2015-10-28 / Restaurant of the Week

J.J. Garden

J.J. Garden is definitely not your typical, greasy spoon Chinese take-out joint. Quite the contrary, J.J. Garden is a clean, comfortable, well-appointed, sit-down restaurant with all the amenities you would expect. J.J. Garden has been a fixture in the neighborhood for 19 years, conveniently located in the Jackson Heights Shopping Center. Crisp, white linens dress each table, illuminated by wall sconces and decorative Chinese lanterns above. The full bar mixes up fabulous cocktails along with wine and beer and the service, accented by Chinese hospitality from Jessica, Jerry and Kevin, is just great. I love the details such as moist towels brought at the beginning of the meal to the fruit brought at the end of the meal, delivered by your kind waiter donning a black suit and white shirt. These are details that the locals love, and J.J. Garden is perfect for families, couples and friends. Of course, they do take-out too and the phone is constantly lit up like a Christmas tree with orders to go, but I prefer to relax and enjoy an exotic meal in the comfortable dining room. Keep in mind that there’s a nicely decorated, private room in the rear that can accommodate 20-30 people for a business lunch, dinner or other private gathering, and the prices are great.

Start your meal in the peaceful dining room with a refreshing cocktail such as a Mai tai, frosty Piña colada, Scorpion or Zombie, all elegantly festooned with tiny umbrellas and fruit skewers. The Zombie is my favorite, made with rum and it looks so pretty, while my companion enjoyed some dry white wine. A pot of complimentary hot tea is brought to each table, with refills if you wish.

The menu features dishes from all regions of China and all are prepared on the spot using the freshest ingredients and presented to you steaming hot. If you have trouble deciding among all the tempting choices, your waiter can help. We started with a selection of their fabulous dumplings, filled with either pork, seafood, vegetables or chicken. Translucent shrimp dumplings were bitesized and delicious, dipped into soy sauce, as were the dim sum dumplings with pork and vegetables, starting at $1.50 to $7.50 for juicy pork bun dumplings which should not be missed. J.J. Garden has great egg rolls, crispy, light spring rolls and savory scallion pancakes, all light and flavorful and perfect for sharing. Barbecued pork ribs and roast pork tips with honey sauce are very popular for their meaty, smoky tenderness. Start with a bowl of wonton soup, hot and sour soup, or egg drop soup, or enjoy a Cantonese noodle soup for lunch or dinner, replete with roast pork, chicken, or vegetables, and your choice of rice noodles, flat noodles, or spaghetti.

The skilled chefs at J.J. Garden prepare dozens of entrées including a fabulous array of seafood dishes, meat, poultry, pork, vegetable and noodle dishes, all cooked to order and served nice and hot. We tried one of the Chef’s Specialties called “Happy Family,” a delicious mélange of tender, sliced beef, chicken, roast pork, lobster, shrimp, and broccoli in a golden brown sauce served with your choice of white or brown rice ($14.95). My “Seafood Delight” was a treat for the eyes as well as the palate, consisting of perfectly cooked calamari, juicy scallops, shrimp, lobster and vegetables in a light, white wine sauce ($14.95).

Other specialties include spicy chicken or beef with orange rind, shrimp and pork Hunan style, or the very flavorful Peking duck. Have fun rolling up your own pancakes with tangy Moo Shu pork, or dig into shredded pork with string beans and garlic sauce ($10). Sesame chicken or beef is lightly pan-fried and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, while the lemon chicken is light and citrusy. There’s even a Spa menu with lighter items such as the Vegetarian Long Life delight, and Grasp at Good Luck with chicken, carrots, and snow peas ($10). I’ll be back for the noodle dishes which include the spaghetti-like lo mein, angel hair mei fun, or flat noodles, prepared with your choice of extras.

J.J. Garden is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, from 11:00am to 10:30pm on weekdays, until 11:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon until 10:00pm on Sundays. There are lunch specials served from 11:00am until 3:30pm starting at just $5.75 that include soup or salad, main course and rice. Owner Jessica Chang has another restaurant and very impressive banquet hall in Brooklyn called “Golden Imperial Palace” for your next big affair. J.J. Garden is conveniently located in the Jackson Heights shopping center, so there’s ample parking. Grab a take-out menu or visit their website for menus. Fast free delivery is available, but for a unique dining-in experience, visit J.J. Garden, enjoy a festive cocktail and an exotic Chinese meal served by a kind wait staff in a clean, comfortable, nicely-appointed dining room. Don’t forget your next business or personal party here for up to 30 people.

Xie Xie!

75-21 31st Ave., Jackson Heights


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