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“Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.”
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 12 December 2018  

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  Bamboo Garden
  By Robin Widmar

   The first thing patrons will notice walking into Bamboo Garden is the roominess. Tucked into a strip mall-type space, the longtime Falcon Chinese restaurant is bigger inside than it appears from the outside. Several tables and booths to accommodate large and small groups were well-spaced, allowing ample room for diners. We found the restaurant clean, nicely decorated, with a welcoming atmosphere.
   
   We were greeted and seated promptly. Deciding what to order was a lengthier process as there were many choices. Bamboo Garden offers a variety of dishes with bases of chicken, pork, beef, seafood, vegetable, tofu and eggplant, as well as Pad Thai options.
   
   We started with the Po Po Platter, which featured a variety of appetizers, including egg rolls, cheese wontons, fried chicken wings, fried shrimp, BBQ pork ribs and beef-on-a-stick. Chicken wings were deep-fried in a light, crispy batter. The beef was thinly sliced, tender and pleasantly seasoned. The pork ribs were good, but our group found the glaze a little too sweet and reminiscent of cherry candy. All items arrived warm and ready to eat, but a little hibachi-style grill in the center of the tray was available for extra grilling action.
   
   The egg rolls and wontons that came with the Po Po Platter and the combo meals were crispy and flavorful, but the wontons could have used more cheese filling. The egg drop soup was a little thick, not watery, and had plenty of egg bits and streamers swimming in a broth that was not overly salty. We also enjoyed the wonton soup.
   
   Our group sampled several different chicken entrees. The sweet and sour chicken had crispy breading, nicely sized chicken pieces, with adequate chunks of pineapple, green peppers, and onions. Sesame chicken was well cooked without being tough, with the sauce sporting a mild heat. The chicken and broccoli had a good balance of flavors, though the brown sauce leaned toward garlicky. The broccoli was bright green but slightly overcooked, which caused the florets to wilt but that did not affect the taste.
   
   The lemon chicken consisted of a thin chicken breast covered in a crisp and crumbly Panko-style breading. The lemon sauce balanced sweetness with tangy citrus. Paired with a spoonful of white rice, one person thought it made the best one-bite combination of the evening.
   
   Other dishes we enjoyed included the “Happy Family,” a combination of shrimp, beef, chicken and vegetables in a teriyaki sauce. The shrimp and vegetables entree featured peas in the pod, baby corn, shrimp, broccoli, carrots, onions, celery and sliced bamboo pieces in a light and savory sauce.
   
   Perhaps the most notable dish of the night was the moo shu beef, which combined thin beef slices with noodles, egg, cabbage and carrots. The person who ordered this entrée declared it to be his new favorite. Everyone who tried the moo shu beef found it to be quite tasty in its own right, but even better wrapped in one of the accompanying rice pancakes and topped with a dollop of rich plum sauce. One of our diners said the combination “created a sweet and savory taste that epitomizes a Chinese food selection.”
   
   The steamed rice that accompanied the entrees had the right amount of stickiness without clumping. The fried rice, however, elicited mixed reviews. Some found it bland and lacking any real flavor, while others found it to taste just fine. It was not greasy, which was a plus, but it was rather plain with minimal egg and an absence of vegetables.
   
   Overall, we had a pleasant dining experience from start to finish. Whether by design or oversight, there was no music being played, which allowed us to converse at normal volumes. The food arrived promptly, portion sizes were appropriate and water glasses were frequently topped off. A take-out order tacked on to the end of the meal arrived perfectly timed with the check.
   
   Bamboo Garden is at 11605 Meridian Marketview and is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and offers both dine-in and take-out service. The diverse menu provides plenty of options to suit a variety of tastes.
  
The Po Po Platter at Bamboo Garden featured a variety of appetizers, including egg rolls, cheese wontons, fried chicken wings, fried shrimp, BBQ pork ribs and beef-on-a-stick. A mini hibachi-style grill sits in the center of the tray for extra grilling action.
 
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