Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Something Amiss At Tasty Garden in Alhambra.

When Tasty Garden opened up in Alhambra almost 15 years ago it sent Hong Kong style cafe food in the San Gabriel Valley to new heights. When I wrote my one and only Top 10 Chinese restaurant ranking back in 2012 I seriously thought about including Tasty Garden as one of the top 10 Chinese restaurants in the United States before slotting in San Francisco's brilliant but quirky Jai Yun in my listing. 

For 10 years Tasty Garden Alhambra had an uninterrupted run of serving superior Chinese food, and was the restaurant that we patronized the most.  They served a tantalizing variety of new and old favorites--egg tofu with mushrooms and vegetables, French style beef cubes, a fantastic orange chicken, fish flake Chinese broccoli, egg white dried scallop fried rice, bamboo pith fish fillet, honey garlic pork ribs, and my personal favorite, egg white with imitation shark fin, to name a few.   New branches opened and crowds grew in Alhambra such that they annexed the beauty parlor next door and expanded the restaurant. 

Then came the sales tax scandal which created such a liability that the restaurant had to be sold to pay the unpaid taxes.  The new owners called themselves Pot Pot Rice but retained Tasty Garden as their DBA, keeping most of the menu intact such that many customers probably didn't know there was a change.  The food at Tasty Garden seemed to stagger a little, but then fortunately appeared to regain its footing such that the restaurant maintained its popularity. 

Late last year we dropped by one evening and all the staff was now wearing “Mr. Yuet” shirts and handing out Mr. Yuet menus. though the outside signage still said Tasty Garden. And much of the menu remained the same and the food was good enough to keep us coming, though not as often as it was clearly a little hit and miss, too. (Interestingly, Yelp kept separate current parallel listings for Tasty Garden and Mr. Yuet, something I've never seen them do anywhere else.) 

Then last week Mrs. Chandavkl dropped by, noticing that the previous expansion area was now blocked off and under construction. She ordered some of our favorite dishes and they weren’t very good and portion sizes were diminished.  While as I previously wrote, Yelp ratings for Chinese restaurants are terribly unreliable, Yelp is a fountain of factual information.  So I decided to check Yelp and saw comments from the past three weeks the staff had been completely replaced and people are complaining that the food is bad and the portions are smaller.

I hate it when things like this happen.

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