Fans Cusine Report
It was a bit of a challenge finding this place. It's actually on Bowery a little north of Hester (about 2 blocks north of Canal).
The place has 2 menus. One in english and the other completely in Chinese. This posed a bit of a problem for me since I can't read Chinese to that extent. We ended up ordering a few items off the Enligsh menu and a few items off the Chinese menu. Off the English menu: clams with scallion and ginger casserole, crispy fried stuffed tofu. Off the Chinese menu (per our waitress' recommendation): teppan beef and their "signature" fried, boneless catfish dish. We also placed an order of soup dumplings since my friend had a craving. Everything was good except for the soup dumplings. They were a disaster actually. The came in a torn juiceless mess.
The clams with scallion and ginger came bubbling and redolent with rice wine or sherry. The sauce was excellent, no, awesome. It easily beat most other clam dishes except for the razor clams at Funky Broome (an entirely different entity). The crispy fried stuffed tofu was just as good as the ones that I had at Funky Broome--crispy on the outside, hot (very hot) and custardy on the inside. Again, the shrimp paste provided a nice contrast. The teppan beef was excellent. The beef was first fried and then served on a teppan plate with an onion pepper sauce. The thin crispy exterior and the tender center made the dish an instant hit. It was much better than the teppan beef dish at Funky Broome. Finally, there was the boneless catfish dish that came highly recommended by the waitress. The filets of catfish were deep fried in a manner similar to the salt and pepper pork chops that one can find at Sweet N Tart and Funky Broome. When fried, the filets curled just so--with the moist white flesh on the outside and the gelatinous skin on the inside. There was a hint of that murky flavor that one finds with catfish but it was not at all unpleasant. It was actually very good.
The place is definitely worth a return trip to check out some of the other dishes on that menu. Hopefully, they'll be as good as the ones we ordered today. For those 5 items, the bill came out to be $55 (with the catfish dish being the most expensive at $16.95). As we were leaving, I noticed a "2 lobsters for $18.95" deal on the front door. I would have kicked myself if I weren't so happy and content.