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Posted on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 8 a.m.

Frugal Friday at Gourmet Garden - portions are large enough to feed two

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

We've been so, so busy lately that Jeremy and I once again found ourselves out running errands and schlepping to appointments one evening, and determined that we needed to get some dinner. Not having had Chinese food in a long time, we stopped by Gourmet Garden, today's Frugal Floozie Friday feature.


Mary Bilyeu, Contributor

For a mere $5.95, I ordered a platter of Lo Mein with bright, crisp vegetables. It was easily enough to feed two or more people, which then allows — within our $5 per person budget — for a fresh, hot, crunchy spring roll for $1.25. Since our meal had started with a complementary dish of fried chow mein noodles with a sweet dipping sauce, there was an ample quantity of food.

Jeremy veered from some of his usual dishes, and ordered the Sweet and Sour Pork for $8.50; he'd simply heard it calling to him, so he thought he'd try it. The coating wasn't soggy at all, having apparently been freshly sauced before serving; and the sauce itself wasn't too sweet, and was quite good. Served with rice, this is another dish that could serve two.


Mary Bilyeu, Contributor

The restaurant's dinner dishes are meant to be served family-style and to be shared; and the portions are large enough to serve possibly three or four with appetizers. Most of the menu offerings are so reasonably priced — under $10, and often under $8 — that splitting them is a great frugal way to enjoy a good meal.

At lunchtime, you can order the Luncheon Special and get either Buddhist Delight or Broccoli in Garlic Sauce for less than $5 each; and these are served with both soup and with your choice of white, brown or fried rice.

Gourmet Garden is a great place to go for good food, fast service, and generous portions.

Gourmet Garden 2255 W. Stadium Blvd. Ann Arbor, MI 48103 734-668-8389

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Mary Bilyeu writes for on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, telling about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests, meeting new friends ... whatever strikes her fancy. She is also on a mission to find great deals for her Frugal Floozie Friday posts, seeking fabulous food at restaurants on the limited budget of only $5 per person. Feel free to email her with questions, comments, or suggestions:

Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — where she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related; and look for her monthly articles in the Washtenaw Jewish News. "Like" her on Facebook, or send a tweet on Twitter, too.

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.


Mary Bilyeu

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

It's great to see so many Gourmet Garden fans! Yes, indeed, it IS still open!


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

Gourmet Garden is still open? You'd never know it from the street. Its front facade practically screams "abandoned building." A couple coats of paint might bring them more business, because people like me would no longer drive by and assume it's closed. I used to get takeout from GG fairly often — years ago — but lately I've found that I prefer the food at San Fu.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

I enjoy Gourmet Garden since it is the best Chinese food in Ann Arbor. Food usually tastes quite fresh and the cooks have skill to time things well so that meals still have crunch to them. I do find that there sauces ARE quite sweet, sometimes too much so for my palate.

J. Sorensen

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 7:58 a.m.

Gourmet Garden has become a holiday favorite for those of us without the large traditional family dinners. It's packed on X-mas and they take real pride in not only their food, but presentation as well. It's still fun to sit in there and picture where the Ponderosa decorations hung.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

Anybody been to T K Wu's lately? They used to be quite good, and had many Chinese customers, but I haven't been on campus much lately, so don't know.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

They have gone downhill. I used to enjoy going there but now very rarely do so.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

Ok...I'll let you slide a little on this one cause it's Chinese food...which is usually intended to share. But Gourmet Garden is THE most expensive Chinese restaurant in the city. It's also THE best Chinese restaurant in the city too. 2nd best would be Great Lakes Seafood Company....and guess what? SAME FAMILY!!! That new thing in Ypsi...the one that's supposedly the biggest Chinese buffet in the state...they're good but they're still not even close to the quality at Gourmet Garden. I did notice you said most offerings are under $10....that's not entirely true. If you're only counting their generic chinese entrees then sure...most are under $10. But if that's what you're could go to Happy Wok that's just down the street and pay less for identical quality of those dishes. What shines at Gourmet Garden are their choices on the Chef Selections....most of which you don't get in Pt/Qt sizes....and only 3 of them are under $10. If you're not going to get something off the Chef Selection menu then you're going to Gourmet Garden for the wrong reason. It's those dishes that makes their restaurant stand out of the crowd. And it's STILL not that expensive....most expensive dish is $16 I think (Peking duck doesn't count). I guess you could call that expensive for Chinese food...but not for eating out.

Stupid Hick

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.

Now, here is a good restaurant review!