Saturday, May 06, 2017

Eating up the Hill: Stick with the egg rolls at the Golden Palace

At Carling and Woodroffe, the Golden Palace Restaurant is well outside the radius I usually stick to for my Parliament Hill-adjacent food blogging. But their egg rolls are an Ottawa institution, so consider them as a constituency week, extended-lunch if you're driving option.

I first had the Golden Palace egg rolls at a Senators game, where you get two very meaty egg rolls cut in half with some plum sauce for somewhere north of $7. Not great value but hey, it's a sports stadium -- everything is marked up. They've since expanded their sports egg roll empire to the Air Canada Centre and the Bell Centre in Montreal, so there must be something to it. I do enjoy them, and it's a pleasant change from the usual stadium fare of hot dogs and chicken fingers with fries.

Momentary divergence with a plea for sports stadium food services decision makers -- knock a dollar of the price and sell me the chicken fingers without the fries, please. I'd pull the trigger more often.

Anyway, when various unimportant reasons brought me out to Carlingwood Mall on a day off last week, I decided to stop in to the restaurant that laucnhed this sports egg roll empire: the Golden Palace.

It's a nondescript restaurant in a commercial strip, and inside is a good size with stereotypical decor and tiling out of the sixties. There is a decent-size line of people waiting for take-out egg rolls, and I move past them and am invited to take a table. It's about half-full for the Thursday lunch hour, a mix of working people and seniors.

I peruse the menu and decide it's fairly clear they don't really cater to the lunch crowd. No separate menu for the lunch hour, just the same entrees as for dinner, all priced well north of $10. For someone looking for some variety (a meat, a veggie, some rice) the only option is to turn to the dinners for one, of which there are only two to choose from:

A. Won ton soup, egg roll, chicken chow mein, sweet and sour spare ribs, steamed rice, almond cookie; or
B. Won ton soup, egg roll, chicken chow mein, BBQ spare ribs, chicken fried rice, almond cookie.

Not the choices I would make if I had to choose, but not wanting to see how much they would ding me for substitutions I decide to pay the extra $1.80 for the fancier rice and get option for B for $21.80, and add another egg roll for $1.90.

The soup came first. The good was the won tons, nice and meaty. But the large slices of celery were more suited for a ranch dip than a soup, and the broth wasn't particularly flavourful.

The egg rolls didn't disappoint. Perfectly cooked to a golden crispy crisp, filled with meaty goodness. The house made plum sauce was watery and lacking punch, but I really should have just ordered a half dozen egg rolls and had that for my lunch. Deliciousness.

What to say about the mains? Well, there was a lot of each dish (excluding the ribs), so that's something. Although for a $20 lunch, there should be. Let's dispense with the ribs: not good. Overcooked, low quality meat, uninspired sauce. As for the chow mein and rice, it was decent with an acceptable amount of chicken breast in each. But they were just meh -- I've had much better Chinese in Ottawa.

And the end of the day, will I come back to Golden Palace? Probably. But only for the egg rolls. They are divine. The rest isn't worth the trip.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers

No comments: