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Tea Garden

December 20, 2010

I’m not terribly fond of Chinese food, but I’d read that a newly-opened restaurant in Gering — the Tea Garden (located at 3485 N 10th St) — had a broader variety of foods than a typical Chinese restaurant. Husband and I decided to check it out, since we were driving around town this weekend attending to various errands.

(Here’s their website, which, as of this writing, was still under construction and empty.)

While the restaurant doesn’t look too snazzy on the outside (it used to be a Country Kitchen, after all) . . .

I was wowed by the decor inside, which includes a lot of black-and white modern sleekness. Very fancy-looking.

The front-of-house display included a (not functional at the time) wall fountain illuminated by multicolored lights, a reproduction of a Terracotta Warrior, and this, by the bar . . .

I am a fan of The Christmas Story, so immediately upon finding a ginormous Christmas tree in a Chinese restaurant, this popped into my head.

The staff at the restaurant were very friendly and made me feel welcome.

I have to admit being a little disappointed in the lunch menu, though. I didn’t know what to expect, but the only things I saw on the menu that weren’t Chinese-sounding were curries (with a beef/chicken/veg/shrimp option) and a Pad Thai. There were also some “American food” options on the back of the menu, but I can’t remember what they were, and the take-home menu version doesn’t include them. I think I remember hamburgers?

Anyway, I wasn’t in the mood for curry or Pad Thai (I am a Pad Thai snob, so I was a little afraid to try it and wind up deeply disappointed), so I chose the broccoli with garlic sauce, which was marked with an asterisk indicating “Hot & Spicy.”

One thing the Tea Garden has going for its lunch menu is the all-inclusiveness of the selections. Along with my order of garlicky broccoli came a cup of soup (choice of wonton, egg drop or hot and sour), an eggroll, a “crabmeat cheese” wonton, and, of course, rice and a fortune cookie. (With a low-low price ranging from $6.50 to $7.25, depending on the meat, or lack thereof.)

The hot and sour soup and eggroll were “meh,” though I really liked the spicy mustard that was an option for the dipping sauce. I gave the wonton to husband, since I don’t like them. The rice, instead of being white, included a few vegetables and was lightly coated in soy sauce (Ack! More sodium! I suppose I could have requested steamed rice, had I known.). And the “Hot & Spicy” was anything but (except perhaps to a Norwegian palate).

BUT, I have to say, the presentation was fun, and my veggies were very impressive.

Square plates are groovy! (Just beware of the plateside spillover!)

The broccoli was crisp, the bell pepper was flavorful, and the dish included a generous portion of water chestnuts.

I might consider trying the Pad Thai after all, or perhaps ordering the broccoli again, with a request for steamed rice and less sauce, but more spice.

Tea Garden on Urbanspoon

Copyright 2010 by Katie Bradshaw

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Rick Myers permalink
    December 21, 2010 8:16 am

    Went to Tea Garden Sunday afternoon. Hot and sour soup was very nice. Thai seasoning was a bit bland. I had Buddha vegetables and found the brown sauce a bit thick and veggies overcooked. Will, however, give it another chance. Suzanne was happy with her Thai beef.
    Just FYI. The restaurant is in Terrytown rather than Gering.

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink*
      December 21, 2010 10:44 pm

      Huh. I never can figure out where the Terrytown borders are.

      • Rick Myers permalink
        December 22, 2010 9:19 am

        Terrytown is that bit of territory between the North Platte River on the west side of North 10th Street and ending at the irrigation ditch just south of Van Newkirk Realty.

  2. Casey permalink
    December 21, 2010 5:00 pm

    I have tried the Pad Thai, and it was comparable to what I’ve gotten at Thai places when I lived in Omaha (although not as spicy as I prefer). Maybe I was just projecting, since I miss Omaha Thai food a lot, but I thought it was pretty good.

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink*
      December 21, 2010 10:49 pm

      I will definitely have to give it a try. The Pad Thai at Oriental House didn’t impress me the one time I had it, but then again, I got it “to go”, which might have made a difference.

  3. January 3, 2011 6:38 pm

    I’ve been wanting to stop by and check it out. Do they have Chai tea? Did they have anything Japanese? We are lucky to have your honesty of observations!

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink*
      January 3, 2011 8:08 pm

      They have Thai tea. Don’t know what that is for sure, but I know I like Thai coffee (iced coffee with cream, sugar and a hint of cardamom).

      From a scan of their dinner menu printout, the Japanese influence seems to be limited to edamame and veg tempura in the appetizers and teriyaki rice bowl. The lunch menu I have is much more limited. Then again, the carry-out copy of the menu was different from what was available at the restaurant.

      From first impressions, though, I think Oriental House is a better bet for Japanese food.

  4. January 3, 2011 6:40 pm

    Got a kick out of the video too!

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