Oriental Garden Reopens after Renovations Under New Management
The closure of Oriental Garden over the summer announced as a remodeling effort was a serious disappointment to many Dentonites, especially those of the starving student variety. More than just the student population have come to rely on the restaurant’s steady supply of delicious Asian fare at a reasonable cost.
The renewed space has a cleaner look but retains its warmth and charm, with the added bonus of a defined stage where they plan on hosting live music in the future. When the restaurant reopened on August 21 they did so under new management, attracting many a dubious glance at their new, scaled-back menu.
Yes, the menu has shrunk considerably, but there’s certainly no shortage of options to be had and what remains is executed with the utmost respect for the authenticity of their native Thai cuisine.
Speaking of food, while my group decided on what to order, we started off with an appetizer of Gyoza to share. Fried potstickers are not traditionally a favorite of mine but these were better than most I’ve had, lightly fried and stuffed with a well-spiced mixture of pork and veggies. They were a hit among the table and in an almost synchronized effort, they were quickly consumed.
On recommendation from staff, I ordered the Kao Soi Chiang-Mai, a noodle soup originating from its namesake region in Northern Thailand. Cited by staff as one of their most popular dishes, it’s easy to see why. With a delicate curry flavor (and that smell!) the nest of crispy egg noodles lends itself to a seriously satisfying combination of textures; this is the stuff cravings are made of, folks.
The Thai Iced Tea is a must. Made with whole milk and black tea, Thai iced tea is reminiscent of a cold, creamy chai latte. If any of those words inspire tingling in your caffeinated bits, you should probably get your fix sooner rather than later. The meal was punctuated by a dessert of custard with sticky rice, which was perfectly sweet, familiar, and certainly as good as any I’ve ever had.
With Denton changing at every turn, it’s easy to get caught up in the dismay and abruptness of it all. The faces are new at Oriental Garden but they’re still smiling and eager to bring a little bit of Thailand to Texas. They seem intent on carrying the torch of the legacy left to them but genuinely excited about making it their own. Of course, it’s not the same restaurant and staff that many came to know and love over the years but, as it is, Oriental Garden remains standing as some of the best hole-in-the-wall Thai food you’ll find in Denton.
Photos by Emily Cline
Header image design by Jason Lee