Lee Garden Restaurant - Affordable Chinese Favorites Attract Customers
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
Carrying on a tradition of great restaurants in this famous Dededo landmark which once housed Double Dragon, Tom's Table, and M's Steak House, Lee Garden has captured the hearts, minds, and tastebuds of its patrons with good foods that are priced right! Lee Garden Restaurant is located on Loreta Street across from Kay Enterprises, just south of Y-Sengsong and behind KJ Mart. A Napa Store and Mobil station are visible across Marine Drive from Lee Garden's entrance. The big green sign is easy to find.
Mr. Lee, owner of Lee Garden, used to own Agana's Mandarin Restaurant and was a head chef at the Dynasty (Hilton) and at Lufuku (Westin) restaurants. Lee Garden has over 41 daily lunch specials (Mon-Fri) priced between $5.00 - $5.50, all of which include soup, rice, and a dessert with the main course.
Zee and I were joined by friends, for this dinner review. Our hostess, Leslie Chen, Manager, had selected several entrees from the dinner menu for us to taste. This restaurant became increasingly busy as we sat, which seemed unusual for a Monday night. The tables were filled predominantly by Chinese families, many of them regular customers who like the quality, selection, and price. It was our friend's first time and they experienced what I know to be less than ideal service - which I attribute to the unexpected "rush" of customers. However, once the food arrived, it kept coming and our attention was riveted on these savory dishes.
We had Yang Chow Fried Rice ($7.00), which was a good starter with a medley of ingredients, including shrimp. A platter of Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings was delivered and soon all of us were murmuring our surprise and delight as we munched on these flavor-laden wings. They were lightly battered with salt, pepper, and lots of fresh garlic - crispy garlic chips were visible on the chicken. These are understandably popular among Lee Garden's clientele, and are priced at $7.50.
An intriguing dish was placed on the table which we could only identify by tasting the pungent orange peel in a rich brown gravy with meat and onions. It was Beef Chop Steak & Orange Peel ($8.00), and something I probably wouldn't have selected, but we were glad it was offered since it was also really good. The beef had been marinated and lightly battered before sauting, and it was not what one would normally expect based on the name.
A bowl of Chicken Soup with Egg & Vegetables (not on the menu, but priced at $10.00) was delivered. I had this before (it's a Chinese delicacy) and I think I may have prejudiced my companions with my description of it having Thousand Year Eggs and Salted Eggs! The bok choy (I've also had it with spinach) filled the steaming bowl with the eggs. Everyone loved the vegetables and the flavorful broth...they left me the eggs, which I ate with relish!
The final entree we were served was one of Lee Garden's signature Hot Pot dishes - the Lapu Lapu in Hot Pot ($12.00). Folks, if you were limited to trying only one dish at Lee Garden, you will not go wrong with any of their Hot Pot selections! They have Chicken, Chop Suey Meat, Shredded Meat and Eggs in Soybean, and Diced Chicken w/Eggplant in Hot Pot dishes (these priced at $10.00). The Beef Stew in Hot Pot ($12.00) is a favorite among locals who really like the tender beef chunks that fill the pot - like pot roast!!
There is a lot of food in these Hot Pot entrees. The Lapu Lapu was plentiful, and was joined by straw mushrooms, baby corn, green onions, char-siu pork, braised tofu, Chinese cabbage, celery, and cucumber slices, which we found to be a welcome novelty that added its discernibly fresh flavor with each bite.
Lee Garden is clean, well-ventilated, and offers take-out, which you can order by calling 633-8632. They have a delicious Peking Duck, which needs at least a half hour advance preparation order, with the whole duck priced at $35.00. Lee Garden is open seven days a week, with lunch service from 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. and dinner service from 6 p.m - 10 p.m. Word of mouth among the Chinese, local, and military has been steadily increasing Lee Garden's popularity. After all, you can't go wrong with good quality priced right!