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Boston Hound Loved Congee Village

StriperGuy Aug 14, 2006 02:22 PM

Cause of several recs here and the, "the best" board I hit Congee Village. Food was excellent. Had a huge pot of crabs with a very delicate black bean preparation. Humoungous portion of chinese broccoli with garlic, and the preserved duck and rice casserole served in a bamboo tube.

Also had a chinese stinky grappa (I don't remember the real name) and a red bean ice.

Really great place. Would hit there again in a heartbeat.

The decor was over the top, I particularly liked the koi filled smoking waterfall. Also, the noise volume was almost unbearable, but I don't really expect much different in a chinatown place.

  1. Gluttonous Prime Aug 15, 2006 02:51 PM

    I'm amused by the different uniforms the waitstaff wear. It's like a Congee Village caste system. Don't expect to get anything from the waiters wearing the pink vests; they usually wander around and occasionally refill your water. Wave down the head honcho, man in the suit, for your dining needs.

    Thai Clams (last page on the menu) is delicious. Everyone who has tried it has lauded it. Sweet, spicy, sour, hearty. Soy sauce noodles are good, cheap, slightly crispy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gluttonous Prime
      Pan Aug 16, 2006 03:19 AM

      I believe the men in suits are managers.

    2. e
      erikka Aug 15, 2006 02:07 PM

      Which location did you go to? I'm always curious if there's much of a difference between the old and new spots.

      I've never had a grease problem at CV, but I usually steer clear of anything deep fried or oily.

      4 Replies
      1. re: erikka
        Ike Aug 15, 2006 04:21 PM

        I went to the original at 100 Allen St. The newer fancier location has a different name -- Congee Bowery (at 207 Bowery and not to be confused with the cheap place which is simply called Congee, located at 98 Bowery -- haven't been there, but it's also gotten praise here).

        I tried to round up a group of about 10 people to go to CV, including some Taiwanese guys (I was hoping they'd help with the host/hostess) but only three showed up and we were all, um, white dudes. Even though we had a reservation (and we quickly scaled it back for fewer people), we waited about 45-60 min. to get in on a Tuesday night at 7, and a lot of more recent arrivals appeared to be ushered in ahead of us. Anyway, we got half a house special chicken, the lotus root dish, the congee with squid and ginger, and the rice with two kinds of sausage in a bamboo box. The latter smelled kind of funny (and not in a good way), but maybe it's supposed to. The congee was watery and the squid was a little chewy. My two companions loved the chicken, but I thought it was just OK. The lotus root was fascinating if a little one-note. Everything was greasy except for the congee. However, the whole bill, including two beers, came to $31, so we can't really complain too much!

        I won't be going back, but only because I don't eat out all THAT often and there are plenty of other places in Chinatown that I haven't explored yet. I might try Congee at 98 Bowery (the plain-looking cheap one).

        1. re: Ike
          erikka Aug 15, 2006 06:18 PM

          Congee Village is actually a great spot to get a few drinks before going out--the bar is insanely cheap, they have all kinds of fancy cocktails for half of what you'd pay elsewhere, and if you sit at the bar you can get a few small appetizers. It used to be my secret drinking haunt but I guess I just blew up that spot, didn't I?

          1. re: erikka
            prunefeet Aug 16, 2006 02:19 PM

            Wow, I love this idea, thanks.

            1. re: prunefeet
              Pan Aug 16, 2006 03:42 PM

              I've eaten dinner at the bar a number of times, but my method is to order one main dish (such as the Chicken and Black Mushrooms with Rice in a Bamboo Pot). erikka, what appetizers do you like?

      2. p
        Pan Aug 14, 2006 03:56 PM

        Since I've been a big fan of Congee Village for years, I'm always happy when people have a good time there. Thanks for reporting back to us.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Pan
          JessWil Aug 14, 2006 09:26 PM

          For a visiting hound, can you tell us where this restaurant is? Thanks!

          1. re: JessWil
            Ike Aug 14, 2006 10:31 PM

            Congee Village is located at 100 Allen St. at Delancey St. on the Lower East Side, near the Delancey/Essex stop on the F, J, M and Z trains. However, I must offer a dissenting opinion -- I agree with those hounds who say Congee Village is overrated and greasy. There's also a long wait to get in, and I def. can't refute those who said non-Asians seem to get worse treatment.

            I strongly prefer Great NY Noodletown, located at 28 Bowery at Pell Street (this is where all the famous chefs go after work -- it's open very late). Great salt baked shrimp and sea bass with flowering chives. Actually all the seafood is great there. Great soup dumplings. (Edit: Ooops, could've sworn I got soup dumplings there once. Apparently not. PROFUSE apologies for the error.)

            Like Congee Village, it's crowded and there can be a long wait to get in, and it's cramped and has no atmosphere, but the food is the important thing, and it's awesome. Or go to any of the Grand Sichuan locations if you like spicy. Mmmmmm. (Some hounds prefer the ones on St. Marks Place and on 9th Ave.) Check out menupages.com for locations, menus and phone numbers, etc.

            1. re: Ike
              Pan Aug 15, 2006 08:56 AM

              I can't account for taste or experiences of discrimination which I've never had (and yes, I'm a "white guy"), but the menu is much longer and, I think, includes a larger number of interesting things at Congee Village. I like Noodletown, but I like Congee Village a lot more, overall. And many things are not very greasy there.

              1. re: Ike
                prunefeet Aug 15, 2006 05:40 PM

                Noodletown has soup dumplings??

                1. re: prunefeet
                  Pan Aug 16, 2006 03:43 PM

                  Xiaolong bao? No, those are Shanghainese. I've never heard of NY Noodletown making those, and I wouldn't request them there. NY Noodletown has dumpling soups, with or without noodles.

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