First of, I do feel bad writing about my maiden visit to Kowloon coz dinner wasn’t great but the company was great and meal was free. Well, the husband and I did not pay a penny. Chris paid for our dinner there when we helped him move. Chris, if you’re reading this post…Sorry!!
Whenever we pass by Route 1 and Kowloon, the husband will always tell me about Kowloon and that lots of people like to frequent this joint. And that we should try it. The place is huge and the parking lot is always packed whenever we drove past it. The weekend we helped Chris with his move, we decided to head there for dinner since it was quite close to his new place. I was quite hyped about the place from all the raves I’ve heard from my friends.
Upon arriving, the parking was indeed quite packed and definitely huge. The building itself looked ginormous. When we entered the restaurant, it seemed like it was divided into 2 dining areas; Japanese Sushi area and common dining area I guess. We were lead into the regular/common dining area. The interior looked like it was stuck in the 70s or perhaps 80s with all the wall mural mimicking the beach/island. They were also faux coconut trees along one side of the wall. And part of the dining area were designed to create the feel of being on a sailboat…perhaps a mini Titanic…..all with the emergency boats/rafts, sail, etc… Sorry, I honestly don’t know parts to a boat. =)
So, after browsing through the menu with tons of dishes from different cuisines/regions…we decided to order from their Chinese menu. Here’s what we ordered.
1) Crab Rangoon @ $5.95 (Bottom Left). This is not exactly REAL Chinese food. If you’re not familiar with Crab Rangoon, this is basically a cream cheese mixture with imitation crabstick and seasoning wrapped in wonton skin then deep fried. 8 pieces of golden crispy cheese “pillows” came with a side of sweet and sour sauce. This was perhaps one of the better dish that night. =) I do appreciate that they really stuffed the wonton skin with lots of cheese! Yums!
2) Fresh Jumbo Shrimp with Lobster Sauce @ $11.75 (Bottom Right). I realized this is one of hubby’s favorite American Chinese Food. It’s definitely not mine. The brown meat sauce does not appeal to me. The first time I ate this dish (elsewhere), I thought the restaurant served up the wrong stuff. It was filled with ground meat and taste nothing like lobster. I’m not really sure why the call it Lobster Sauce, perhaps its cooked with some essence of Lobster..or lobster shells? No lobster meat is present for sure. Hubby’s shrimp with lobster sauce surely came with a handful of fresh juicy jumbo shrimps swimming in a pool of the brown meat sauce fondly known as Lobster Sauce. To me, there wasn’t anything special about this dish.
3) Tofu Yu Hsiang Style (Hot garlic Sauce) @ $10.75 (Bottom Left). I ordered this dish as I wanted some tofu. You can almost never go wrong with “Yu Hsiang” style tofu in any restaurants. This dish is usually slightly spicy. Tofu was deep fried then stir fried with some broccoli and spicy garlic sauce. It wasn’t the best I’ve tasted as I thought it still lacked some flavors/depths. However, all of us agreed that it was the best dish we ordered that night. Pat on the back for me.. Haha!
4) Special Kowloon Treasure - Chicken, Lobster, Shrimp, Beef and Roast Pork Sauteed with Chinese Vegetable and Oyster Sauce, Topped with Crispy Wonton @ $19.95 (Bottom Right). Chris ordered this and it came in a pedestal kind of serving ware. The dish looked odd, with huge wonton skins adorned around the dish, pineapple and cherry as garnish on top of the actual dish. It felt as if they were hiding the “stars” under all those extra garnishes. We were all deceived by the crispy wontons which were empty inside. We were expecting some kind of filling in it. The dish is perfect if you’re craving for all types of meat/seafood as well as vegetables in one dish. It was stir fried in a brown sauce which tasted very much alike the lobster sauce. Perhaps both these dishes use the same gravy base. Nothing too impressive about their “Special Kowloon Treasure” for sure!
What aggravates me most when eating at Asian restaurants especially Chinese ones is paying for white rice! To me, it doesn’t make sense to charge that extra $1-2 for rice when rice itself is a staple in Chinese cuisine! Why can’t they not charge the rice, and only charge if extra portion is requested??? I guess it’s just a marketing scheme to “extort” more money from the customers.. Haha! And yes, Kowloon does the same…charging you for the rice. And the rice wasn't cooked right. It was uncook/stale/..plain hard... It's a shame an Asian restaurant can't get its rice right! But, it was nice that the wait staff informed us that rice is not included and asked if we wanted rice with our meal.
Overall, the service is iffy. Their wait staff wasn’t very attentive or friendly. Will I be back? Probably not in the near future…Iffy service and mediocre food.. I rather pay more to eat at PF' Chang’s. Heck, I would even eat at Panda Express anytime then go to Kowloon again! You may disagree with me, but this is my personal review and experience. =P
Well, if you’re curious and want to give Kowloon a try…check out their menu HERE. They are located in the Saugus area on busy Route 1.
Saugus, MA 01906