Thursday, December 25, 2014

Bad service at Joyce Chinese Cuisine, Christmas dinner at home

The beautifully decorated dining room of Joyce Chinese Cuisine in River Edge is quite a contrast after you've seen litter, a broken sidewalk and parking rules that are difficult to fathom at the shabby strip mall on Kinderkamack Road the restaurant calls home.


When I found out a friend had made numerous business trips to Hong Kong, I asked him to meet me for dim sum at Lan Garden on Route 46 in Ridgefield.

But he said he had heard bad things about the Chinese restaurant, and suggested we have dim sum instead at Joyce Chinese Cuisine in River Edge.

When I got there on Tuesday afternoon, he was already seated and announced that, guess what, Joyce doesn't serve dim sum.

But the two Chinese restaurants have one thing in common: Indifferent service from a young staff.

The table at Joyce Chinese Cuisine held a tea pot, but only one cup, and a single glass of water.

After I arrived and sat down, the server brought us menus and went away, but I had to ask another waiter for a tea cup and a glass of water.

I liked the food at the Szechuan restaurant, especially an appetizer of Hot Spicy Cold Noodles ($5.50), with their delayed heat.

But after we finished it, a busboy came over and started to clear all of the dishes and chopsticks off of the table before I told him we were waiting for two other dishes.

Most of the other customers appeared to be Chinese, usually a good sign.

I have long been loyal to Lotus Cafe in Hackensack, where I see the same waiters year after year and have gotten excellent service.

An appetizer of Hot Spicy Cold Noodles is not to be missed.

A lunch entree of Shrimp in Black Bean Sauce with broccoli was $13.50.

Dry Sauteed String Beans can be ordered without meat ($10.25).

Wonderfully spicy carrot and radish, above, and peanuts are complimentary.

Test your chopstick skills by picking up these and putting them in your mouth.

Tea is free, but Joyce Chinese Cuisine does charge for premium brews.

Joyce Chinese Cuisine, 478 Kinderkamack Road, River Edge; 201-261-8858. Open 7 days. Parking in front and rear.

A bountiful seafood feast

We started our Christmas dinner this afternoon with two items from Costco Wholesale, Lobster Bisque and fully cooked Alaskan King Crab Legs, which I steamed for 15 minutes.

We followed that with four live lobsters, which averaged a little more than 1.5 pounds each. I ate mine with the juice of a fresh lime.

We spent $65 on the meaty crab legs and nearly $57 on the lobsters, but I'm planning to make a seafood salad with the leftovers.

After the soup, crab and lobster, I only had room for some yuca with garlic, but the rest of the family tucked into Cuban-style roast pork and dirty rice, along with the yuca.

Left uneaten were five whole fish a family friend prepared for our dinner.

We drank Kirkland Signature Prosecco, a sparkling dry white wine from Italy, and ShopRite's Sparkling Cider, made from 100% apple juice and imported from Spain.

A 24.5-ounce bottle was on sale with a store card for $1.49 on Tuesday, with a limit of four. That's a dollar off the usual price.

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