Pettie (sic) Soo Chow in Cliffside Park - authentic Chinese
I often visit my (Chinese-born) dad in Bergen County on the week-ends and, due to the dearth of authentic Chinese restaurants in the area, find it a challenge to eat out at places other than Chinese buffets. Until tonight, that is. We went to a place called Pettie Soo Chow (I believe the intented name was "Petite Soo Chow", as that is what the restaurant's Chinese name conveys) which my dad learned about recently from a friend of his. Soup dumplings (xiao long bao), sizzling salmon, clay-pot fish head, and double-cooked pork were all excellent, served in generous portions and well-spiced in the Zhejiang/Sichuan style...easily the kind of stuff that would warrant a trip to Chinatown or Flushing. Service was also cordial and attentive. I understand that on week-ends, they do Northern-style Chinese breakfast (steamed buns, shaobing, soy-milk, fried crullers, etc.)...Dad and I will be visiting again soon!
Hi Marachino -- would you say this is the best place for Sichuan (or other highly spicy authentic Chinese) food in NJ north of the Edison/Highland Park area? Any idea if this place would be difficult to "crack" for a non-Asian or non-Chinese person, as some of the Edison/HP-area Chinese places are reputed to be? (I am white and haven't learned any Chinese words yet but I plan to learn at least a little.)
Although I live in Newark, I work in NYC not far from Chinatown, so I don't normally have a lot of incentive to try out Chinese places in NJ, but I want to find a place where I can take my parents when they visit me in NJ. They love Asian food and my mother likes it very, very, very spicy.
Normally when we want Chinese in NJ, we go to China 46 in Ridgefield Park. They're always friendly, and if you ask for the authentic stuff, you get it. My understanding is that they're more Shanghainese, although they do have some Sichuan dishes.
If Pettie Soo Chow has more Sichuan or even better Sichuan, then we're def. interested.
And, just for everybody's reference, here are some other useful threads about Chinese in northern/north central NJ.
Do take your parents to this place! Very authentic--they even have a lady sitting behind a glass panel making dumplings in plain view of the dining room, much like they would in Chinatown or Flushing. If I recall correctly, food is mostly in the Zhejiang style. Decor is clean and simple. They also "kick it up a notch" compared to other North Jersey places--I've been to China 46 several times and have not been too impressed. Bon a-Pettie!!
We finally got a chance to visit this place and we loved it. Thanks a lot for posting about it! It was very tasty and seemed quite authentic. The spicy dishes had a pretty decent kick to them, which made us happy.
We got soup dumplings, which were very good. My parents had never tasted these before, and they were very impressed. I liked them about as much as the ones I got at Shanghai Cafe in Manhattan a few months ago. As with Shanghai Cafe, they could've been a touch more juicy perhaps, but overall, very good. I may have had better soup dumplings once, long ago, but I don't remember where.
We also followed some of the other recommendations from this board, getting the spicy beef dish with little buns (this is #20 on the menu under beef, "Beef w. Hot Pepper (4 [Chinese characters])").
The beef dish was very similar to a dish we'd had at China 46 once. It had a different name there, I think. But I'd say that Petite Soo Chow does it a little better. It was spicier and the buns were fresher and far tastier, if not as big or as easy to manipulate. The beef was diced into very small pieces, along with a lot of tofu and peppers. Yum.
We also asked about "Red Cook Fish" which someone here recommended. Nothing similar to that name was listed on the menu, but when we asked about it, I think the lady pointed out #16 on the menu under Seafood -- "Buffalo Fish Pieces w. Hot Bean Sauce" -- and said "you want whole fish, or part?" and we said part, not a whole fish, so she brought us #16 (I think), which she recommended. This turned out to be an excellent recommendation. The spicy sauce was really great and flavorful. Just watch out for the small bones in the fish. Mmmmmm, fish.
We also got Bamboo Shoots w. Brown Sauce (#17 on the Cold App. section of the menu) which was great. The best bamboo shoots I've had. Far, far better than the ones I had at Congee Village in NYC a few months ago. (I didn't like CV much. Maybe it was an off-night at CV though, since it has lots of recommendations from reliable posters.) Surprisingly tender. Plus I ordered Thousand Layer Cake from the "Break Fast" portion of the menu, after confirming they had it in stock. The lady said "sweet taste, OK?" and I said OK. I was expecting something more like the thousand-layer bread you'd get from a Burmese restaurant, which is like a paratha bread, I think, but this was an actual cake-like pastry, with lots of layers, and maybe some raisins (?) but not as sweet as a cake. I didn't like this so much -- the texture was odd and kind of sticky -- but I knew it was risky, and hey, it was only $3.50 anyway.
Also, we got the baby bok choy, which was fantastic.
So, great place! I recommend it to everybody. Better than our last few visits to China 46, which is inconsistent, although it's been a while since we got over there.
Note: If you're not familiar with the Cliffside Park area, then allow extra time to find the place. It's a bit of a maze in this area. I didn't follow the Mapquest directions to the letter, so we got a little off-track, but it only set us back by 10 minutes because I'm an OK navigator. Also, once you get on Route 63 south, then both Mapquest and Google Maps tell you to make a left at Nelson Ave. in order to reach Anderson Ave./Gorge Rd., but Nelson Ave. is easy to miss in the dark. There's no traffic light there. Making a left at Lafayette Ave. is probably easier. Then right on Anderson, and bear left onto Gorge. The restaurant is on the right and has its own parking lot. From the road, it just looks like it's called "Chinese Restaurant" plus a lot of Chinese characters. I came from Newark and it was well worth the drive.
Greetings, does anyone have a phone number for this place? I can't find ANYTHING on the internet. I need to know what time they open Sunday morning.
But I was very happy to hear about it, because we regularly take an aged relative to Sunday brunch in the Fort Lee area and have found most of the restaurants we have tried out there underwhelming (we live in Queens and are just not very familiar with Bergen county). So hurrah for good Chinese!
I have checked out Petite SooChow and the news is good.
The food is a bit better than your average Chinese restaurants in Flushing or Chinatown, which makes it excellent in Bergen County.
The cuisine is mostly Shanghaiese(Jiangsu+Zhejiang) and some Taiwanese dishes.
Xiaolongbao is excellent. (IMO, it is better than Joe’s Shanghai in New York). The lady behind the glass panel is great with the Chinese “little eats”.
Some of the dishes to try: WuXi Spareribs, Red-Cook Fish and clay pots.
I will go back and try more.
It's telephone# is 201-313-1666 and it closes at 10:30 on the weekend.
Maraschino, good suggestion.