New Green Bo report
- Eric Eto
Okay, so I finally got over to NGB with a small group, and yes, I have to agree that it is one of the better places in Ctown.
Taking the advice of Jim and others, I ordered the crispy eel, the obligatory xiao long bao, the Shanghai kar fu (sp?), yellow fish in dry seaweed, the pork shoulder in brown sauce, salted baked squid, and some chinese greens. That crispy eel was fabulous. I'm not sure I've seen that dish at the other Shanghai restaurants. The fried yellowfish was quite good, but supplied nothing near the epiphany of the eel dish. I've had the fried fish dish at Shanghai Cuisine (on Bayard/Mulberry) and a similar treatment but with oysters at Joe's Shanghai. (Can anyone comment on the comparison of this dish at the Shanghai places around town?) I have to say that the oysters at Joe's won for me, as I'm a big fan of kaki-furai (fried oysters) from japanese cuisine. I can see that this dish can turn out disastrous if the batter is too thick or the oil is not to temperature when fried.
Besides the crispy eel, everything else was good quality, but unsurpassing the other Shanghai places. I'm not ready to rave about it yet, but perhaps after a couple more visits I could be aboard the bandwagon. I do urge c'hounds to try the other Shanghai places for comparative assessments, in particular Shanghai Cuisine, which I find NGB's equal, except a bit pricier and with better ambience.
Like you, I also finally got to NGB this past Saturday for the first time, with my wife and another couple. We've been wanting to try this much-discussed, highly regarded place for some time, and when our friends suggested Goody's or NY Noodletown, we quickly convinced them to try NGB.
We ordered the dumplings and the scallion pancake for apps, and for main courses had crispy duck, General Tso's chicken, orange flavored beef and pan-fried Shanghai noodles. OK, not the most adventurous stuff, but all dishes were quite good. We all thought the food top-notch, and the price came to around $62 (pre-tip), for all that food plus five beers.
One big downside was the crowding. We spent the entire meal being brushed and bumped, and our table was too small for the four main courses so we passed around one dish until the plate was empty and they could take it away. I call this the "discomfort factor", and it definitely had a bearing on what we thought. We all agreed that the food, the service (supplied, I think, by Jim Leff's favorite waiter, the one with the round face and glasses), and the prices are remarkably good. But the discomfort level was so high that it offset some of that goodness. We all felt that we'd like to try it again, but at a less busy time (if that's possible, given its reputation). We went on Saturday night at 6:30 PM, probably a peak time.
I agree with your assessment of Shanghai Cuisine, which my wife and I have come to regard as one of the best Shanghai restaurants in Chinatown. In fact, after we left NGB, we walked by SC and I mentioned to our friends that my wife and I like this place a lot, too, so we we are going to try it soon as a foursome.