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Posted on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 10:40 a.m.

Frugal Friday at the Evergreen Restaurant - sharing dishes family style is an inexpensive but tasty option

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

I couldn't even tell you how long my family has been eating at the Evergreen Restaurant — likely since it opened in 1992. When my father was well enough to come visit in Ann Arbor, he inevitably took Jeremy and me to lunch there.  So, because it's a long-time favorite, this seemed like a great place to feature today for Frugal Floozie Friday.

There are a remarkable number of dishes you can order that are well within our mandatory $5 per person budget. Above, you see the Evergreen Sampler for $8.99; it offers Spicy Beef Skewers, Tempura Shrimp, Spring Rolls, and Crab Rangoon. The fried items are all crisp and flaky, and the shrimp are tender and sweet within their coating. This appetizer was split among four people before eating dinner, and everyone enjoyed the treats.

After the first course, orders of Sweet and Sour Chicken, Mu Shu Pork and Mongolian Beef were shared. If a dish is designated as "spicy and hot," you can request varying degrees of heat which are always respected and prepared perfectly. Other favorites among loved ones include Almond Chicken, perfect with its crispy coating; General Tsou's Chicken, which I've tasted from mild to significantly intense; and Beef with Spicy Orange Flavor, which features dried orange peels that contribute both flavor and fabulous aroma.

Entrees are very generous at the Evergreen, and very few of them cost more than $10 per order; these can easily be shared among two or three family members and friends to stay within our strict fiscal guidelines. There is a tremendous variety of offerings, as well — I counted more than 110 options on just one side of the take-out menu before I got tired of adding them all up!

The restaurant features Mandarin, Sichuan, Hunan, Shanghai and Taiwan styles of cooking, which might make one wonder whether there is too little focus. But in 20 years of eating there, I have never encountered a bad meal or known anyone who didn't happily devour his or her food.

The staff is always very friendly and attentive.  So stop by sometime and enjoy a great meal in a bright, welcoming atmosphere!

Evergreen Restaurant
2771 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Sunday - Thursday: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday - Saturday: 11 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.

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Mary Bilyeu writes about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests ... 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 or comments or suggestions:

You should also visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related.

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.



Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 3:05 a.m.

At their last Health Dept. inspection 9/15/11, they had a total of 10 violations, 3 of which were critical. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 4:09 a.m.

Gross, good to know.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

I was a loyal customer for about 5 years, and then the service went downhill when we started using the coupons for a 15% discount that are printed in various circulars around town, and we started to share dinners. We simply didn't want to eat piles of food or take it home, so we decided to each get appetizers and then share a dinner. Suddenly, the service changed, and not for the better. The last time we were there, the rice bowl was only half filled and was cold, and the portion on the dinner entree was half what it was in the past, for the same entree. We stopped going there, unfortunately, since it happened on more than one occasion and with the same waitresses as served us previously when we each ordered dinners and received good service. Just because people want to share dishes should not be a reason to give poor service. This is a good way to lose loyal customers.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

Wow that's terrible. I always got good service there, although I haven't tried sharing food. They better be real nice to customers with Pfizer gone, the library in the mall gone, etc.

Mary Bilyeu

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 11:05 p.m.

I'm so sorry you've not received great service! I've never had this problem at Evergreen; there have been servers who are quiet and a bit shy, but never unfriendly. While I have been chastised by a reader for sharing dishes, even though I agree with you that sometimes you'd rather share than eat too much or deal with leftovers, I have never been treated badly at any restaurant in town - they're grateful for the business and happy that we enjoy the food. And given the loss of business from Pfizer, I would think every restaurant along Plymouth Road would be grateful for customers and treat them well ....

Angry Moderate

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

Evergreen is the best Chinese food in town, but nothing can replace Forbidden City.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

The Evergreen is clearly in the hunt for the best tasting Chinese food in the area. Very few even come close. Most are gosh-awful. Egg Drop, Hot/Sour, Moo Goo, General Tsau, Cashew Chicken - all top notch. The Good List: Evergreen Gormet Garden (a couple of Zombies, and who cares how good the food is!) The place that was in the old Hardees, that burned down and (I think) will be a Tim Hortons The Pretty Good List Lai Lai Great Wall Middle Kingdom (seems to be trending lower all the time) then all the rest. My guess is you could get a frugal split a meal thingie at any of those places. (I guess if you split it enough, you could get a Frugal Friday thingie out of the Chop House for that matter.)


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

Great Lake should make the list of really good. Emerald city was always good, but it just changed over to something else.

Mary Bilyeu

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

I'm sure you could split the entrees at any Chinese restaurant and serve several people - it's great to eat that way, so that everyone can try a bit of each item!


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

The spicy orange beef @ Evergreen is my favorite Chinese dish in the area. And Evergreen makes the best hot &amp; sour soup, too. OK -- that's it -- I'm heading over there right now. :^)

Mary Bilyeu

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

Think of me while you have lunch - I'm jealous! The orange beef is really exceptional ... :)

Laura J

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

Love the food at Evergreen. Used to eat there alot more when I worked at Parke-Davis. Hopefully, they are getting enough business to stay afloat with the departure of Pfizer.

Mary Bilyeu

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

I worry about them, too - things have been tough on the NE side of town. I had hoped for a more enticing photo to go with this post; but while I was tinkering with this one, all the rest of the food was being divvied up without anyone waiting for the photo ops! Great testament to the food, at least ... :)