Dining review: Su’s secret to success

Will Watts

Here’s what I was told going in: Su’s Garden, one of only two Chinese restaurants on the Island, is an institution on Marco. Beloved! Sure, no pressure.

The shrimp fried rice at Su's Garden, Marco Island.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the pan-fried pork dumplings (actually, I started a bit earlier with the gratis wonton strips). The dumplings were really good, no complaints; but the wonton strips were downright addictive. Even after half my entrée was packed to go, I was still finding my hand going to the bowl, as if each finger had a mind of its own.

For the main event, my partner in dine ordered the pineapple chicken off the house specialties menu. The dish features white meat chicken – and be aware, not all of the dishes do – assorted veggies with sweet and sour pineapple sauce. He considered the dish a success, but said it leaned more toward the sweet than sour side.

I ordered from the dinner combos on the back of the menu – you can choose from several small appetizers, soup, plates and a small dessert. I picked the egg roll, wonton soup and shrimp fried rice. I wanted the lo mein, one of my favs; but not a fan of dark meat chicken.

The pan-fried pork dumplings at Su's Garden, Marco Island.

The egg roll was on the average side, but acceptable. The wonton soup was amazing. The broth! I slurped down every drop. It should come with a refillable pitcher.   

The fried rice was above average. Quality shrimp and a nice balance of ingredients. What was most amazing about the dish is the size. I had less than half for dinner; some more for lunch the next day; and there’s still some left. And I’m not a dainty diner. Now I understand why there’s a sharing charge.  Otherwise they’d only sell one dish for every two or three customers.

The entrée was so large that I skipped out on the dessert.

You don’t stay in business for three decades without doing something right. On this night, Su’s did everything right.

The pineapple chicken at Su's Garden, Marco Island.

One last note: we were leaving just as Su’s closed. As I got in my car, I saw that the restaurant employees were sitting down together for dinner. I don’t know if this was a special occasion or an every-night happening, but it was touching. They looked like a family; smiling, engaging with each other. No smart phones were spied.

Perhaps that’s the secret to their success.

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If you go

Su’s Garden

537 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island