I’ve just started dating a new Chinese restaurant.
We were introduced by Tiana Zhang, proprietor of Stony Asian Mart in Stony Brook. The China-born Zhang, whose grocery is within walking distance of two fine Chinese restaurants, Green Tea and Ten89 Noodle House, lives in Hicksville. So naturally I asked her if she could fix me up with a good Chinese restaurant in Nassau County. She suggested Golden Temple, which replaced Kikku of Empire in 2010 but hadn't come across my radar.
Our first date was promising. At a neighboring table I saw customers eating “lion’s head,” the giant Shanghai-style meatball, and ma po tofu, a spicy Szechuan dish. I started off with some pretty spectacular littleneck clams in black bean sauce, then moved on to a big, satisfying bowl of noodle soup with snow cabbage and shredded pork. Next up: stir-fried lamb with scallions, which evinced an enviable lack of “glop” (flavor-wise, this wasn’t for the faint of heart), and super-fresh Chinese broccoli with garlic. “Salt and pepper” (deep-fried and then salted and peppered) squid was tasty but, as with so many iterations of this dish, was made with thickish pieces cut from the head of a very large squid, as opposed to tender rounds and tentacles cut from a smaller one.
On our second date, I ordered meaty, porky and not-too-sweet spareribs, forgettable egg rolls and a big bowl of spicy braised beef noodle soup, with tender hunks of beef floating in a rich, star-anise-tinged broth.
On both occasions, Golden Temple's servers were warm and efficient, the spacious dining room comfortable.
For the record, Golden Temple has a sushi bar serving a few dozen “imaginative” maki rolls stuffed and sprinkled with all manner of sweetness and crunch. There’s also teriyaki, bento boxes, Thai-style pineapple fried rice and various other offerings to the God Fusion.
But just as one might overlook a new paramour’s questionable taste in music or leaving the toilet seat up, I’m focusing on the positive and moving forward with the relationship.
Golden Temple is at 417 Jericho Tpke., Syosset, 516-364-6476, goldentempleny.com