Fortune Garden, Chinese Comfort Food in El Dorado Hills
If you grew up in the U.S., there’s a pretty good chance you’ve eaten at a Chinese restaurant. For many of us, this has become an almost quintessential dining experience: generous plates of inexpensive chow mein, fried rice, egg rolls and orange chicken, alongside steaming heaps of white rice; pleasant and gracious hosts and servers; red-bordered placemats featuring the 12 Zodiac animals (I’m a boar, by the way…noble and chivalrous, lifelong friends, marital strife, marry a rabbit); a fish tank, fountain or Buddha statue featured prominently; and your grandma slipping a soup spoon into her purse with a wink because you said something about it being “pretty cool looking.” (Did anyone else’s grandma steal spoons for them when they were a kid, or was that just my goofy granny?)
I took my parents to Fortune Garden recently to relive these experiences from my youth, and the restaurant didn’t disappoint. It serves what my dad likes to call “Chinese comfort food,” with updated and improved fare from what I remember as a child. The portions are just as hearty and the service just as amiable, but gone is the soggy broccoli and super syrupy sweet and sour pork of the late ’80s and early ’90s; here to stay are fresh veggies, subtle orange chicken and online ordering. Fortune Garden lives up to, and surpasses, the archetype.
My parents and I started with egg rolls that were crisp, hot and readied. After, we devoured steaming plates of mixed vegetable chow mein that boasted crisp and flavorful carrots, baby corn, celery, snow peas, onions (and more!) tossed with tender, salty noodles. We demolished the equally scrumptious broccoli beef—the broccoli florets bright and crunchy and the beef juicy and flavorful. The orange chicken was also pretty perfect, thanks to the delicate breading and sauce that was light but still full of tangy, sweet flavor.
We ate to our heart’s content, packed up our leftovers, and then lounged in our booth, savoring the fond memories of yesteryear…and contemplating what we’ll order next time. And when I cracked open my fortune cookie? Happiness will come to you.
Author’s note: No spoons were pilfered in the writing of this article.
Fortune Garden, 899 Embarcadero Drive, Suite 4, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-0998.