Cheerless Chinese: Golden Duck, Amherst


No one hesitated to grab a slab of scallion pancake.

I’m trying to remember why my family and I ended up at Golden Duck (1840 Maple Rd., Amherst).

Chang’s Garden hadn’t burned down yet, so that wasn’t it. Maybe it was the memory I had of a waiter expertly cutting a Peking duck in the restaurant’s side room on an earlier visit.

We ordered scallion pancakes, which were crunchy but weirdly lacking in scallions, and a scallop dish whose name I can’t remember, which was loaded with tender seafood. That disappeared quickly, as did the vegetable lo mein.

The sauteed string beans had lots of added flavor, with oyster sauce, scallions and was it shallots? It was actually one of the better versions we’ve had.

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The shrimp in garlic sauce was decent as well, with crispy vegetables and shrimp cooked to firmness but not rubbery.

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Our last dish ended the meal on a sour note, though – squid cooked “Evil Style,” which was a cousin of “salt and pepper” style. That is, the squid was deep-fried in a coating, then wok-fried with chile peppers.

The squid arrived in a relatively scanty portion, and tasted faintly fishy, which raised my antennae. But I didn’t really feel queasy until I got the bill. It wasn’t food poisoning, it was the price – $14.95 for the squid. Evil indeed.

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9 Comments

Filed under food, restaurants, seafood

9 responses to “Cheerless Chinese: Golden Duck, Amherst

  1. Eric Berg

    I’ve ordered food from here for takeout a few times because it is right around the corner from me and Chang’s burned down. I haven’t been impressed. The entrees last time were so bland and disappointing, I decided to stop ordering from them. Still, I keep hearing positive things about the food which makes me wonder if only their takeout is lackluster? Oh, I would note that the “Shrimp in the Evil Way” is also overpriced and boring.

  2. Mike Tahirak

    I took my girlfriend, who is Chinese, born in Hong Kong, raised in Chinatown, NYC, there for Chinese New Year, we were very underwhelmed….

    I too had heard good reviews….had Singapore Style Mei Fun….It was very dry, and the shrimp were not plentiful. We tried their Chinese New Year special of Rice Cake, which was rice cake slices stir fried with pork…it was good, but not very flavorful. The biggest disappointment of the night was the Dungeness crab, which was very expensive at almost $30, but again, very underwhelmed with the presentation….seemed overcooked, like it was done early in the day, and sat there waiting for someone to order it, it wasn’t cracked or chopped for easy eating, and the utensils provided were not good (cheap plastic junk which didn;t work very well…) so eating it was very difficult…

    My girlfriend said the rice cake was too greasy, the mei fun way to dry, and not enough “stuff”, and wasn’t happy about the $30 crab! She appreciated me trying to find a good Chinese place and driving out in a snowstorm for Chinese New Year, but we won’t be going back there….we should have stuck with your review of Gin Gin, which we will be trying next….

  3. Mike,

    If you search the site for “Gin Gin,” you’ll see that I’ve praised some of its dishes and lamented what I’d call its inconsistency.

    If you find something you like there, please pop back in and let us know.

  4. And, I almost forgot this: Under no circumstances order a scallion pancake at Gin Gin. Not unless you’re trying to hurt someone’s feelings.

    On the other hand, the lamb curry special they were running last week was terrific.

  5. Steve Raines

    I agree that Gin Gin is inconsistent — either very good or very bad. For Chinese on the American side of the border, I’d recommend Ming Cafe on Main St if your wallet is full, or China Max on Niagara Falls Blvd if it isn’t.

    Ming Cafe is fantastic but pricey, although I think it is well worth the money.

    China Max looks like you average greasy Chinese take out from the inside, but in my experience everything has been prepared fresh. This is my “regular” Chinese restaurant.

  6. Pingback: fried squid

  7. Freethinker814

    so where is a great place to eat Peking Duck in the Buffalo area?

  8. Jerry D

    I’ve eaten at the Golden Duck since the mid 1990’s. Always impressed. Great food and good service. I’ve tried almost all the “sit-down” chinese places in Western NY and just over the boarder. The Golden Duck is in the top 5.

  9. Jennifer robinson

    Golden duck is great& Red pepper is very good too! We all miss Changs though….

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