by Terrance Mc Arthur
Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here!
I’ve written about this place, before: twice in articles on places where I eat during the Fresno Rogue Festival, once as a special mention in a piece on ice cream places.
It’s the Golden Restaurant, my go-to Chinese restaurant in the Tower District. We were double-Date-Nighting before the Good Company production of Man of La Mancha, and the Golden has become our meeting place of choice, so we got out my iphone and took pictures of dinner.
We could have chosen one of the fancy family dinners or ordered a lot of a la carte dishes, but the four of us have different tastes, so we ordered Complete Dinners. They all came with soup, won tons, Pork Fried Rice, and Almond Chicken Chow Mein; after that, things get ver-r-r-r-ry interesting. The soup sported massive chunks of chicken that must have been shoehorned into the cup, with a thick, vegetable-rich sauce that could make a really good gravy, while the wontons were super-crispy with a thick sweet-and-sour sauce that had a deep-orange glow. They formed the rice into a truncated cone with pieces of pork embedded on the top. The Chow Mein, layered over pan-fried noodles that still had spring to them, was nutty, veggie-laden, and tasty…without MSG.
The Orange Chicken is a basic dish, but it was a surprise to one of our group. The food had a freshness, and the chicken had higher quality than she was used to in other Chinese restaurants. This was her second visit here after we introduced her to it a few months ago (Customers are the best advertising for the Golden. When you mention the place, someone else in your conversation is likely to chime in with their praise for the food, or they’ll mention how it has always been a family favorite, and they went there as a child.).
My wife always shied away from spicy foods, but she is now a fan of the Curried Chicken. The curry packs a kick, but it doesn’t overwhelm. It’s almost sparkly, which is unexpected.
The Complete Dinners are priced from $6.75 for Egg Rolls or Egg Fu Yung, up to $16.75 for the Abalone Dinner with a Mushroom Sauce, pleasant pricing for filling food. The Beef with Oyster Sauce, cuddled by peas and carrots, kept the flavor of the beef without overcooking. The Macao Sauce, curried, thickened with coconut milk, lends a piquant flavor to it all.
The Fried Scallops came out hot and fresh, rivaling our dining partner’s experiences dining in New England. Speaking of hot, the Hot Mustard lived up to its name.
When the food of a Complete Dinner is eaten, the dinner is not over. Ice cream or sherbet is included as a dessert. Vanilla ice cream or a multi-flavored sherbet? Which should you choose? I’m partial to the sherbet.
For us, the Golden has become a pre-theatre ritual, where we go before a Good Company show or an evening at the Tower, and it can be a refuge of calm (or a great place to chat) during the Rogue Performance Festival in March. We love to share it with friends and even recommend it to strangers. It’s intimate, but light enough that you don’t need to shine your phone on the menu.
Golden Restaurant is at 1135 N. Fulton St., Fresno. During business hours, call (559) 264-2019.
May a good fortune be yours!