Saturday, August 1, 2009

good buddy restaurant - edmonton, ab

good buddy restaurant
2059 111 Street

Three of us stopped in a Good Buddy recently, and being on the south side (ie I don't have to drive all the way to China Town), it's quickly becoming one of my favorite Chinese restaurants. I have no idea how to tell an authentic Chinese restaurant from your everyday western version, but things always seem good here.

The restaurant is fairly large, with a good mix of larger 8-10 person round tables and smaller 2-4 person tables. Good Buddy is split down the middle by the kitchen, and I'm not sure if there is preferences for either side as I've been seated all over the restaurant in my experiences. A few tables were being rotated through as we walked in allowing a handful of waiting customers to be seated, including us. Every time I've dined at Good Buddy, I'm always given the 'white' menu. This occasion was no different, so I quickly asked our server before she disappeared if I could also have a copy of the traditional menu. A few minutes later, another member of the wait staff, actually stopped by and said 'oh someone has given you the Chinese menu, let me go get you the regular menu', to which of course I had explain that I did indeed have the menu I needed. She gave me a funny luck, and it gave me a chuckle.

A brief conversation left me in charge of ordering which left me feeling a little awkward. See, I'd heard some mumblings while my fellow diners perused the menu - where are the green onion cakes..etc. So I asked first and foremost if they had an specifics. Why yes Chris, they did. So with the requests in tow, here is the food.

A single green onion cake. I have no idea what it tasted like, as I didn't try it. Seemed light and better than many of those heavy disc style versions.

Ginger Beef - by request of the table. First off, I'm not a big ginger beef fan but I liked that it wasn't soaking in sauce. The beef was fairly tender but for what ever reason the dish was cold. I don't think I've ever eaten cold ginger beef in a restaurant, only from my fridge the day after.

Peach Prawns in Yum Yum Sauce - I almost always order this for people who haven't branched out in Chinese food land, as I consider it fairly safe. The prawns were good, the breading was light enough and while there was a fair amount of sauce, it was mostly near the bottom so you were free to take as much or as little as you would like. The dish was a huge success.

Vegetable Delight - another fairly safe order and one of my favorite dishes. I was contemplating the addition of duck feet, but opted at the last second to go without. A good mix, and the vegetables were done to perfection. I love gai lan!

Empress Chicken - with a general request to keep things mild, this garlic laden dish fit the bill perfectly. While the table agreed it was tasty, I somehow ended up with almost a half plate of bones. Maybe I have no shame about picking things apart to get the good stuff!

I also ordered plain steamed rice, but didn't take any pictures of that. Overall the experience was good. I walked out with satisfied diners which always makes me happy when I suggest the venue. Prices are reasonable, most dishes in the 10-13 dollar range, and the wait staff are prompt and friendly. I can't comment on the more typical western Chinese cuisine as this occasions ginger beef was my first taste of a more typical option, but I do think it's worth a visit.


Sarah said...

If there are two menus: white and traditional, you're in for a good time. Also, if you're one of a handful of white people sitting in a full restaurant. Ding! Ding! Ding! You have a winner. Good Buddy and Buddy Wonton are some of my southside favourites. :) But I also like Spicy Garden for some China town action.

Grace said...

I just want to add that Sarah is *so* right about the menus thing ... I started reading your post and that was the first thing that popped into my head ... :) ... I must admit, I tend to only go to Chinatown for Chinese ... there are some *okay* places in Sherwood Park, so if I'm in the mood (and don't want to cook it myself ... :)), I figure I may as well drive downtown if I'm gonna drive anywhere. And my recommendations are Double Greeting Wonton House (I've been eating there coming on 25 years now) on 96 Street, a couple of blocks off Jasper, and New Tan Tan Restaurant, on 97 Street, beside the Hardware Grill. If you do check it out, tell Marie "hi" for me ... :)

Chris said...

Thanks for the suggestion Sarah and Grace. I'm not always sold that the double menu gaurantees a hit, but I think it's a good start to finding more unusual meal offerings. In saying that, I've noticed a few places where the two menus aren't that distinct. I rarely eat Chinese downtown during the day and usually end up at All Happy or Garden Bakery around 2AM. Makes the dining experience a little more exciting if you know what I mean ;)

Anonymous said...

The places that have two menus are usually the ones outside of Chinatown - that way they don't lose the non-Chinese neighbourhood customers (who want the lemon chicken, etc.) but still keep the ones who want authentic food.

Wow, Chinatown at 2 AM. You're so brave! Make sure not to stare at the gangsters. ;)

Sarah said...

Oh Christopher. I've got some great 2am Chinese food stories. I used to live on 104 Ave and 92 Street.

Chris said...

It makes sense I suppose with such a diverse population spread in the growing cities; good business practice Do you have a favorite spot brulee? I always remember when eating late night, look as inconspicuous as possible!

Oh Sarah, you and your downtown living.

Ellen said...

As a Chinese girl,if I'm with friends who are not Chinese or Asian, I also get the "white" menu and am given a plate with a fork! It bothers me to no end and I have to ask the server in Chinese to bring me the "real" menu, bowls, AND chopsticks! To which they sometimes apologize, but not always. I really dislike the double menu thing despite it being a good business practice. I just think that it's a huge assumption that foreigners won't know how to order. At least give both menus just in case!

As for good eating places, I always gravitate to Chinatown. Garden Bakery is good, although there has been a change in ownership, so perhaps the food may be different. I also like All Happy (it's next to Garden Bakery). It may look like a dive (dingy and dark), but the food is very tasty. Plus, they open until 3 am, I think!

Chris said...

"I just think that it's a huge assumption that foreigners won't know how to order." Not only that Ellen, but what about all the goodies that people are missing out on. Some of, if not most of, the best dishes are hidden on the 'other' menus.

Thanks for the heads up about the owner change, and who doesn't love a plate of hot food at 3AM. Classic end to the evening!

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