the past five years it is safe to say James and I have stopped in for food at Wong’s Garden Restaurant about every ten days. Sometimes for food off the lunch menu at about $6.00, or with friends for dinner off the full menu. Regardless of the day or time there are two constants that make this a tasty and comfortable place to visit.
First, the food is top-rate. I have yet to find anywhere in Madison more tender beef and pork prepared for Chinese cooking than that offered by Wong’s. We have been told that the care Wong (age 64) takes in cutting his own meat, and preparing it is the reason that everyone loves it so very much.
My personal favorite is the Four Seasons Kow which combines chicken, beef, shrimp, and pork along with a host of vegetables into a pure culinary delight. There is just the right amount of everything, and once it all lands over the perfectly steamed rice it makes for a grand eating experience.
James loves the Kung Po Beef with the full flavor along with just the right amount of spice, without it being too sweet. As he often reminds me as the plate arrives at the table ”I love the peanuts.”
For appetizers I love their egg-drop soup, while James always orders the Hot and Sour soup. James (and a lawyer friend) love the Crab Rangoon, while I lean towards the pork egg rolls.
The second reason that this restaurant is exceptional is the quality of service and kindness that is shown for all who enter their business. I have seen over and over how someone will come in to place an order and Lian will offer a cup of tea while they wait for the food. After having come to know the owners over time the act of giving a cup of tea is more than just being a good businessperson, it is a genuine act of demonstrating who they are as people.
I gravitate to individuals with these characteristics, and truth is who the Wongs are as people is the reason I post about them on my blog. It is not everyday I am raving about a restaurant that others should make every effort to give a try. But with Wong’s I would very much encourage my readers to give them a chance. Let Wong’s welcome you for a meal, and chances are you will be mentioning the restaurant to friends.
The polite staff that are employed at Wong’s is small, but each of them has a down-home natural quality that makes for easy conversation. That is not always the case in a larger restaurant for a variety of reasons. At Wong’s it is as if the larger city slows down for a while, and a truly tasty meal can be enjoyed.
When all is completed and we pay our bill the friendly face of Gha Wong appears in a doorway with a wide smile. I often joke that his wife needs a pay raise, and Wong often reaches into his pockets and tells me he has no money. Lain leans on the counter and smiles as she has heard this routine many times between the two of us.
But that it just the type of laid back and homey place that makes up Wong’s Garden Restaurant.