Photos by Tyler Knight
Photo by Tyler Knight

Tasty, but not exquisite. That’s how our party of eight generally felt about the food at Bernard’s, a new Chinese restaurant located in the far left section of The Street, Chestnut Hill’s rapidly expanding shopping mall. 

For all the big energy it radiates, Bernard’s seems a bit on the small side. Music pumps loudly through the space, making conversation difficult, and restaurant employees bustle between the tables and the kitchen space. The restaurant is one room, complete with no more than 20 tables. With diners in such close proximity to one another, the space feels slightly stuffy. 

We found the restaurant’s decor to be favorable, with funky orange lamps hanging overhead and stylish modern artwork decked across the wall. The place felt new, which it was.

Our waitress was friendly, which made the experience more enjoyable. Our one complaint was that the process of ordering felt a bit rushed, perhaps in an effort to get our meals out as quickly as possible.

The service was fast and the food was piping hot. Most of us took no heed of the temperature of our meals and dug right in. After experiencing a temporary, mouth-burning setback, we resumed eating our food at a more reasonable temperature.

The Beef Lo Mein ($8.50) and the Chicken with Vegetables and Coconut Curry ($16.95) were the biggest hits of the night. The lo mein was succulent and tender, while the curry was full of good sauce and flavor. The grilled sirloin steak with jade broccoli and pepper sauce ($27.50) was also well-received, though the member of our party who ordered it wished our server would have asked how the meat should be cooked, as it was a bit on the rare side. The accompanying sauce was noticeable in its strength. 

One dish that did disappoint was the General Tso’s Chicken ($15.95), which, like the steak, was on the raw side and came with fewer accompanying sides than expected. 

If you’re looking to play it safe, the Pork Dumplings ($5.50), Crispy Chicken Fingers ($5.75) and Fried Rice ($8.50) are all solid options.

None of us felt up for dessert– perhaps in part because the bill stood at a sizable 150 dollars, a bit too heavy of a price, we felt– but we were provided with an obligatory collection of fortune cookies and a plate of cut pineapple squares. The cookies and squares alike disappeared quickly. 

Head to Bernard’s for a good Chinese meal. Bring four or five friends, and be prepared to talk loud.

Mathias Muendel and Jake Smith

can be contacted at [email protected]m.