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.
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.
Copyright 2010 by Katie Bradshaw