Undercover Buffet: Jade Garden

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Billie Wong

When many people go out for a meal in Moose Jaw its for Chinese food and that invariably means a buffet, smorgasbord or all you can eat fare.

To find out how good (or bad) each one is I will be eating at every one of them, without alerting the management.

I will give you my opinion.

Week One:  JADE GARDENS

471 Main Street North
Licensed

Conveniently located at the corner of Main Street and Athabasca Street East, this restaurant is the one of longest operating buffets in the Friendly City.

ACCESSIBILITY

The restaurant is wheelchair accessible, although the doors are a little heavier to open.

PARKING

There is free off-street parking available. There is direct access to the parking lot.

STAFF

The staff is both friendly and courteous; its obvious from the interchange between staff and diners that many are regulars.

AMBIANCE AND ATMOSPHERE

This not the type of restaurant I would personally recommend if privacy and intimate atmosphere is on the top of your list.
Seating consists of two dining areas; one close to the buffet with a second room, a little further away, sufficiently soundproofed to present noise overflow.

Good in-house password protected wi-fi so you don't have to be on an expensive plan.

Ask for the password

WASHROOMS

Clean, although they are a little bit dated.

I did a bit of a test and found dust buildup on top of the washroom stall enclosure.

Separate handicap accessible washroom.

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FOOD

There was a large selection of food items to be had, with the management boldly posting a sign saying there is no MSG.
I

personally found the food to overall be average in quality and taste.

The rice was not dry nor clumped together, so it was obvious that care had been taken to prevent it from clumping.

The noodles were OK but for this critics taste buds a little bit bland and oily.

The spring roll was delicious inside but was far to greasy to be saved by the other ingredients.

The spicy pork was not only hot temperature-wise but was also the right consistency for most Moose Jaw palletes; which are none to accepting of hot and spicy foods.

The fresh dinner roll was properly glazed and moist. Homemade? No. But much better than expected.

The brocolli was fresh and the perfect consistency of neither being over nor undercooked. The same was true with the Bok Choy,  although both dishes had a little bit too much canola oil for this critics taste. I'm sorry, but the mushrooms were bland and added little of a saving grace.

The egg roll was satisfactory although it did have a very definite machine-made taste to it.
The roast beef, despite being set out and pre cut was both, tender and juicy without being salty and inundated with fat.

The shrimp was OK but I found it a little bland and thankfuly the batter fell; it added nothing to the dish anyway. A good dipping sauce, which would have been a lifesaver, was absent.

The won ton soup was much better although the noodles seemed far too permeated to bring visions of fresh handmade to mind.

The deep fried fish seemed to lack gusto and was far too peppery. Once again, its deep fried, so beware of that canola oil taste.

A great saving grace was the Montreal Spiced Ribs, which were just perfect.

These ribs have the right amount of fat, plus they marinated and tendered to perfection.

The dessert/salad table is sufficient, with fresh, on-season watermelon and pineapple in abundance.

The jello though is a little bit underwatered making it far too runny, in my mind.
The lemon tarts pass inspection.

ADD ONS

To see what the house promotional drink tasted like I agreed to the five dollar bubble tea.
The overall texture of the main flavouring and ice was smooth and consistent and temporarily titillating. But that was short lived as the use of jelly instead of tapioca totally shattered the experience.

Bubble tea is supposed to be not just about taste but a psychological surrender, as the tapioca beads slide up the straw and then are playfully chased around the mouth with your tongue releasing an orgasmic pleasure.

Sadly though, trying to mimic it with jelly simply destroys the effect. I won't buy this again.
Overall I give Jade Gardens a passing grade of 6.5 out of 10.