While it seems that every strip mall you pass has a Chinese restaurant among its tenants these days, every so often a place comes along that distinguishes itself from the pack. Chang’s Garden in West Seneca is one such place. Its take on (Americanized) Chinese food is, for my money, the best around.
The first thing you’ll notice about Chang’s is that there isn’t a lot of emphasis on atmosphere. The interior feels old and in need of a makeover. While this might be a turnoff for some diners, my nose was immediately drawn to the delicious aromas filling the air.
The restaurant was fairly busy for a Saturday afternoon, yet our server arrived immediately with hot tea and ice water. Efficient service seemed to be a hallmark of the restaurant as the servers were in constant motion, tending to each table as though it was the only one they had.
As those of you with young children know, Chinese restaurants can be a challenge. Most don’t have a kid’s menu, and aside from sweet and sour chicken, they aren’t terribly kid-friendly. At Chang’s, our waitress was very accommodating, and was happy to modify the vegetable lo mein (L-34, $4.85) to leave out all the vegetables. Suddenly my picky eater had “Chinese spaghetti,” which he declared to be “great.”
The wonton soup was a bit too salty for my taste, and the wontons lacked much in the way of filling. Still, a heaping bowl of crunchy noodles to crumble in helped out, and it was a matter of moments before our entrees arrived.
The roast pork was delicious. The pork was tender and sliced thin, the broccoli was fresh, and unlike what you’ll find in many restaurants, it wasn’t overcooked. It was bright green with a nice crunch to it. My other pet peeve about Chinese food is the tendency to drown everything in the traditional brown sauce. My dish was perfect, as were the others around me that I was nosy enough to observe. Enough sauce to flavor the meal, not so much as to overwhelm the fresh broccoli and roasted pork.
The fried rice that accompanied lunch was pretty standard fare, a portion large enough to fill a dinner plate and cushion the accompanying entree.
Finally, in the era of $2.99 fountain drinks, Chang’s offers a large glass of pop for $1. In fact, if you are feeling really hungry, add in a pork egg roll, stuffed with delicious filling and fried to a crispy finish, for $1.35. You’ll still make it out the door for less than $9 with late-night leftovers.
Where: 1753 Orchard Park Road, West Seneca (675-8888)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday; and 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
Extra: Efficient, well-packaged take-out available.
Wheelchair accessible: Yes.