The new Maple Garden (or the former Yen King) is located at 909 Isenberg Street, site of the original Maple Garden. Although the name is the same, the restaurant atmosphere or ambience is quite different. Which is better? That depends on your criteria.
The original Maple Garden made a great smoked tea duck, eggplant, hot & sour soup, and Chinaman’s Hat. The wait help was brusque even rude at times but the quality of the food was good.
I went to the new Maple Garden for lunch today with JP and tried out their lunch buffet ($10.50). This was the first time that I went to the new Maple Garden.
Although food can be ordered from the menu, most of the people, if not all, were eating from the buffet. The buffet items included chicken salad, fried gau gee, vegetarian spring rolls, beef broccoli, sauteed eggplant, bitter melon, kung pao chicken, roast chicken, salt and pepper shrimp, fresh sea bass, almond tofu, watermelon, and gelatin. Hot and sour soup and tea also came with the buffet.
My favorites were the sea bass, which was not overcooked but had a nice, delicate shoyu/oil flavor, the bitter melon, and eggplant.
The buffet line was replenished regularly and if one of the items was low, one of the servers would bring the dish to our table. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food at the new Maple Garden is fair. One of the servers joked that we could visit the buffet line only five times. I went up three times and I didn’t eat dinner tonight.
Maple Garden is open from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The price of the dinner buffet is $14.95. Call 941-6641 for reservations.