Tucked not so quietly into the corner of a busy intersection, Talk & Wok Cafe sits near beautiful Hyde Park and could not be a more convenient destination for those seeking palatable Americanized Chinese foods. The small, rectangular dining room welcomes customers with its humble wooden chairs and tables, and Chinese design elements. Capable of seating 49 people, it is sleek yet refined with an ambience that is perfect for almost any occasion.
Unveiled to the public in 1996, the restaurant has been catering to local residents and travelers for 15 years. In 2003, Yun Chuen Wang, the current owner and chief chef, took the restaurant over and immediately began making changes. It now boasts an even larger legion of fans who have come to prefer the restaurant over its competitors due to its speedy service and clean dining environment.
Although the restaurant is small and doesn’t have an eye-catching exterior like some of the other nearby upscale restaurants, Talk & Wok still dazzles with its far ranging menu. Tastefully divided into appetizers, entrees, soups, and desserts, customers will be able to quickly find their favorite dishes.
General Tso’s Chicken, a staple offered in most American-Chinese restaurants, is considered by many to be the most outstanding dish on the menu. This well-known entrée is considered a symbol of Americanized Chinese food. However, the chef at Talk & Wok Cafe has gone a bit further by adding a special sweet and sour sauce into the elaborately cooked combo of chicken and vegetables. The chef, who has a knack for building on popular dishes, prepares the dish using only the best quality chicken breast and freshest vegetables possible.
Another equally popular dish is Pad Thai. Fresh rice noodles and seasonal vegetables are mixed in with a dab of vinegar creating a whirlwind of exotic taste and turning it into an instant customer favorite. “We cook for the customers and we think for the customers” says Mr. Wang, who prides himself on providing patrons with healthy dining choices. All the dishes are cooked with little oil and no MSG, which is why the dishes are far from greasy at Talk & Wok Café. Kung Pao Chicken, Beef with Broccoli, and Mapo Tofu, are other standouts that have become favorites of most of the patrons.
Unlike many other restaurants that only offer paper menus, Talk & Wok Cafe shows its creations via two TV sets above the counter. Like a slide show, customers are able to see their choices instead of just looking at words in a menu. “All the pictures are genuine and customers will know what they are getting before their orders are served. I just want to make sure what the customers see is what they get,” says Mr. Wang.
Apart from a la carte dishes, set courses are prepared everyday and various discounts are given to customers on a frequent basis. If customers spend $40.00 or more, they get a free order of General Tso’s Chicken. Ordering a $21.50 set course translates to a free appetizer. There is also a bar stocked with a mindboggling array of exotic and domestic drinks. Many customers waiting for their take-out orders opt to sit back and enjoy a glass or two.
In preparing the take-out orders, the chefs astound customers with their blistering speed. Spending roughly 3 minutes on each dish, the chefs are skilled at whipping up fantastic creations in almost no time due to their expertise and the hard work of the prep staff. Always happy to socialize with customers, the staff often chat with customers when the restaurant isn’t too busy. But, being social isn’t enough, punctuality is also highly valued by Mr. Wang, who promises those ordering delivery that their order will be delivered to them within 40 minutes. The delivery staff is friendly and efficient, resulting in a lot of positive feedback and an ever-increasing number of people utilizing Talk & Wok’s well-oiled delivery option.
Though the restaurant deals more in take-out and delivery orders, it is still a great dine-in destination. The clean and bright-lighted dining room is large enough for diners to really stretch out and enjoy their meals.
A clean environment is always an area of focus for the owner of any successful restaurant. At Talk & Wok Café, the plates are cleaned the instant they are taken back to the kitchen. On top of that, the restaurant is cleaned both first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Mr. Wang helps out with the cleaning too by jumping in the trenches with his staff whenever they need his help.
Mr. Wang has never worried about the restaurant’s business as its patrons love sharing their dining experience with their friends. Word-of-mouth has been kind to Talk & Wok Cafe and is one of the reasons why the restaurant is thriving even in today’s tepid business climate. Since taking over the restaurant, Mr. Wang has wowed staff and customers alike with his higher food, service, and sanitation standards. The menu hasn’t changed much during the past years, but Mr. Wang has given it flexibility by being more than happy to prepare items for customers that aren’t on the menu. Always on the look out for new ideas, Wang occasionally adds new items to the menu and will continue to do so in the future.
Message from the Owner
“Thanks to the support of our patrons, Talk & Wok’s reputation has spread from Hyde Park to Boston and even farther. Whether you are a first time or long time customer, we are confident that your needs will be satisfied. We will spare no efforts in improving our restaurant, and continuing to present our patrons with healthy, tasty meals,” says Mr. Wang.
Talk & Wok Cafe
Location: 1277 River St. Hyde Park, MA 02136
Offers: Dine-in, Take-out, Delivery
Cuisine: Americanized Chinese cuisine
Signature Dishes: General Tso’s Chicken, Pad Thai, Kung Pao Chicken, Beef with Broccoli, Mapo Tofu
Year of Establishment: 1996