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Oct 4, 2006 01:39 AM

Imperial Palace -- maybe the best Cantonese in Flushing

Several posters recently praised this place, and since they are the guys who KNOW Chinese food, I went as soon as I could. You might not have seen their recommendations, since they appeared at the end of a very long series of posts that started several years ago. The topic of those posts was "Best Chinese in Flushing" and based on my visit this place is a worthy contender for that title, and deserves a post of its own.

Go by six, the posters said, it's very crowded. It's Tuesday so I got there around seven and easily got a table. I was lucky. Within twenty minutes the place was packed -- and it's quite large -- and a line formed at the door. Most of the menu is in English, but there's a tiny menu in Chinese at each table, and I ordered a casserole from that. A big clay pot arrived, inside were slippery translucent noodles topped with shrimp, scallops and tiny octopi, along with a bit of squash and scallions. Now I've had this particular dish many times before, and have never been impressed. The seafood's okay, but you are left with a big glop of noodles put there to fill the pot cheaply, and they are a chore to finish. But this one was different. The preparation was infinitely superior. There was a rich savory broth redolent of the tang of the sea, and that and the noodles and the seafood blended in perfect harmony, so I wanted to have broth-laden noodles in every bite.

Either I got lucky and ordered the best dish in the place -- and I don't think I did, the plates at the other tables looked yummy and their specialty, Dungeness crab in a bamboo steamer with rice that absorbs the flavor of the crab ($20) was on several tables, and begged to be eaten -- or this is one of the best Cantonese restaurants in town.

Imperial Palace (Chinese name is East Lake, I believe)
136-13 37 Av (right near the subway)

By the way I saw two big banquet halls one block west on 37, I looked in one and it had a great menu too. New Tung Yi Fung, 135-29 37 Av But I'm in no hurry to go there, I want to go back to Imperial Palace!!!!!

Past posts recommending Imperial Palace:

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  1. For Flushing I consider it the best. But I'd prefer Cantoon Garden and Danny Ng's over this place. I'm always looking for a good Cantonese place in Flushing but this is the best I've found so far.

    1 Reply
    1. re: designerboy01

      Back in the late 80s/early-to-mid 90s, I used to really love Silver Pond. Is that no longer as good as it once was?

    2. Glad that you were served a good and tasty casserole seafood dish at the Imperial Palace and also did not have to wait to get a table. We are surprised to hear that the Imperial Palace restaurant is even crowded on Tuesday evenings. This doesn’t bode too well for getting a table easily on weekends. For this reason, maybe you should not have been so effusive in your praise of the Imperial Palace restaurant (LOL).

      Did you notice that your reply post to Designerboy01 on the Peking Duck topic was deleted? We had replied to your post, but our reply post was also deleted due to the Chowhound moderators determining that our posts were too off topic. Too bad the posts were deleted as we had put up some pictures of street vendor food in Beijing that you might have enjoyed.

      Maybe the moderators might be kind enough to put our deleted posts on the China forum, which is probably where they belonged.

      1. Would of like to see those pictures.

        2 Replies
        1. re: designerboy01

          For Brian S and Designerboy01:

          We reposted both the original post by Brian S and our response to Brian S on the China Forum just a few minutes ago, that were deleted earlier on the Outerboros Forum.

          1. re: lwong

            Thank you for posting what is now my new screensaver! Yes it brought back memories. Actually it IS relevant to Outer Boroughs board because I thought that the word "dongbei", northeast, as used in several restaurants in Flushing (Waterfront Int'l, etc) referred to Manchuria, other people said the term was used more broadly, and here it is, the characters clearly appearing in the photo, used by a restaurant in Peking.

        2. Another day, another casserole. I went for my second visit tonight, and the food was as good as I remembered. I went at about 6:30 because today is the double ten holiday and I was afraid it would be full. Indeed, it almost was, but I got one of the few tables.

          I ordered a seafood and eggplant casserole with spicy sauce. Again, I've had this sort of thing before, but here it's just done better. Far better. The seafood is better quality, the sauce (not very spicy) is superior, and they didn't do what far too many places do: fill the clay pot with cheap eggplant. Here, there was a generous portion of seafood. Everything melded together to make a lovely eggplant bouillabaise.

          I can't wait to go back. (Not true literally since the portion is generous and I'm full.)

          1. I went there last night and ordered for a group of 8. I think this may be the best Cantonese in the city, period. Easily the best Cantonese meal I've had in at least 2 years, before Ping's started going downhill. Total check (before tip) $181--with generous tip $28 per person, 11 beers included.

            Dungeness crab with glutenous rice
            Pan fried noodle with mixed seafood
            Ong choi (Chinese water spinach) with preserved bean curd sauce & garlic
            Fried lamb (actually rib chops, mildly cumin spiced)
            Sizzling sable fish (black cod) with black pepper sauce
            Salt & pepper squid (I do prefer a lighter breading than theirs, but still excellent)
            Peking pork chops
            Snow pea leaves with crab meat

            Everything perfectly prepared and subtle. Nothing too salty, greasy or heavy. The crab, lamb and sable dishes are house specialties. I don't think I've seen sable in a Chinese restaurant before. The fatty fish was wonderfully luxuriant. The entire table was ecstatic. It's difficult to bat 1000 at a Chinese restaurant, and here nobody had any complaints about any dish. They have pea leaves on the menu several ways, but the crab meat sauce was an off menu request I made since that's my favorite preparation. They did a great job. The vegetables, salt & pepper squid, chow mein (pan fried noodles) and Peking pork chops are among my standard benchmark dishes that passed admirably.