The Golden Bowl is a satisfying Chinese restaurant much loved by Oak Park and Huntington Woods residents, as well as numerous ex-pats.
Generations have dined in or gotten carryout at this Oak Park mainstay. Joe Huang has owned the place for more than 40 years, staff told me, but he’s not the original owner.
Other restaurants in Metro Detroit are fancier, but this is one of the best I know to get a variety of well-prepared, traditional Chinese dishes at very reasonable prices. The eight-page dinner menu features Cantonese, Mandarin, Szechuan, Hong Kong and even Thai specialties.
Sesame Chicken, the best-seller, is $7.25 and the most expensive choice among 23 entrees on the “Very Special Luncheon Menu.” Each of the combination plates includes fried rice ($1 additional with chicken; $1.50 for shrimp), eggroll with tiny shrimp and a choice of either wonton or egg drop soup. The wonton has a delicious chicken broth, several plump dumplings and generous serving of green onions and Chinese greens.
Sizzling Rice is another soup worth mentioning, available for one or $3 additional to serve two or more. Everyone likes having the soup delivered to table with the rice still sizzling. Besides chicken broth and rice, there are diced chicken and vegetables, such as mushrooms, pea pods and bok choy. I had four small bowls of soup before requesting a take-home container. My single order was enough for a small army!
I encountered three friends at the Golden Bowl who formerly worked at a nearby hospital. One diner, Linda, called herself “an equal opportunity eater.” She loves gefilte fish but can’t get enough of her Chinese craving — Sweet and Sour Pork. The tenderloin pieces are dipped in egg batter and cooked with pineapple segments, sugar and vinegar.
I’m fond of lots of dishes. Steak Kow has thinly sliced flank steak and all manner of Chinese vegetables. The battered Almond Chicken is made with tender, fresh chicken breast and topped with a rich, savory gravy. Tasty egg foo young comes five ways for $6.25 or $6.
Seafood War Bar is among nine house specialties: lobster meat, shrimp and scallions sautéed with chunks of fresh vegetables and served with sizzling rice. Others include Special Fried Chicken with black bean sauce, Lemon Chicken and the gourmet Vegetable Combination.
Spacious and unpretentious, the Golden Bowl hasn’t a TV in sight. Instead, Chinese-themed artwork decorates walls. The restaurant has tables rimmed by 13 booths in the main dining room. Booths and chairs are turquoise. The leaves on some of the square tables can be converted into circular tabletops to seat more guests.
For many Jewish fans, the Golden Bowl is the obvious choice to indulge in the cliché of “Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas.” Larger groups can reserve a separate dining room. If you happen to see me there, please say, “Hi!”
The Golden Bowl
22120 Coolidge Highway
Oak Park, MI 48237
$½ out of $$$$$