Golden Chicken Japanese Grill has to be one of the oddest restaurants I have ever had the privilege to visit. Located in the same complex as Noodles and Company and Buffalo Wild Wings, it has competition with similar casual dining food chains, but its variety and customer service set it apart.
I first went to the restaurant my first-year when my parents came down for Hawktoberfest. We went there, not expecting much (particularly because my family is vegetarian and the place had “chicken” in the title), and found a diamond in the rough. Golden Chicken Japanese Grill is a typical asian fusion fast food joint, but with a twist. Not only do they have the typical Americanized “Asian” food (lo mein, pad thai of some variety, miso soup, etc.), but they also have down home American food.
On the same menu as the vegetable tempura, Golden Chicken Japanese Grill has fried chicken of every kind, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, etc. and no one seems to question it or find it odd. Probably because the food is pretty darn good.
I got the vegetable lo mein (again, I’m a vegetarian, so I cannot comment on the quality of the chicken half of the menu) and I slathered on a heaping portion of the restaurant’s Yum Yum Sauce. Picture that awesome sauce at Asahi (the hibachi grill next to JoAnn Fabrics) that you put on the fried rice and it tastes like Jesus and Gordon Ramsey had an edible baby, add a splash of chili or some other spicy-fier food, and you have Yum Yum Sauce.
That stuff is fan-freaking-tastic and when it mixes with the lo mein sauce it creates this awesome, heartburn-inducing, artery-clogging perfection. Add that to the fact that the lo mein comes with a free, bottomless drink, and you have one happy Simone.
The service is fantastic; the man behind the counter always recognizes me and knows my order by heart (vegetarian vegetable lo mein with no broccoli because it is the devil’s lettuce and no celery because it gets stuck in my teeth). However, I do have a few complaints. The surfaces at Golden Chicken Japanese Grill are almost never completely clean/grease-free, probably due to the fact that the menu is about 99 percent fried something and people don’t clean up after themselves.
A bigger problem I have is that the restaurant has no reusable utensils and only gives out disposable plastic. As a true St. Mary’s-ite, this bothers me and I always feel guilty for throwing out the plastic utensils and containers. I do it, but I feel bad.
While the food is awesome and the service enjoyable, I cannot get over the restaurant’s issues with cleanliness and its non-environmentally-friendly habits. I would give Golden Chicken Japanese Grill a 3.5 out of 5 but I would change that to a 4.5 out of 5 if they upgraded their cleaning equipment and used reusable containers and utensils.