Restaurant Review – Jade Bistro in Mount Laurel, NJ

To give an example of just how slow the service, one of my dining companions ate General Tso’s Chicken. When she ordered, it was Sgt. Tso’s Chicken. It moved up the entire military hierarchy in the time it took to prepare it. I attended with a party of twenty. The time it took for them to deliver everyone’s meal was about twice as long as all Liz Taylor’s marriages combined. I would’ve thought with my group having reservations on a Saturday night, the establishment would’ve been much more prepared.

In addition, they didn’t have enough brown rice available for our group. Did I mention this is a Chinese restaurant? They did cook some more but it took a while to prepare. A number of people had to wait quite some time. I think some of the men in our group needed to shave at least once before they brought it out. One of the lucky people in my group received his meal early. He ended up sending it back for reheating so he could have it with his brown rice.

I started off my dining adventure with a pint of the Mixed Vegetable Soup. They served me a quart of it. The dish reminded me of Pho Thai only substituting vegetables for the meats and noodles. I explained to the server that I ordered the pint. She responded that particular appetizer didn’t come in that size. When I made it to the bowl’s half-way point, it became light enough for me to move. I checked the menu and, sure enough, it did specifically state that the Mixed Vegetable Soup came in a pint. While I liked the soup and certainly thought it a value for $4.00, the restaurant didn’t give me what I ordered.

After invidiously watching all of my dining companions receive their meals ahead of me, I finally got mine. The enormous size of the appetizer turned out to be rather serendipitous. It was a good thing I filled up on soup first.

Whenever I go to places that serve ethnic foods, I like to try something different. I’m not a vegetarian, but I do enjoy vegetables, especially spinach. I read something on the menu called Garlic Water Spinach. I had to try it. As it turned out I’ll be telling the great-grandkids about this dinner.

The server brought over a plate containing a lump of spinach interspersed with garlic. That was it. That was dinner: a $10.95 plate of spinach. I eat spinach on a regular basis, this was, well, different. I had to twirl it on my fork like spaghetti and eat it like cotton candy. I looked for a knife to cut the coarse texture, but I didn’t have one. None of the servers came around to ask if I needed anything.

Spinach gives a person strength which worked out well for me here. I needed as much energy as possible to eat dinner. Imagine eating garlic flavored Big League Chew. I thought I’d need to see a trainer about muscle strains in my jaw. I’ve never eaten anything this tough: and this was a vegetable!

When I got home I spoke to my Step-Mom, Pat, about my experience. She’s an excellent cook. She informed me that microwaving spinach makes it very tough. I’ve microwaved spinach many times, but never encountered this issue in the past. Prior to writing this review, I nuked some. It tasted very soft and went down smooth. I’m not sure what the Jade Bistro did to prepare it.

Needless to say I had plenty of room for jello when I finished dining. To accompany my “dinner”, they gave me a small cup of white rice. I didn’t like that I didn’t have a choice of white or brown. With that noted, if I did order the brown rice I’d probably still be there waiting for it.

And there’s more. They didn’t give my party checks. We went up to the register and told the person what we ordered. (I should add that a malfunction with the register delayed the payment process.) While doing this, I wondered what it would be like if companies like IBM and Microsoft billed customers this way. I liked that the Jade Bistro felt they could trust me. I still don’t think the honor system is the best way to run a business.

To be fair to our servers: they did the best they could. I don’t fault them for the slow service. I only saw two of them in the entire establishment, though. As I mentioned prior: I would’ve thought a restaurant would’ve been better prepared for a large party that had a prior reservation.

My mother, rest her soul, would’ve been proud of me for eating my greens. That’s my only positive take on the dining experience. I expected to come away from this meal feeling jaded, instead I left disappointed. I guess I should’ve gone out for steak instead.


    1. It’s tough to give exact times since the lack of protein affected my concentration. I can write the following with certainty:
      1) My group scheduled dinner for 7:00 PM. I arrived first and was several minutes early. Because of that I would say we started on time. Most people in my group had finished their meals when I received my $11.00 can of spinach. One of the members of my group expressed surprise that they served my order so late. It tempted me to make a snide comment to the staff about them spoiling my breakfast. With that in mind, I guess it’s for the best that I found “dinner” inedible. I recollect checking my phone when they served it at 8:20 PM.
      2) The servers brought out the brown rice as it became available. Because of that, people in my party received it at differing times. I can’t give a specific time as to who received what when. The gentleman seated across from me was one of the first people to receive his dinner. He sent his meal back to the kitchen for reheating. It became cold by the time his rice arrived.
      3) Due to the issues with the cash register, I waited at least ten minutes to pay my bill. Since the restaurant put everyone on the so-called “honor system”, I’m not sure why check out took as long as it did.
      Here’s an experiment I’d like to try. Let’s go there for dinner and bring along Judge Lance Ito, the surviving members of the “Dream Team” and a group from the LA County Prosecutor’s Office. I’ll bet we could have another O. J. Trial in the time it takes the Jade Bistro to process an order from the initial seating through check out.

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