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Amazing 66 -- new in Chinatown

Brian S Nov 8, 2006 01:52 AM

As the rest of the world anxiously watched the election returns, I investigated something even more important. A brand new restaurant has just opened right in the center of Chinatown, and tonight I ate there. Based on one visit, I'm not sure if Amazing 66 Restaurant is truly amazing or merely very good, but it's certainly worth a try.

The space that used to house the forgettable Eastern Villa has been totally redone. It's a spiffy beige decor accented with wood trim. There are two menus, both with English translations. All the usual suspects are there, along with some rarer dishes such as crabs steamed with rice in a bamboo rack, and several kinds of whole stuffed chickens that must be ordered a day in advance. I ordered a stewed beef casserole. Every place has a chicken version of this, but I've never seen it with beef. First came an egg drop soup, free. This is high on my list of what not to order, but if it's as good as this version I'll change my mind. Then the casserole. It had, not some tough stew beef, but a real steak (not a very good steak, not something that will have Mr. Peter Luger running to get the recipe, but nonetheless something tender enough that you could cut it with a spoon, cooked medium-rare), sliced, floating with onions and mushrooms in a rich garlicky broth. It was very very good.

Three different managers came over as I ate to ask if I liked the food. They seemed nervous. It is, after all, opening week. They needn't have worried. I liked it just fine. I'll be back.

Amazing 66 Restaurant
66 Mott St near Canal
(212) 334-0099

  1. Ora Nov 8, 2006 03:26 AM

    I enjoy your Chinatown posts. Please keep them coming. Have you done a "Chinatown for Novices" post? I have a friend who wants to check out Chinatown, but is "confused." She's also a "finnicky" eater--read unadventurous in her case. My friend would benefit from a Chinatown for Novices type of introduction to the area. Mind you, she's lived in Metro NY all her life...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ora
      Brian S Nov 8, 2006 03:19 PM

      Thank you for this! I put a lot of work into the posts and other people finding them useful is my only reward. I've thought of writing a post like that. The closest I have come is this post, which I'm sure she will find amusing if not useful. It's called "Secrets of Chinatown"

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/328296

      Oh, and if you like reading about Chinatown, don't forget the Outer Boroughs board. There are four Chinatowns out there! I often go to Flushing, for places like this:
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      1. re: Ora
        erica Nov 10, 2006 02:10 PM

        Never mind a Chinatown for novices post..Brian should do a guidebook to good eats in C'town! We love you, Brian!

      2. Ora Nov 8, 2006 05:15 PM

        Four Chinatown, hmmm, let's see. There's the one in lower Manh --Canal St area, there's Flushing, Qns... Where are the other 2??? I need to leave Manh more :)

        I strongly encourage you to share the wealth of your knowledge in a "beginner" post. The "Secrets" post is far to advanced for my finnicky friend. I have to start her off with drinks (taro bubble and the like) and dumplings and rice and work our way up.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ora
          prunefeet Dec 6, 2006 02:47 PM

          Sunset Park in Bkln, and I can't think where the 4th is.

          1. re: prunefeet
            ltlevy Dec 6, 2006 06:36 PM

            Actually there are 5 or 6 Chinatowns. Besides the 3 alreay mentioned, there is a second one in Brooklyn, not sure of the neighborhood, one in Staten Island, and now Elmhurst in Queens is blossoming Chinatown.

            1. re: ltlevy
              Polecat Dec 6, 2006 07:43 PM

              Sunset Park is where the Brooklyn Chinatown is. P.

              1. re: ltlevy
                Steve R Dec 6, 2006 10:39 PM

                In Brooklyn, in addition to Sunset Park, there's a much smaller one along Ave U. between Coney Island Ave and E.17th St or so. Very convenient as the train station is right above it (2 stops past Ave J: Difara's).

          2. designerboy01 Nov 8, 2006 05:43 PM

            Thanks Brian, I knew you would go there. It doesn't look like a Fujianese place.

            2 Replies
            1. re: designerboy01
              Brian S Nov 8, 2006 05:48 PM

              Yeah, it was great. It's not Fujianese, it's straight-up Cantonese/Hong Kong.

              1. re: Brian S
                designerboy01 Nov 10, 2006 05:47 AM

                I'm going there for dinner tomorrow to try it out!

            2. wleatherette Nov 8, 2006 05:48 PM

              sounds great. i'm intrigued by the whole stuffed chickens, having never tried this at a chinese resto before.

              1. bobjbkln Nov 9, 2006 04:13 AM

                Response to ORA, the response link to his/her post did not work:
                The other two Chinatowns are in Brooklyn, the largest in Sunset Park (8th Ave.), the other in Bensonhurst (Ave U). While there are more CTs in Brooklyn, there is a higher concentration of good to excellent restaurants in the ones in Flushing and Manhattan. (As a Brooklynite, I am embarrassed to admit this)

                1 Reply
                1. re: bobjbkln
                  Brian S Nov 9, 2006 04:37 PM

                  Don't forget Elmhurst, Queens. Some good Chinese restaurants there, cheek-to-jowl with Sumatran, Javanese, Malayan, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, you name it.

                2. Bob Martinez Nov 10, 2006 01:21 PM

                  Nice post Brian. I agree with Ora's suggestion above. It would be nice if you took your "Forgotten Restaurants" post and beefed it up with your take on some of the better known places. Like RGR's post on the Lower East side, it would be something we could link to when people post generic Chinatown questions.

                  Thanks again for all the great information.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Bob Martinez
                    Brian S Nov 13, 2006 04:43 PM

                    IT IS DONE!!! I spent the morning doing what you and Ora suggested.

                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                    1. re: Brian S
                      Bob Martinez Nov 13, 2006 05:27 PM

                      Thanks Brian. A lot of people, including me, will find this really useful.

                      1. re: Bob Martinez
                        Brian S Nov 13, 2006 08:43 PM

                        I'm glad you like it. I did my best.

                  2. Chandavkl Nov 13, 2006 05:02 PM

                    Interesting that Mott St. continues to add decent Chinese restaurants. When I first visited New York over 20 years ago, the old core area of Chinatown, particularly Mott St. south of Canal, was a place to be avoided except by those looking for tourist food. Indeed to this day while trolling for restaurants to sample I generally avoid Mott St. on the suspicion that a restaurant might be one of these old time tourist joints. Of course as the old places phase out, perhaps they become places worth visiting prior to their demise. But thanks for pointing out Amazing 66 as this goes to the top of my list for my upcoming visit.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Chandavkl
                      Brian S Nov 13, 2006 08:42 PM

                      In case you haven't seen it (you probably have), this post helps explain why Chinatown changed.

                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                      But a lot of those tourist places also do really good Taishan-style stuff for diners in the know.

                      1. re: Brian S
                        Chandavkl Nov 13, 2006 08:56 PM

                        Yes, thanks, I had seen it before. A similar scene has played out in other Chinatowns, particularly in Los Angeles and San Francisco. But even to this day, both Grant Ave. in San Francisco and the New Chinatown Plaza in Los Angeles are largely tourist food enclaves.

                    2. designerboy01 Nov 13, 2006 09:53 PM

                      OK, I had dinner at this place and I ordered the

                      Lotus Root Pancakes
                      Frog steamed in Rice
                      Chicken with Pickled Cabbage

                      They took a shortcut on the Lotus Root Pancakes and you get more pork then Lotus Root. The pancake comes out to be more of a mini pork patty. Not true to the way it is suppose to be, but if you like a meat patty its not bad. This dish came from the area in Canton who made their living selling silk. So they had the money and time to eat well here. It takes more work to make the real dish.

                      Seems like there were many people going for the Frog steamed in Rice. They serve it out in a square steamer lined with lotus leaf. The frog was stirred fried and there was definitely wok "air". There were also lily bulbs mixed in (don't mistaken this for onions). I thought this dish was pretty good.

                      As for the last dish. The chicken was crisp on the outside and the cabbabe was not too salty. It was good but I wish the people I was eating with left more of it.

                      Definitely go back and try the other dishes. The chef seems to be pretty good and seems like he is bringing more new dishes from China to New York.

                      ...Oh and the restaurant threw in a free slow cooked carrot and pork soup. I don't think you get it if you just order one dish or if they run out. The meal came out to be about a little over $40 without tip. Which was a great deal. Seems like it was packed that night already and it hasn't been open that long.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: designerboy01
                        s
                        SomeRandomIdiot Nov 14, 2006 04:39 PM

                        The soup at the beginning & for the places that make em the dessert soups at the end are standard at most of the places in Chinatown. How it tastes really depends on luck but they should give it to you and it should be free.

                        1. re: SomeRandomIdiot
                          designerboy01 Nov 15, 2006 04:35 AM

                          Yes it has been my experience that it comes standard. But I also have experienced that you sometimes don't get it if you order too little. More so the soup at the beginning. On a busy night they do run out at some restaurants.

                      2. d
                        diropstim Nov 14, 2006 04:25 PM

                        Thanks Brian! I must say, it's going to take me many more crawls to even scratch the surface of what you've hipped me to. Not a bad thing, mind you.

                        1. Brian S Nov 15, 2006 01:25 AM

                          Ate there again. And this time -- truly amazing. The place was packed. I ordered something from the regular menu, not the menu of specials. In my opinion, it deserves to be at the top of the specials, in big red type. It was "Braised duck with Eight Precious" A generous portion of boneless, skin-on strips of duck breast topped by a mountain of squid, shrimp, scallops, pork, chicken, pea pods, carrots and mushrooms. At the bottom was a rich ducky broth. I think it was indeed braised or steamed, everything was tender and succulent. They didn't give me free soup this time, but when I tasted the duck I didn't care.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Brian S
                            Brian S Nov 19, 2006 01:21 AM

                            And I couldn't resist going again on Thursday, two days later. A good crowd even in pouring rain. I had the steamed chicken with ham and broccoli. Lovely chicken, like Hainan chicken taken to the next level, beautifully presented in slices mixed with slices of ham (very likely Smithfield ham) and mushrooms, and a velvety sauce intensely flavored with chicken stock. I've become lazy in most restaurants and stick to casseroles. But here the best stuff is outside the casserole section of the menu.

                            1. re: Brian S
                              Brian S Nov 21, 2006 03:25 AM

                              And again tonight, my fourth visit. Monday, and the place was packed (mostly with Chinese families) I had steamed sliced salmon in black bean sauce. The "slices" were huge salmon steaks, two of them. Atop the steaks was a profusion of tiny black beans, chopped scallions etc and around it (it was served in a deep bowl) a dark savory broth. I've seen fish head served this way, but never fish and certainly never salmon. It was great. And the portion was huge. I just hope they don't decide to cut the portions down in a month or two.

                          2. r
                            randymac88 Nov 15, 2006 02:32 AM

                            Was on Jury Duty today, and went to EXCELLENT DUMPLING HOUSE. It was no less, excellent. Had a sizzling pork noodle dish that was spectacular...fried noodles with onions, peppers, and pork, with what tasted like a very nice duck sauce. I was really pleased with everything, despite being somewhat skeptical when walking in. A good solid lunch for 7 bucks.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: randymac88
                              p
                              Pan Nov 15, 2006 06:30 AM

                              Interesting. I gave up on them some time ago. Next door is a smaller, nondescript-looking place with a much more Chinese clientele (the name slips my mind), and if they have duck gizzards, order them on rice (it's not on the menu). I like to get some bak choy in oyster sauce on the rice as well, and the total comes to $6.50, I think.

                              1. re: Pan
                                Brian S Nov 15, 2006 10:09 PM

                                It's called Wing Huang, and it's at 111 Lafayette. I've never eaten there but they have a pretty large menu, even elaborate stuff like seafood in a "bird's nest" Last time I looked in, an older woman (the owner) was happily chatting with the customers.

                                1. re: Brian S
                                  designerboy01 Nov 16, 2006 06:05 AM

                                  I get the impression that the portions on that side of town are bigger. There is a place between Lafayette and Broadway on Canal street. You can get a plate of rice with anything on it and they will cook it. I asked for lamb and watercrest on rice and they made it for me. I use to go there for lunch a lot and just made stuff up and they made it and it was pretty good and cheap. Portions were big too. I only recommend it for lunch. It wouldn't be my first choice for dinner, but its a good place to get a meal for a good price.

                                2. re: Pan
                                  Chandavkl Nov 18, 2006 10:25 PM

                                  Wing Huang (formerly New Wing Wong) is my favorite place in Chinatown for soup noodles. They open early and it fills up quite early, too.

                                  1. re: Chandavkl
                                    l
                                    Lau Nov 19, 2006 03:28 PM

                                    Wing Huang is great, they have great congee as well. The bbq meats arent bad either.

                              2. Miss Needle Nov 23, 2006 08:35 PM

                                Just had Thanksgiving Lunch at Amazing 66. I have to say the service was quite friendly there considering it was in Chinatown. We ordered an order of the juicy pork buns (xiao long bao), pork belly and squid, and Lobster over pan-fried noodles.

                                I would not order the xiao long bao again. The dough was incredibly heavy with hardly any soup inside. The dipping sauce lacked ginger slices and vinegar. I think the vinegar is necessary to offset the richness of the pork. I really didn't want to order it (especially after the waitress didn't look like she was enthusiastic about it), but my fiance insisted.

                                The pork belly and squid was good except that the pork belly was cut too thickly and in huge pieces. If it was smaller and thinner, it would have crisped up more, making it easier to eat. I think I chewed one wad of the pork belly for about two minutes before I was able to get it down, almost choking on it. But the squid and the vegetables were absolutely delicious.

                                The Lobster (i believe it was Cantonese style) was well prepared. When we told the waitress we wanted it with pan-fried noodles as opposed to the lo mein, she perked up quite a bit. I would definitely order it again, though I'm partial to the preparation of lobster with ginger and scallion (cleaner flavors, brings out the lobster flavor more).

                                Amazing 66 is definitely worth a try. Their menu is quite extensive. We really had a hard time narrowing down our selections. I would stick to the Cantonese dishes; it seems to be a Cantonese restaurant.

                                It seems that a couple of you received a free soup. Though our lunch bill came to $54 before tip, we didn't receive any freebies except some cut-up oranges with the check.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Miss Needle
                                  Brian S Nov 23, 2006 09:56 PM

                                  I'm glad you tried it and glad you enjoyed it. Yes, it's Cantonese/Hong Kong... which is why they don't know how to do xiao long bao. I don't think Cantonese ever serve thin crisp pork belly, but if you have to chew for two minutes, something's wrong. And, except for once, it's always "No soup for me!", though I've been here often enough they know me by now.

                                  1. re: Brian S
                                    Brian S Nov 24, 2006 02:17 AM

                                    Somewhat distraught over not being able to make it to my Mom's for Thanksgiving dinner (she's moved out of state) and inspired by your post, I braved the rain to celebrate Thanksgiving at Amazing 66. The place was packed! After a short wait, a table opened up. I ordered the most turkeylike thing, braised duck with mushrooms. Half a duck, skin on, boneless, soooo tender, with heaps of those lovely brown dried mushrooms, each larger than a silver dollar, with a bit of tasty broth which was basically a reduction of the cooking liquid, plus five-spice. I miss the company but the food is almost as good as Mom's. (Hope she is not reading this!)

                                    1. re: Brian S
                                      p
                                      Peter Cherches Nov 24, 2007 12:37 PM

                                      You never know, however, when a dish that's not really from the region the restaurant represents will be a winner after all. Congee Village, which is Cantonese, has great scallion pancakes, which I think of as a Shanghai specialty. I also once had great scallion pancakes at a Cantonese place in Canton itself, South Sea Fishing Village. Xiaolongbao seems to have been introduced at many Cantonese dim sum places, and sometimes they're pretty good.

                                  2. Steve R Nov 24, 2006 12:28 PM

                                    Brian:

                                    If you're interested, there are several of us who would love to do a couple of dinners (maybe we can at least start with one) in some of the more interesting places you've posted on in Manhattan C'town. My e-mail is posted on my home page here on CH: let me know if you want to do this. Thanks.

                                    1. s
                                      sushiman Nov 25, 2006 02:33 PM

                                      How long before they get sued by JGV?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: sushiman
                                        csw Nov 25, 2006 06:30 PM

                                        Never. "Amazing 66" not "66".

                                      2. Polecat Dec 3, 2006 12:23 AM

                                        Hit this place tonight.
                                        When I walked in, at around 6pm or thereabouts, the restaurant was half-full. By the time I left, around 40 minutes later, it was quickly filling up, people lined up at the register waiting for tables.
                                        As is my tendency, I started with a soup: Bean Curd and Seafood. Good, viscous, just short of being overly salty. Creamy bits of BC, lots of sea stuff floating around. Good, but I've had its' equal at any number of places.

                                        My main dish, steamed minced pork with beef and egg yolk (off the specials menu), took about a half hour to reach my table. Perhaps this is how long it should take, but I've gotten steamed dishes in less time. Admittedly, this is my first experience with this dish anywhere, so my comments should be taken with that in mind. The gentleman sitting across from me, who, as it turns out, hails from Canton, said about this dish, "My mother used to make that for me back home". One waitress seemed to be happily surprised that I ordered it. It was good, but my overall feeling was that the saltiness of the beef and egg and the relative sweetness of the pork didn't really gel - they seemed like separate dishes on the same plate. The beef was a little dry also, which led me to believe that my order might have been sitting around for a while before someone finally grabbed it and brought it to me. Then again, perhaps this is the way the dish should taste, and its' just not hitting me at this point.

                                        The service was especially disorganized. The waiters often conferred in a huddle in the middle of the room, and took turns holding bowls and plates over hungry diners with tentative expressions on their faces, as if hoping that they got the table right. That said, they were nice, gracious and friendly, which, in my book, evened out the experience for me.

                                        All that said, I do look forward to returning, given how tantalizing some of the menu items sounded, the previous posts on this thread, and how good everything looked. I'm especially curious about the big pumpkin dish - which is another item on the specials menu and seems to be meant for multiple diners - which, when broken apart, apparently yields a cascading pile of pork ribs.

                                        Happy eating,
                                        P.

                                        1. d
                                          diropstim Dec 3, 2006 01:11 PM

                                          Took Brian S's advice and visited Amazing 66. The hostess and what I assume to be the maitre d' or captain/manager were both extremely nice and solicitous, even chatty, and both were very interested to learn that they are the subject of much chatter on the 'net, both here and elsewhere. (They apparently had no idea).
                                          But after perusing and then ordering from the extensive and interesting menu, something weird happened. The maitre d' laughed in my face! He explained that it was because "Americans never order that stuff -- they're too afraid." I offered the explanation that I'm a chef blah blah blah, and that seemed to justify my eccentricity for them.(Granted, maybe my order was a bit willfully adventurous, but I figured "why go all the way to chinatown for Orange Beef?")

                                          So. First up was frog porridge. An enormous bowl with a pleasantly farina-like consistency and almost no flavor. The House provided soy and a wickedly hot chili paste (like Sriracha on steroids) which improved matters considerably, but it was still a difficult dish to eat, as the frog was at least 70% bones and required quite a bit of manual and oral dexterity, to put it as delicately as I can manage. Slippery and bony don't match well with a westerner's relatively troglodytic chopstick skills, I found. What meat I could wrest from its cage I found to be silky and succulent with a melt-in-your-mouth-no teeth-required quality. And almost no flavor at all. Still, for some reason I rather liked the dish. I almost felt that I had somehow earned its limited pleasures.
                                          Next up was "Crispy Duck Tongues in Garlic Flavor". More cartilaginous than I would have expected, and undersalted for something deep-fried in a cornstarch batter, but a dip in the soy righted all wrongs and rounded out the fattiness. The fact that the dish was spiked with jalapenos and bird chilies didn't hurt either, but rhetorically, is this "authentic"? No matter, they were welcome additions.
                                          Last up was "Crispy Intestine". The menu didn't say and I didn't care, but it was definitely pork. Delicious. Unctuous. Underscored by a carefully considered yet minimalist bed of julienned carrots and batoneed daikon marinated in rice wine vinegar, the perfect foil. This one, to my taste, was improved with a brief visit to the chili paste ( if not for the provided condiments, I may not have enjoyed my meal at all, but they did what condiments rarely do --- they brought everything on the plate into sharper focus rather than laying exraneous flavors on top of the main event.)
                                          Either way, for gracious service, interesting food and a trip away from the quotidian, I highly recommend Amazing 66.
                                          By the way, this whole thing cost $28 and I didn't even come close to finishing it. Bring a friend.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: diropstim
                                            Polecat Dec 3, 2006 06:05 PM

                                            Regarding the hostesses, yeah, this was my experience as well. They were very solicitous and curious as to how I found out about the place, et al, and - as I mentioned - they were also very friendly. I agree with your credo - why come to Chinatown, especially to a new and highly recommended place - and order something you already know? I, too, want to make a return visit to Amazing 66. That said, I don't think I will be ordering the pork dish I had again. My taste buds are just not there yet. P.

                                            1. re: Polecat
                                              designerboy01 Dec 5, 2006 12:48 AM

                                              I'm curious, what pork dish did you order that you didn't like? and what did you not like about it? Maybe we can help you order and make it more of a positive experience.

                                              1. re: designerboy01
                                                Polecat Dec 5, 2006 12:28 PM

                                                If you read my post from 12/3 on this thread, I go more into
                                                detail about it. As I mentioned, this was my first time trying
                                                this dish: Steamed minced pork with beef and egg. The beef seemed
                                                dried out after I got my order, and the flavors of the different
                                                elements didn't coalesce for me - so it was a combination of
                                                things: my particular experience on that night, my lack of
                                                experience with this dish, and the distinct possibility that this
                                                dish is just not for me. Not now anyway. I welcome your feedback.
                                                P.

                                                1. re: Polecat
                                                  designerboy01 Dec 8, 2006 05:11 AM

                                                  I have to take a look at that dish next time I go there. If it was a steamed pork patty it is suppose to be really moist and smooth. I never heard of a steamed pork patty with beef and egg? I'll check out that dish next time I'm there.

                                                  1. re: designerboy01
                                                    Polecat Dec 8, 2006 12:23 PM

                                                    It's on the smaller specials menu. P.

                                          2. Brian S Dec 5, 2006 03:36 PM

                                            Made my sixth visit last night. The hostesses remembered me, remembered my name, remembered I'd be leaving town soon for a few months -- remembered it, not because I am especially distinguished, but because they are making an effort to remember EVERYBODY. Based on those visits, my favorite dishes are -- unlike in most restaurants, where I prefer casseroles -- all braised or steamed. They come on huge white porcelain platters, carefully arranged, and succulent and juicy. They are:

                                            Braised duck with 8 things. Two of the 8 things are big shrimps and scallops.

                                            Braised duck with mushrooms. Wonderful duck, great mushrooms.

                                            Braised duck with Buddha's delight. Tried this yesterday. Also mustly duck with mushrooms, but different presentation, looked like one big delicious mound held together by clear, slightly viscous sauce. Wonderful.

                                            Steamed chicken with ham and mushrooms. A famous cantonese dish (golden chicken) I've never had before. Another winner.

                                            Steamed salmon slices with black bean sauce. Also good, with huge salmon steaks. I prefer the fowl, though.

                                            1. s
                                              Sweatshirt Guy Dec 5, 2006 08:28 PM

                                              Maybe I caught this place on an off night. Had the deep fried salt and pepper fish app and it was great. The sauteed veggies were good too. The main courses I found to be underwelming. I had 8 precious duck and all it tasted of was the duck. The pork and seafood had no flavour of their own.The SO had shrimp with ginger and scallions and it was bland. We were very underwelmed The service was fine and the place is spotless but the food though clean tasting was very ordinary.

                                              1. Nosher Dec 6, 2006 02:38 PM

                                                We've been too (three times, once where we took pictures--their grand opening night, even) and it seems that we're all mostly on the same page here. The hostess is really very sweet, although on one visit, she made sure we knew we were eating CANTONESE food, as she repeated it four times in 20 seconds. Message received.

                                                I'll stick photos up on our Flickr photostream in advance of a full review, but we liked the off-menu baby bok choi quite a bit-- it was garlicky, and the bok choi were so perfectly cooked: crunchy on the base and meltingly tender at their leafy ends. BIG favorite. Not so much the conch in its own shell appetizer, which has zero spicing apart from a few slices of cured, smoked pork and some broth. It's beautiful to look at, but not so great to eat. Not so much also to the 'Honey Peach with Fish Cubes', which was great in theory--the white fish (which nobody in the place could identify) was firm and really meaty, and the combo of flavors should have worked, except that they used canned cling peaches. This is what potential tastes like. We also got something a neighboring table told us to get-- the deep fried shrimp with green chiles, but despite our begging, they toned it way down for the gwai lo, and the result was nothing special (even a little tough).

                                                Other dishes we've tried and liked are the braised duck with mushrooms, fish and lettuce congee (porridge), and the watercress with black bean sauce.

                                                More soon (and on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycnosh within the hour).

                                                Nosher

                                                NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Nosher
                                                  prunefeet Dec 6, 2006 03:55 PM

                                                  I want you to know I have just put your flicker collection in my favorites!

                                                  1. re: prunefeet
                                                    Nosher Dec 14, 2006 09:17 PM

                                                    After a lot of digging and fact-checking (more than for pretty much any other thing we've written), we posted our Amazing 66 review. The highlights are the same as what I wrote above, and we've already gotten an e-mail from one of the restaurant's loyal customers, telling us, "You haven't tried the REAL Amazing 66 until you've eaten the Frog Porridge." So there you go. Make of that what you will.

                                                    Nosher

                                                    NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                                                2. d
                                                  diropstim Dec 6, 2006 04:06 PM

                                                  Second visit yesterday and i have to say that I, too, was underwhelmed by the food and the service was oversolicitous to the point of being annoying. At least four people asked me if I needed a fork (I didn't x 4). As it was last time, the food was very bland, but this time no condiments were provided to rectify the situation. Portion sizes were insanely large --- I got the braised duck with eight precious and frankly, after 22 years in the bidness, I have no earthly idea how they can offer this dish for $12.95. We're talking half a duck, 6 scallops, shredded chicken, decoratively sculptured calamari, some shrimp, mushrooms, snow peas, carrots and chinese broccoli. Unfortunately, none of it seemed to have been touched by even so much as salt and pepper. Completely devoid of flavor, and every protein except the duck was woefully overcooked.
                                                  I also got the frog steamed over twin rice which was similarly gigantic, bland and overcooked. The rice went beyond sticky into the land of gummy, the frog was dry and tough, and there wasn't anything else in the dish to distract me from their shortcomings.
                                                  The hot and sour soup was okay on the hot but short on the sour. Acceptable, but nothing I haven't seen done better from a neighborhood takeout joint. Still, at two bucks who cares. Overall a huge disappointment, as i made a special (long and expensive) trip just to go there. I don't think that will ever happen again.

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: diropstim
                                                    jen kalb Dec 7, 2006 03:51 AM

                                                    I dont get your description of the eight precious duck. I believe that classically its a stuffed presentation with sticky rice augmented by a bunch of ingredients, fruits, nuts etc (the 8 precious) Your description looks suspiciously like one of those mishmashes that some cantonese restaurants used to serve to gringos in the bad old days, while the chinese folks at the next table got the good stuff. I wonder what is going on; its not encouraging.

                                                    1. re: jen kalb
                                                      m
                                                      mimolette Dec 7, 2006 04:38 AM

                                                      I doubt 8 sweet things could work with the duck. Are you thinking of the sweet rice dessert dish? I think the 8 ingredients here are supposed to be different.

                                                      1. re: mimolette
                                                        jen kalb Dec 7, 2006 03:16 PM

                                                        No, not the same as the pudding - Here's an example of an "eight precious" recipe - this one uses nuts but they are not sweet ingredients. http://www.completerecipes.com/42207.htm Im no expert but am pretty sure "eight precious" is not a canonical list of particular ingredients, but a concept that a dish is gussied up with an auspicious number of special or expensive ingredients (there are recipes around with taro too)Here's another "eight precious duck" recipe - the eight precious are savory stuff like dried scallops, chinese ham and black mushrooms.http://www.astray.com/recipes/?show=D...

                                                        My beef with what was described was that, as described, there were a bunch of ingredients thrown in with or garnishing the duck dish and not necessarily integrated properly with the duck (the poster said there was no seasoning), which doesnt seem like good cooking to me.

                                                      2. re: jen kalb
                                                        designerboy01 Dec 7, 2006 05:31 AM

                                                        I think that dish is suppose to be like that. Its a pretty old dish that was disapperaing in Chinatown, but it seems to be coming back. This use to be my grandfather's favorite dish when I ate with him when I was very young. There is one version of duck that is stuffed with sticky rice and its a completly different dish.

                                                        I somtimes get the feeling that the chef from Danny Ng came to this restaurant, because a lot of the dishes are the same and its done like the earlier days when Danny Ng was a bit hit for me.

                                                        1. re: designerboy01
                                                          Polecat Dec 7, 2006 12:45 PM

                                                          I ordered the 8 precious Duck dish at Danny Ng very recently, and
                                                          got exactly what the above poster, diropstim, described. A "mishmosh", as the next poster described. So, what's the verdict?
                                                          Did I get something approximating the traditional dish, or was
                                                          I given a version of it meant to placate my American palate? P.

                                                          1. re: Polecat
                                                            designerboy01 Dec 7, 2006 03:57 PM

                                                            The dish you got is suppose to be that way. Its duck is suppose to be stewed with the veggies. Its a very old dish in chinatown that is not served in many places. That is why I'm suspicious that the chef at Amazing 66 came from Danny Ng.

                                                            1. re: designerboy01
                                                              designerboy01 Dec 16, 2006 04:20 AM

                                                              OK, I had dinner at this place for 17 people and I was put in charge of ordering. The host at the restaurant Chris actually came up to me because he remembers me from Danny Ng. I asked him is the original chef from Danny Ng (who is suppose to be Danny Ng of course) at Amazing 66. He told me yes. So my taste buds were correct. I use to rave about Danny Ng on CH and I got shot down after people complained about the dark oil, cold dishes, etc. Danny Ng when it started was a really good place. But now I found my chef back. There was one fish dish that I ordered that was a combination of salmon and with flounder I think. I got too distracted with the conversation. I don't recommend the stuff chicken with almonds that you have to preorder a day ahead. I also ordered my favorite dish of duck with lohan veggies which use to be my favorite at Danny Ng and a dish from the older Chinatown days that I use to eat with grandpa. I also ordered their pea leafs with dried scallop which I enjoyed. You can get it with the option of crab meat too.

                                                              Chinese food in Chinatown no way compares to what you can get in Hong Kong, Vancouver, Shangahi, and other parts in China. Its kind of depressing after you can see what this cuisine can really be and what you can get here in NY.

                                                      3. re: diropstim
                                                        d
                                                        dec111 Dec 27, 2006 11:52 PM

                                                        this is a cantonese restaurant. ordering hot and sour soup is not the way to go. ( nor is ordering soup dumplings as another person who posted did). cantonese restaurants put these items on the menu for the tourists. if you want tourist food, this is not the place.

                                                        it is clear that you like your food spiced up. cantonese food is subtle and when done well and ordered well, it is full of contrasts (of flavors, and textures). Also, you are supposed to taste the ingredient not be hit in the face with the sauce.

                                                        perhaps you would be happier in another type or restaurant where the flavors hit you like a sledgehammer or bring your own hot sauce and pour it over everything ( just kidding).

                                                      4. Brian S Dec 7, 2006 09:59 PM

                                                        I've been on the bus to Tulsa (where I'll be for a few months, my parents moved there and my mom has been sick for years) so I didn't get the last few days of messages. I apologize to all who went there because of my recommendations and were less than satisfied.

                                                        I don't understand what happened. The duck with 8 precious, and everything else I had, was perfectly cooked, the duck and seafood and everything else, were correctly cooked, succulent and full of good flavor, and the sauce, while not spicy (Cantonese stuff generally isn't) had just enough salt etc to bring out the flavor of the ingredients. I can't have had such enormous good luck that each time I've been there they do it right, while with others they don't. So I dont understand it.

                                                        As for good value, all Chinese places give you excellent value for the first few months, that's why many diners always go to new places. When Cantoon Garden first opened in the mid 1990s, you could get a turtle or eel casserole for $8, then six months later they hiked prices by 50% (but the quality didnt suffer so I remained loyal.)

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: Brian S
                                                          Polecat Dec 7, 2006 11:09 PM

                                                          No need to apologize, Brian. You have, deservedly so, attained a high level of respect on this board with your excellent Chinatown posts.

                                                          As for inconsistencies, they happen. One possible reason in this case is the service, which, as many agree, is gracious, but also disorganized. In the case of my experience, I think it is quite possible that my order might have been ready 10 to 15 minutes before they finally got it to me, at which point the ingredients seemed somewhat dried out.

                                                          Who can disagree on the value question? I find that to be the case at the older places as well. After my most recent jaunt to Cantoon Gardens - which, by the way, I went to on your recommendation - I had enough leftovers for another full meal for two.

                                                          Enjoy your stay in Tulsa, and, by all means, keep the excellent posts coming.
                                                          P.

                                                          1. re: Polecat
                                                            Brian S Dec 8, 2006 03:25 PM

                                                            Thank you a million times for your encouraging words. Being useful to others is my only reward for the work I put in. Being here in Tulsa I really appreciate Amazing 66 all the more. Even a restaurant which in NY is good but not exceptional -- such as Oriental Food, 103 Mott, where I had a very good chicken casserole a week ago -- would be the best Chinese food within a thousand miles of here. More and more I agree with that food critic who said years ago, if the top restaurants get four stars, Chinatown deserves seven. (Some Chinatown restaurants used that as a pretext to post placards announcing "this restaurant was awarded seven stars!!"

                                                          2. re: Brian S
                                                            d
                                                            diropstim Dec 8, 2006 05:17 PM

                                                            Brian S, do you think that the inconsistencies might have something to do with the fact that you speak some Chinese and are regarded as an authority in this field? Maybe the rest of us are getting the usual "let's tone it down for the gwai-lo" treatment, even though on my second visit I was greeted with "Hey, Chef". Aside: NYC to Tulsa on a bus? I'd rather walk to Mecca (oceans and all) while smacking my head with a two-by-four, and I'm not Muslim. Good luck, and keep posting.

                                                            1. re: diropstim
                                                              Ike Dec 19, 2006 05:35 PM

                                                              I think Diropstim makes a VERY important point here. I've gotta learn to speak a little Chinese. Even just a couple of phrases would probably help a lot. My Taiwanese co-worker will probably help me. Or maybe I'll just get him to take me to Amazing 66.

                                                              Brian -- good luck out there. Your posts are always greatly appreciated around here. Maybe you should've said "250 miles," though, not a thousand -- I hear there are some really decent Chinese places near Dallas. Yeah, I know, not much consolation....

                                                              1. re: Ike
                                                                Chandavkl Dec 20, 2006 05:40 AM

                                                                Yes, there's quite a bit of good Chinese food in the northeast suburbs of Dallas, but it's a looong way from Tulsa to Dallas. Better off checking one pretty good Chinese restaurant in Norman (presumably for the benefit of OU students of Chinese heritage) or maybe Vietnamese food in Oklahoma City.

                                                            2. re: Brian S
                                                              s
                                                              Sweatshirt Guy Dec 15, 2006 09:13 PM

                                                              No apology warranted my man. I have had some great meals thanks to you. Good luck in Tulsa. I hope your mom gets better. As The Reverend Horton Heat says: "EAT BEEF!"

                                                            3. w
                                                              worldfamous Dec 10, 2006 04:46 PM

                                                              Hello All,

                                                              This is my first post. I read all of your reviews about Amazing 66 and went last night with my girl to check it out. The spot was packed and we were forced to sit with another couple and share a four top. We ordered Veg Friend Rice, Veg Soup, Chicken & Broccoli, and Prawns with Veg in Garlic Sauce. Everything was really good. I don't eat carbs so I just have the veg, chicken and prawns. The couple we were sitting with told us to try Hop Kee and Peking Duck House, so that's where we are off to next.

                                                              Thanks to everyone who contributes to the site, especially Brian S who started the thread.

                                                              1. bigjeff Dec 19, 2006 11:02 PM

                                                                holy crap I've never seen so many people excited by Chinese food before! and that's a great thing, I read this entire thread and while I'm usually bored by this kind of food, I just might give it a go. sometimes the chowhound-ish way is somewhat obscure (sandwiches under bridges, off of carts, etc.) but this sounds like a pretty mainstream restaurant, and from what I've read, there are no hooks or anything, just some straight-up cantonese food. maybe a group of 6 can do some damage, can't wait!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: bigjeff
                                                                  designerboy01 Dec 20, 2006 03:03 AM

                                                                  There is still more to be excited about you only have seen the tip of the iceberg.

                                                                2. e
                                                                  Eatpie Dec 29, 2006 06:09 PM

                                                                  Been to Amazing 66 a few times over the past week. Im really surprised to hear people complaining about the service. This is one of the better run restaurants in Chinatown. Ive been with large parties and sometimes you need be a bit assertive but the staff is abnormally friendly. If you are really having problems, flag down one of the 3 hostesses or the man who works the door...they are incredibly helpful. We've all had comical stories about service in Chinatown - comes with the turf. All things considered, Amazing 66 has a great attitude.

                                                                  In terms of the food, we'll need some time to find the restaurants strengths. There are interesting dishes all over the menu and definitely some talent in the kitchen. On the negative side, we've had underspiced dishes, some overcooked meats and most things deep fried are terrible (no easy feat). In particular, their salt baked dishes (yes, its fried) are horrible.

                                                                  Here's a list of the dishes we enjoyed; The Honey Ribs, lobster cantonese w/lo mein Under Neath, flounder stuffed with salmon, whole chicken w/fried garlic in soy, special cantonese fried rice (w/dried scallops, shrimp, yellow raisins and egg whites, roast beef over spinach (im dying to try the pastrami and corned beefs), Young Chow Wonton.

                                                                  Im looking forward to trying to all seafood meal on my next trip.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Eatpie
                                                                    Polecat Dec 30, 2006 09:18 PM

                                                                    A number of posters, myself included, have noted the friendly, classy and solicitous service. For me, this more than made up for a lack of organization on the night that I went. I definitely intend to return.

                                                                    One dish that I'm very curious about, and I'm pretty sure they serve it at Danny Ng's as well, is the pumpkin stuffed with ribs (not sure of the name). Would like to hit this place with at least two other diners to check it out.
                                                                    P.

                                                                    1. re: Polecat
                                                                      designerboy01 Feb 8, 2007 12:37 PM

                                                                      You have to order that dish a day in advance. I had it at Danny Ng and I know it wasn't the main chef that cooked it. They took some shortcuts and it came out soggy.

                                                                  2. cmballa Nov 4, 2007 04:00 PM

                                                                    I didn't do any research here beforehand, but a friend and I ate here tonight, and left very satisfied. We didn't want to spend too much money and now I feel a bit embarrassed about what we ordered, but the wonton soup we started with might have been the best I've ever had: lots of greens, scallions, slices of pork and tender wontons in a tremendously porky broth. For kicks we tried mei fun noodles that must have been either Filipino or Hawaiian style (a mistake I suppose, but not a bad dish by any means; I forget the name) that was loaded with slices of ham, bits of pork, pickled vegetables and pineapple. Finally there was the 'Pork Chop with Pepper and Spiced Salt', served with a lot of fried shallot, garlic and jalapeno; exceedingly tender, ungreasy and delicious (unsure if we lucked out on that one or not).

                                                                    I want to go back with a crowd and try more soup, a casserole (one at the next table looked delicious), and poultry and seafood dishes. Extremely impressed by this place.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: cmballa
                                                                      michele cindy Nov 5, 2007 04:24 AM

                                                                      I concur, the pork chop was prepared the same way when I had it. It probably wasn't a fluke and it is always that good. I also had the fried butter fish with black bean sauce, that was tasty too. The butter fish reminded me of sunny's you can catch in lakes. The funny thing was I didn't order the pork chops, but I had gone at lunch time and was seated with 2 very friendly ladies who asked me if I would like to have some. They also thought they were great. They liked the butter fish too.

                                                                    2. Brian S Nov 5, 2007 06:01 AM

                                                                      As long as this post has come back, I'll note that they have a glossy new menu to replace the two smaller menus. The good news is that almost all the prices have stayed the same. Usually restaurants use new menus as an excuse to raise prices. A few exceptions: the steamed salmon with black beans went up $4 and the pastrami went up $1... not that I'm in a hurry to order pastrami. I think they may have dropped some of the more elaborate advance-notice-required dishes from the new menu, but my guess is they would still make them if you requested them a day in advance.

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Amazing 66
                                                                      66 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Brian S
                                                                        cmballa Nov 5, 2007 08:20 AM

                                                                        What's up with that pastrami (and corned beef) anyway ?

                                                                        1. re: cmballa
                                                                          z
                                                                          zEli173 Nov 5, 2007 09:48 PM

                                                                          I am wondering the same. I've noticed there is no shortage of patrons ordering these items.

                                                                      2. ow77 Nov 5, 2007 08:53 PM

                                                                        I will also take advantage of this thread resurfacing. But my experience was a negative one. I went to Amazing 66 for the first time about a week ago after it had been on my chowhound list for a long time. We could have ordered better than we did (I didn't have time to look up recommendations on chowhound) but the food was pretty good. I think you can find better in Chinatown (Chatham Sq 6, for example - another find by Brian S) but that's not my complaint. The service is what ruined it for me. When I was about to pay and give a 20% tip I noticed something was wrong with the numbers in the check. I suspected they added a gratuity fee without telling us or indicating so in the bill. We were a group of 3 and there was no reason to do that. I asked the server and he said he indeed added a tip fee. I asked why and he played dumb. I should have insisted but I just paid (including the gratuity fee and no extra tip) and left.
                                                                        I will not come back.

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ow77
                                                                          Brian S Nov 6, 2007 06:21 AM

                                                                          Sorry that happened to you. I've never had that happen and I've lost count of the times I've eaten there.

                                                                          1. re: Brian S
                                                                            ammel_99 Nov 6, 2007 07:00 AM

                                                                            Unfortunately this happens in many Chinese restaurants. When I go with my husband (who is not Chinese) it happens to me sometimes and when I ask in Chinese why they added tip they play dumb too. (I never tried Amzing 66 but I am commenting regarding Chinese restaurants in general.)

                                                                            1. re: Brian S
                                                                              ow77 Nov 7, 2007 08:21 PM

                                                                              No need to apologize. Your posts are very helpful.

                                                                              1. re: Brian S
                                                                                cmballa Nov 8, 2007 01:51 PM

                                                                                This happened to me last night ! We had a bill of $23 and they added $5 with 'SC' next to it on the bill. What the hell !

                                                                                The meal was pretty alright, though the salt fish/chicken/eggplant casserole was underwhelming.

                                                                                Question: what are those dishes served in the square shallow wooden boxes ?

                                                                              2. re: ow77
                                                                                w
                                                                                wildeyedundine Nov 25, 2007 09:51 AM

                                                                                This just happened to me last night, but I did not realize it until reading this thread! The bill seemed expensive, but I did not question it until now and actually did leave a 20% tip on top of it! The bill was not itemized and was just one number. We were a party of 2 so that is unexcusable. Unfortunately, they are so popular (they were PACKED last night) that they can get away with it and not have to worry about losing a few customers here and there. I am rather pissed off now, as we did spend quite a bit of money there.

                                                                              3. z
                                                                                zEli173 Nov 9, 2007 12:02 PM

                                                                                84 replies and hardly any mention of the roast chicken (two mentions here and a couple in other threads). There's a reason why you can always find a few tables in Amazing 66 with a plate of roast chicken. Why isn't there more talk about this?

                                                                                There are three variations. The chicken comes with either preserved vegetables, preserved bean sauce, or fresh garlic. I think it's been reported elsewhere that the "fresh garlic" is actually fried garlic. I've only had the version with preserved vegetables, it is phenomenal. The chicken is perfectly moist and the skin is spectacularly crispy. The preserved vegetables, which I've also had with the braised pork (belly), are a delicious and fitting accompaniment.

                                                                                This is special roast chicken. Don't miss out.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: zEli173
                                                                                  Brian S Nov 28, 2007 04:25 PM

                                                                                  I've gotten really tired of roast chicken in Chinatown restaurants... until tonght! I took your advice and ordered the chicken with preserved vegetables and it is as phenomenal as you say! Thanks.

                                                                                  NB Canton Gourmet in Flushing also has a great roast chicken

                                                                                2. p
                                                                                  Peter Cherches Nov 23, 2007 08:37 AM

                                                                                  I finally got there last night, for Thanksgiving. There were 4 of us. It was the best Cantonese meal I've had in Chinatown in some time. Recent visits to Congee Village have been very disappointing, and Ping's has gone way downhill. We had:

                                                                                  Honey-roasted quails - absolutely fantastic
                                                                                  Scallops casino - too rich, and not really Chinese anyway
                                                                                  Pan fried butterfish with soy sauce - plentiful, delicate and excellent
                                                                                  King mushroom with snow pea "sprouts" (shoots/leaves) - very good, with a delicate, light brown sauce
                                                                                  Jumbo prawns with double rice - the mix of black and glutinous rice had a nice nuttiness with delicious mushrooms and scallops mixed in, and the prawns, in the shell, were fabulous
                                                                                  Oysters with black pepper sauce - good, but the sauce was a bit bland; Phoenix Garden does a better version

                                                                                  I definitely plan to go back with a larger group

                                                                                  http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Peter Cherches
                                                                                    p
                                                                                    Peter Cherches Nov 23, 2007 11:19 AM

                                                                                    I forgot to mention that I also found Fuleen disappointing on a recent first visit. So it's great to have a good HK seafood place in Chinatown I can take large groups to.

                                                                                    1. re: Peter Cherches
                                                                                      Brian S Nov 23, 2007 06:03 PM

                                                                                      It means a lot to me that you liked it and I thank you for posting this report. You should try some of the dishes I mentioned above, especially the braised ducks. A month ago, the waiters started teasing me because I ALWAYS order braised duck, so I decided to try new things. So far I've tried taipan noodles, which I didn't much like, and tofu with seafood on top. The latter dish was made with a lot of funky shrimp paste, which I either love or hate depending on my mood... but I like the fact that they don't compromise the authenticity of the dish by omitting it. On one visit I shared a table with a British tourist, who ordered beef with oyster sauce, which I'd never think of ordering, but it looked very very good. (The tourist ordered two dishes, probably thinking, my whole meal costs two Euros!)

                                                                                      1. re: Brian S
                                                                                        p
                                                                                        Peter Cherches Nov 24, 2007 12:32 PM

                                                                                        Brian, where Chinese food is concerned the respect is mutual.

                                                                                        1. re: Brian S
                                                                                          Brian S Dec 2, 2007 07:54 AM

                                                                                          I had the beef with oyster sauce yesterday. Strangely, it's something I've never tried even though it probably was being served in NY Chinese restaurants when my dad was a kid and is a take-out staple. The Amazing 66 rendition was what people who order from a neighborhood takeout joint dream of getting but never do: tender beef, fresh crunchy pea pods and carrots, and a tiny bit of a thin, flavorful brown gravy at the bottom.
                                                                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyster_s...

                                                                                      2. Brian S Nov 27, 2007 05:22 PM

                                                                                        Amazing 66 has a $5 lunch every day until 3:30. I have never tried it.I haven't had lunch in Chinatown since the day ten years ago when I ordered lunch in my favorite restaurant and what I got, which was always carefully and perfectly cooked at dinner, was just slopped together in a wok, and was horrible. When I mentioned it to the waiter, he said, of course! You can't expect it to be made well for five dollars! Well another Chowhound just posted a report of his $5 lunch at the link below and his verdict is that at Amazing 66 you CAN expect it to be made well. I must try lunch there soon.

                                                                                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/43915...

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Brian S
                                                                                          cmballa Nov 28, 2007 10:08 AM

                                                                                          Holy cow, fatty pork with onions.

                                                                                          What is your favorite restaurant anyway, Brian ?

                                                                                          1. re: cmballa
                                                                                            Brian S Nov 28, 2007 04:26 PM

                                                                                            It varies from week to week. But right now Amazing 66 in Chinatown, and Ocean Jewels in Flushing. www.chowhound.com/topics/435984

                                                                                          2. re: Brian S
                                                                                            Polecat Nov 30, 2007 04:11 PM

                                                                                            Strong second on the lunch specials/roasted chicken.
                                                                                            Hit this place today for the first time in almost a year, was glad to see it almost three quarters full at around 2pm. Like you, Brian, I would hesitate to order off the lunch menu almost anywhere. Even given the recent positive post to which you've linked, I still felt like we'd (my wife and I)be taking a chance - albeit an inexpensive one. I ordered the Roasted Chicken with garlic, my wife the Kung Po Baby Shrimp. The chicken was moist, tender with a crispy skin. My wife found it to be a bit too salty, but not me. I found it, actually, to be far less salty, and more tasty, than the version offered up at Canton Gourmet in Flushing. Her Kung Po Shrimps were far bigger and fresher than we had a right to expect. Judging from the overall food quality/taste/freshness, I'd say they're putting just as much gusto into the lunch specials as they are into the regular menu items - just doling them out in smaller portions. The portions were just right for one person, and clocked in at less than ten bucks. A seriously hungry diner could easily get two lunch specials, or share a third. Don't know why I waited so long to make a return trip. I look forward to trying their version of Pumpkin with Short Ribs (an old favorite at the dearly departed Danny Ng), best shared with a group, and, with respect to the Corned Beef w/ spinach and the Pastrami w/ Lettuce, I have to admit, I'm curious...
                                                                                            P.

                                                                                            1. re: Polecat
                                                                                              Brian S Dec 1, 2007 06:44 AM

                                                                                              Thanks for posting this. I'm glad to hear the lunch is better than you have a right to expect for $5. I think the pumpkin with short ribs is no longer on the menu... but they DO make it. I've seen it at several tables within the past week and it looks delicious. (People have said that Amazing 66 is run by the old Danny Ng crowd)

                                                                                              1. re: Brian S
                                                                                                wench31 Dec 1, 2007 07:48 AM

                                                                                                The pumpkin with short ribs is in the picture. I thought I saw that last night.
                                                                                                Have you ever try this shrimp special? It's for $25 and they had a picture of it on the front of their menu. I saw a a group of people ordering it and it looked delicious!
                                                                                                We also saw some people ordering the conch in a shell. We tried it and it was good! Thanks for the warning about the tipping, everybody! We made doubly sure that the tip wasn't included in the bill. On the 2nd page of their bill is their itemized bill. We checked to make sure that the tip wasn't incuded and happily it wasn't!

                                                                                                1. re: wench31
                                                                                                  p
                                                                                                  Peter Cherches Dec 8, 2007 04:31 PM

                                                                                                  I think you're talking about the prawns with twin rice, yes?

                                                                                          3. z
                                                                                            zEli173 Nov 28, 2007 09:56 PM

                                                                                            Brian S, glad you liked that chicken. My mouth is watering.

                                                                                            cmballa, what's up with the fatty pork with onions? Is that on the menu or a special request?

                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: zEli173
                                                                                              cmballa Nov 29, 2007 12:29 PM

                                                                                              Oh I don't know — I haven't tried it yet! It was mentioned (but not eaten) in that review Brian_S linked us to.

                                                                                              I will (and everybody else should, if possible) give lunch at 66 a try.

                                                                                              1. re: cmballa
                                                                                                Brian S Nov 30, 2007 06:58 AM

                                                                                                from the description in that review, it's "Braised pork with preserved cabbage". The cabbage does look like braised onions and from the Chinese description of that dish, it's pork belly. It does sound good!

                                                                                                1. re: Brian S
                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                  comestible Dec 1, 2007 07:18 AM

                                                                                                  OK, after al this you have my mouth watering. I haven't been to 66 yet. Can anyone tell me if there are any vegetarian dishes there, and if so, are they of the same quality as the meat dishes described? Thanks.

                                                                                                  1. re: comestible
                                                                                                    Brian S Dec 1, 2007 08:22 AM

                                                                                                    I've never tried the veg dishes but the quality of the vegetables I've encountered in the meat dishes, including duck with Buddha's Delight aka Luohanzi http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha&#... is quite high. The menu lists 14 vegetarian dishes (though some include shrimp), including Bean curd with Buddha's delight, braised bean curd with mushrooms and snow peas, and king's mushrooms with snow pea sprouts.

                                                                                                    1. re: Brian S
                                                                                                      Polecat Dec 1, 2007 01:43 PM

                                                                                                      I actually took home the braised bean curd with mushrooms and snow peas, and liked it very much. Good taste and no grease. Fresh tasting mushrooms and pea shoots. My one quibble was that they rounded it all out with lesser veggies that seemed as if they came out of a can. Nevertheless, still good.
                                                                                                      P.

                                                                                                      1. re: Polecat
                                                                                                        foodmonk Dec 2, 2007 06:37 AM

                                                                                                        I was there yesterday. The fish casserole that I had came with very fresh vegetables entirely, though I suppose the baby corn came from a can and the mushrooms were rehydrated.

                                                                                                  2. re: Brian S
                                                                                                    z
                                                                                                    zEli173 Dec 9, 2007 04:03 AM

                                                                                                    "Braised pork with preserved cabbage"

                                                                                                    Oh, then I've had this dish and liked it very much.

                                                                                                    1. re: zEli173
                                                                                                      fgf Dec 10, 2007 11:23 AM

                                                                                                      I have since gone back for my second lunch at Amazing 66 having been impressed with the look that pork dish (though mistaking the cabbage for onion) on my first visit. A diner at the communal table had ordered it and it made me immediately envious. I did order the pork with preserved cabbage and have two things to say: 1) It was delicious. Simple and delicious. 2) Considering this cost five dollars someone will have to offer a very strong argument as to why this isn't the best value in Manhattan. I'm willing to listen, but it better be good.

                                                                                              2. bigjeff Dec 7, 2007 09:53 AM

                                                                                                had the pleasure of dining her last night, meeting for the first time with prunefeet, surly, polecat, davecook and a couple other friends. we figured we needed some bodies, esp. since we pre-ordered the pumpkin stuffed with short ribs. over discussions of nerdfury and subpar italian food in providence, we were able to enjoy a great selection of dishes, with many recs culled from the boards. I'm just gonna do a very quick rundown of dishes, and thoughts.

                                                                                                1. pumpkin stuffed with short ribs
                                                                                                2. roast chicken with preserved vegetables
                                                                                                3. pea shoots with garlic
                                                                                                4. baby bok choy with garlic
                                                                                                5. pan-fried butterfish with soy sauce
                                                                                                6. steamed tofu stuffed w/ minced shrimp
                                                                                                7. golden prawns over twin rice
                                                                                                8. dessert soup of tapioca w/ mung bean

                                                                                                overall, the showstopper was the pumpkin; cooked to a perfectly soft texture yet still intact and holdings its shape; just about all that was left at the end was a few pieces of rind but yes, the ribs were great, and the whole thing bathed in a tasty, peppery, thick gravy. the roast chicken was amazing, and the preserved veg showered on top (I think it was mustard greens) was so tasty, so crispy and just incredible. the butterfish was nothing like the salt-pepper seafood I was expecting but rather a very simple preparation of butterfish (looks like what you'd catch in a lake), pan fried and in a thin sweet soy sauce. good though. both veg were delicious and really simple. the twin rice was delicious although, I didn't really taste a melding of the prawn flavor into the rice, which I was expecting. the steamed tofu was an afterthought but a good ending; quite clean and again very simple. and the complimentary dessert was great, at least for me.

                                                                                                overall, the food was very fresh, expertly and very simply prepared; no unnecessary garnishes, nothing out of place and very well done. I think we tested the patience of the staff by refusing to relinquish plates until they had been wiped clean of their respective sauces but, great experience and great food. there were many other dishes we could've ordered (braised pork belly, salt-pepper seafood, braised duck, lobster cantonese over crispy pan-fried noodles, honey-roasted quail, etc.) so clearly, we've a round 2 in order.

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: bigjeff
                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                  surly Dec 7, 2007 10:13 AM

                                                                                                  good roundup of what we ate last night. for me the biggest disappointment was the butterfish - on previous visits it had been terrific, but last night it was good but not great. i hadn't been to this place in a while, though, so i think we may have actually ordered something different from what i'd had in the past - looking at the menu right now, there's an item in the chef's recommendations (#46) called "fried butter fish with spicy salt and pepper"; in retrospect, i think that's what i'd enjoyed so much during previous visits. in any event, no big deal, since the soy sauce version was still all right and the rest of the meal was quite good - by far the best overall experience of my 3 or 4 visits here.

                                                                                                  the pumpkin stuffed with ribs stole the show, as bigjeff mentioned, but i have to reiterate how good the golden prawns (in shell) over twin rice were. i think those two dishes, along with the roast chicken and possibly the butterfish with salt and pepper, are absolute must-orders here.

                                                                                                  i should note that the roast chicken is also available in three other preparations: with fresh garlic sauce, "cantonese style" (don't know what this means), or with black bean sauce. i haven't had any of those, but a friend who's been here in the past thinks the one with fresh garlic sauce is the best of the bunch.

                                                                                                  basically, i think that if you order correctly here, you can have a fine meal. i'm not saying that it compares with the cantonese food in vancouver or sf's richmond district, but it's probably a lot better than most of the other cantonese places in manhattan right now. the menu's really big, though, so if you order randomly you'll probably run into a lot of duds.

                                                                                                  1. re: surly
                                                                                                    bigjeff Dec 7, 2007 10:30 AM

                                                                                                    the roast chicken with garlic is basically the same prep, but sprinkled all over with tiny "crystals" of fried garlic, and bathed in a similar sweet soy sauce prep. quite good as well but I prefer the preserved veg.

                                                                                                  2. re: bigjeff
                                                                                                    prunefeet Dec 7, 2007 11:56 AM

                                                                                                    I think Jeff covered everything. I just want to add the prawn dish with twin rice, which was really good, also had scallopes and lotus root in it...the roast was delicious and salty, with a very crisp skin...everything we had was wonderfully prepared, and the service was quite pleasant as well. We got out of there for 25 per person, which is more than reasonable.

                                                                                                    1. re: prunefeet
                                                                                                      Polecat Dec 7, 2007 12:17 PM

                                                                                                      Hard to improve on what Jeff and Surly said. Good food, excellent company. The pumpkin dish w/ short ribs kind of reminded me of Fried Chicken and Waffles, simply because it ingeniously combines two elements that you wouldn't necessarily put together. The salty plus the sweet, the difference in textures - just looking at the thing is fun. Like modern art that's meant to be eaten. I'm sorry I never tried this at Danny Ng. I heard that they did a version where the pumpkin is actually split open in front of the diners, the short ribs cascading out on all sides like some kind of strange fireworks floorshow. Oh well. Onward.
                                                                                                      P.

                                                                                                    2. re: bigjeff
                                                                                                      DaveCook Dec 7, 2007 01:09 PM

                                                                                                      A few photos: pumpkin and short ribs, baby bok choy, a head shot of the chicken, and the butterfish.

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                    3. n
                                                                                                      newportt Dec 7, 2007 12:14 PM

                                                                                                      Sounds amazing.

                                                                                                      Brian, can I ask what's the Chinese name of this restaurant? Thanks ...

                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: newportt
                                                                                                        scoopG Dec 9, 2007 10:39 AM

                                                                                                        The Mandarin Chinese name is Wang Shang Wang.

                                                                                                        1. re: scoopG
                                                                                                          n
                                                                                                          newportt Dec 9, 2007 12:36 PM

                                                                                                          Got it. Thank you!

                                                                                                          1. re: newportt
                                                                                                            scoopG Dec 10, 2007 10:18 AM

                                                                                                            Sorry, I got it wrong!

                                                                                                            The correct translation for Amazing 66 is "Huang Shang Huang"

                                                                                                            The Huang means Bamboo grove or bamboo. Shang has numerous meanings, including to go up. So it is sort of a poetic name like "Up the Bamboo Grove" or "Up among the Bamboo"

                                                                                                            1. re: scoopG
                                                                                                              n
                                                                                                              newportt Dec 10, 2007 02:24 PM

                                                                                                              Thanks ... nice (but unusual) name.

                                                                                                              I found this picture
                                                                                                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycnosh/...

                                                                                                              1. re: scoopG
                                                                                                                Brian S Dec 10, 2007 05:38 PM

                                                                                                                My guess for 皇上皇 was King of Kings (or emperor above emperors) . Close, I guess. Bamboo is the king of shrubs.

                                                                                                                1. re: Brian S
                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                  newportt Dec 10, 2007 06:00 PM

                                                                                                                  Ha, but scoopG is right, it's 皇上皇 with a twist. There is bamboo on top, which doesn't really make sense. Maybe it's feng shui ... looks like it worked :-).

                                                                                                                  (No idea why 皇上皇 is such a popular name nowadays.)

                                                                                                                  1. re: newportt
                                                                                                                    Brian S Dec 11, 2007 07:45 AM

                                                                                                                    so you're saying the name is not 皇上皇 but 篁上篁?

                                                                                                                    I've been looking at their menu and I think you're correct. But it's hard to tell. They've modified the top part of the 篁 so it looks like a little cartoon man with his mouth open in astonishment.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Brian S
                                                                                                                      scoopG Dec 11, 2007 08:47 AM

                                                                                                                      Newportt is right there. The Huang characters in Amazing 66's Chinese name has a bamboo radical on top (zhu zi tou.) Sorry, you guys are way ahead of me with your insertion of written Chinese!

                                                                                                                      I think the Chinese name of the restaurant is actually a play on words.
                                                                                                                      The term "Huang Shang Huang" (with this Huang meaning King or Emperor) means "King of Kings." So we have the same sounds, different meaning.

                                                                                                        2. cmballa Dec 13, 2007 02:44 PM

                                                                                                          I just came back from an early solo dinner at Amazing 66. I ordered Braised Duck with Eight Treasures on BrianS's recommendation — delicious (just a bit undersalted for my taste, but still delicious). Big question though (since I am convinced they don't like me at this place): do they normally put mock duck (gluten duck) in this dish, or are they stiffing me on the real meat? I mean there was still plenty of real duck, but I found this a bit odd.

                                                                                                          Also, when I ordered this dish the waitress recommended I get the version with Chinese Mushroom instead Eight Treasures, because 'guys like me' generally don't care for the former. I lied and said I had it before and thought it to be delicious. I'm going to be brutally honest that I feel very unwanted every time I go in here (this was visit #4, and I've had only one fairly positive experience — the first one). Am I alone with this sort of treatment? I'm as respectful a patron as I can muster. Perhaps these 'guys like me' are unjustly rude.

                                                                                                          Anyways, next on my list: any roast chicken dish; pork belly with preserved vegetables (maybe at lunch).

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: cmballa
                                                                                                            michele cindy Dec 14, 2007 03:25 AM

                                                                                                            Only went at lunch, and the women who waited on me were very nice. Try it at lunch, and see if you get better service.

                                                                                                            1. re: cmballa
                                                                                                              bigjeff Dec 20, 2007 04:47 PM

                                                                                                              you gotta try the roast chicken w/ preserved vegetables; outta control.

                                                                                                              1. re: bigjeff
                                                                                                                prunefeet Jan 5, 2008 06:34 AM

                                                                                                                I heartily second this, it sounds not that interesting but it's freaking good.

                                                                                                                1. re: prunefeet
                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                  Sugar Jan 6, 2008 11:35 AM

                                                                                                                  The roast chicken with fresh garlic sauce is amazing also.

                                                                                                            2. Delucacheesemonger Dec 20, 2007 02:47 PM

                                                                                                              On your recommendation went last night, regretfully only two people,
                                                                                                              Had oyster casserole with ginger and pan sauteed butterfish, table next to us after begging them, gave us some frog legs with two rices. All food was very, very hot and very, very good. Service was fine as well Will definitely return. Thanks for the post

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                                bigjeff Dec 20, 2007 04:47 PM

                                                                                                                wanted to try that oyster casserole! had something similar in london, can you describe the dish? the one I had was oysters barely flash fried and then cooked in the casserole in a thick sauce and quite delicious.

                                                                                                                1. re: bigjeff
                                                                                                                  Delucacheesemonger Dec 25, 2007 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                  Oyster dish different than most others had, slippery non-fried oysters in stock and soy with bamboo shoots, shitakes, bottom of casserole braised chinese cabbage leaves as usual. What was different was treatment of ginger. coin shaped slices of fresh hot, hot ginger non pre-boiled, peeled or tempered in any way, thus pleasantly in your face. Glad to go with any group there

                                                                                                              2. p
                                                                                                                Peter Cherches Dec 22, 2007 06:09 AM

                                                                                                                I went back with a group last Sunday. I was less thrilled this time, though it was still good. I didn't like the salt & pepper butterfish as much as the soy version I had the prior time. I found the the duck with 8 treasure rather bland. The snow pea leaves with crab meat was OK, but Phoenix Garden does it better. Same for the oyster casserole--much better at Phoenix Garden (and 66's doesn't have the roast pig). The Tai-Pan mei fun was not very good (I've had much better at Ping's and 8th Avenue Seafood in Brooklyn). The short ribs in the pumpkin was great, though, and I'm glad I had a large enough group for it. Still great were the honey roasted quails. I'll certainly be back, but it's hardly the transcendent Cantonese that Imperial Palace in Flushing is.

                                                                                                                http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Peter Cherches
                                                                                                                  Brian S Dec 23, 2007 07:11 AM

                                                                                                                  sorry your meal didn't live up to expectations. I've never found the duck bland.... except for one time a month ago when they goofed on the sauce. So I'm wondering if that happened to you. The sauce should be dark brown, and if you got a clear sauce that was basically oil, they goofed and made it blander than it should be.

                                                                                                                  I was there yesterday. I timed my meal for 4 PM hoping to find the place empty... and it was packed! It wasn't the lunch crowd either, it was new arrivals ordering dinner. My stomach was a bit blah, so I ordered something that sounded blah, "Intestine with sour cabbage" It was delicious! Crunchy, slightly pickle-like vegetables and of course pig intestine, all in a clear sauce with subtle hints of vinegar, sugar, and black bean. My stomach perked up immediately, and said, "order three more plates and send them down the hatch asap!!" (I didn't)

                                                                                                                2. Miss Needle Dec 23, 2007 05:22 AM

                                                                                                                  I was there for lunch yesterday at 1P as DH was in the mood for some seafood chow mein and I was in the mood for a simple seafood with vegetables in white sauce (like what you get in NY Noodletown). We were given a menu. DH found his chowmein. I couldn't find my seafood with vegetables dish so I ordered something called squid with hot pepper and salt and pepper. The seafood chowmein arrived. It looked delicious. Perfectly seasoned and the squid was so tender in that dish. I was really looking forward to my squid with salt and pepper. My dish then arrived. Unfortunately I ordered wrong. It was deep-fried sprinkled with some fried garlic, salt and pepper. However, it was my fault for not asking so I ate a couple of pieces. It was good, just not what I wanted. I was looking for something more bland and soothing that day.

                                                                                                                  I then noticed all the Chinese people around us had different menus than what we had. I then saw that all the non-Chinese with our menus. It seems that the Chinese were either given lunch menus or had asked for them specifically -- not sure. But every single Chinese table (except for the banquet tables) were eating lunch food (dishes tend to be smaller and over rice) and the non-Chinese were having dinner food. As I was sitting behind the waiter's station, I grabbed a lunch menu. I saw my seafood and vegetables dish over rice there -- ah! Exactly what I was looking for! And the prices were so much lower! DH's dish was there on the lunch menu as well. Guess for next time we'll have to stipulate we want the lunch menu if they don't offer it to us.

                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                                                                    t
                                                                                                                    TipsyMcStagger Dec 23, 2007 06:09 AM

                                                                                                                    By lunch menu, do you mean the lunch specials? Or simply a separate lunch menu?

                                                                                                                    I was there last week (on a weekday)...specifically for the lunch special ($4.95). I had to ask for the lunch "special" menu after being given the full (what appeared to be) dinner menu when seated.

                                                                                                                    Tipsy

                                                                                                                    1. re: TipsyMcStagger
                                                                                                                      Miss Needle Dec 23, 2007 09:06 AM

                                                                                                                      There was a separate lunch menu that included the lunch specials plus other dishes like congee that is not on the dinner menu.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                                                                        foodmonk Dec 29, 2007 10:43 AM

                                                                                                                        First time I went, I got the lunch special menu, with the $4.95 items. I was thinking to myself, "Where is all the good stuff?" Second time, I got the full menu which, I surmise, is now given to non-Chinese customers. That was fine with me, because I was looking for something a little bit more interesting that your standard "over rice" dishes.

                                                                                                                    2. re: Miss Needle
                                                                                                                      Brian S Dec 23, 2007 07:06 AM

                                                                                                                      sorry about the menu mixup but I'm glad you enjoyed your meal. If you go again for dinner, the "shrimp and egg with XO sauce over chow fun" has pretty much the sauce you were looking for, despite the name. Lots of shrimp too.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Brian S
                                                                                                                        Miss Needle Dec 23, 2007 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                        Thanks, I'll try that next time if that mood strikes me again.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Miss Needle
                                                                                                                        Miss Needle Jan 9, 2008 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                        Well, I was in the area to pick up supplies for work and was in a bit of a rush as I had to go back to work. I decided to eat at Amazing 66 for lunch. As usual, I was given the dinner menu. This time I asked for the lunch menu. I was there around 2:30P. It seems that everybody must have been on their break or something because even though the restaurant was practically empty none of the workers (which there were plenty of) would take my order. I motioned the hostess to send somebody to me. The hostess just looked at me like I was bothering her. A very nice Chinese man who was eating at the table next to me motioned to the manager to send a waiter to my table. To give you an idea of how long I waited for somebody -- when I got there, the table next to me (the one with the nice Chinese man) still had their menus and was deciding what to get. They got all of their food before I even got somebody to take my order.

                                                                                                                        In spite of that, I ordered my seafood with vegetables. At $6, I think it's larger and a couple of bucks cheaper than NY Noodletown. And it hit the spot. The squid was not as tender as the last time I was there, but it wasn't bad either.

                                                                                                                      3. c
                                                                                                                        comestible Dec 23, 2007 03:07 PM

                                                                                                                        I tried to visit there last night, on the way home from a shopping trip...unfortunately the place was too crowded and I didn't have time to wait. Settled for a mediocre dish at the Singapore restauirant across the street.

                                                                                                                        I get to Chinatown frequently, so I'm sure I'll have better luck at a different time of day.

                                                                                                                        Noticed a Zagat review placard in the front window; obviously 66 has been "discovered" by the Zagat crowd as well.

                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: comestible
                                                                                                                          Brian S Dec 23, 2007 03:43 PM

                                                                                                                          They've opened up an annex in their basement, accessible from the street. You can usually get a place there. I prefer to go at weird hours and get a seat upstairs, but the basement looks brightly lit and comfortable.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Brian S
                                                                                                                            d
                                                                                                                            deepsix Dec 28, 2007 07:57 PM

                                                                                                                            Hey guys, long time reader, first post compelled to chime in. Tried Amazing 66 on xmas since all the dimsum places were packed and it looks clean. But omg the food is subpar; soup dumplings had no soup and skin is too thick, taro pancake couldn't taste the taro, beef stew was watery and it came w/ melba toast (in a chinese rest??), dont know what its called in english but mai fun with preserved veges + fried calamari on top was bland and a bit watery, several other dishes but really the worst meal i've had in chinatown. Sorry to blow up on it but actually decided to go there b/c i saw this post a few days earlier.

                                                                                                                            1. re: deepsix
                                                                                                                              squid kun Dec 29, 2007 01:28 AM

                                                                                                                              Why order soup dumplings in a Cantonese place?

                                                                                                                              1. re: deepsix
                                                                                                                                DarthEater Jan 2, 2008 10:11 PM

                                                                                                                                Ordering soup dumplings in a cantonese place is like ordering pizza in a bbq ribs joint. You just DONT.

                                                                                                                                1. re: deepsix
                                                                                                                                  bigjeff Jan 6, 2008 06:56 AM

                                                                                                                                  not to pile on, but I wouldn't order dimsum dishes like taro cake either. just to get some perspective, what/where was the BEST meal you've had in chinatown?

                                                                                                                                2. re: Brian S
                                                                                                                                  Delucacheesemonger Jan 2, 2008 02:04 PM

                                                                                                                                  Going Thursday night with 12 people, finally to get the pumpkin/ short ribs
                                                                                                                                  Others want to come, more the merrier. Reservation 8:45

                                                                                                                              2. youngjung Jan 2, 2008 06:23 PM

                                                                                                                                For the New Year I like to eat like a King, because it’s the New Year and maybe, just maybe I will no longer be a CheapAss! But we all know that isn’t going to happen, so every year in the beginning of January I eat like Henry the Eighth. Amazing 66 is famous for their seafood and definitely recognized for Cantonese cuisine all over Manhattan, a suitable place for a King.

                                                                                                                                For appetizers we started with crispy home-style pan fried lotus cake ($9.95), came in 7-9 pieces, all crunchy on the outside with chunks of Chinese sausage inside. Next on banquet menu deep fried oyster with ginger scallion ($12.95), I thought the batter was on the thick side but the flavor was wonderful, light and tasting of the sea. Sautéed Taiwanese “A” vegetable ($7.95), and beef with snow peas ($10.95) arrived at the same time, the beef and snow peas where were not heavily sauced, I could actually taste the beef unlike most Chinese eatery. Sautéed Taiwanese “A” vegetable was good but a little heavy on the cornstarch, otherwise great for vegetarians. Our finale of the evening was a grand steamed dungeons crab with flat noodles and fresh garlic sauce ($24.95-$30.00 seasonal); the cab was slightly sweet and perfectly cooked which made the meat tender. The genius part of the whole dish - are the noodles on the bottom of the plate it soaked up all the rich oils of the crab, garlic and other goodies.

                                                                                                                                I loved it here I Definitely ate like a king or least like a CheapAssKing!

                                                                                                                                1. s
                                                                                                                                  suprakent Jan 3, 2008 06:39 AM

                                                                                                                                  Finally got to eat there the other day but did not read the this thread before I went. This is some of the best food I have had in Chinatown in a long time. Everything that was ordered was pretty much on the money. As for the service they must of been reading this blog or have gotten a couple of complaints because it was pretty good for a chinese restaurant. The hostess/captain came to our table to make sure everything was satisfactory. Gets a little crowded but at least the food is worth wait.

                                                                                                                                  1. fgf Jan 5, 2008 02:48 PM

                                                                                                                                    Dinner at Amazing 66 last night. Two of us at a two-top in their downstairs space. We ordered three dishes, two were excellent and the third was just plain weird. We started with a pair of Honey Barbequed Quail which have received positive reviews in this thread and did not disappoint. Crispy, sweet, great texture and very tasty. We also tried the well reviewed 1/2 Chicken with Preserved Vegetables which was fantastic, moist and tender, perfectly cooked and the preserved vegetables was an excellent complement.

                                                                                                                                    But we also ordered this dish from the Casserole section of the menu, Beef with Turnip. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Well, they obviously have a very relaxed definition of the word beef as the primary component of the dish seemed to be huge chunks of cartilage. I'm not certain it was cartilage, I am certain it was gross. I eat a lot of weird stuff but I just couldn't deal with the stale meat Jell-O like texture. In retrospect we should have ordered the casserole that BrianS mentioned in the original post which was more clearly labeled as steak (or fillet of beef or something), but I just assumed beef meant muscle, maybe a little offal, not a huge honking bowl of cartilage. I'd be curious if the Chinese characters describing the dish reveal a little more information.

                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: fgf
                                                                                                                                      scoopG Jan 5, 2008 05:33 PM

                                                                                                                                      Turnip with Beef Tendon Casserole

                                                                                                                                      1. re: scoopG
                                                                                                                                        fgf Jan 5, 2008 05:55 PM

                                                                                                                                        Now you tell me.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: fgf
                                                                                                                                          Brian S Jan 6, 2008 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                          I think I've seen that character translated as beef belly (flank steak). I've had it twice in other places (actually by a strange twist of fate, one was the same place, the Eastern Villa which occupied the same address as Amazing 66) and I hated it both times... the meat was dry and tough.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Brian S
                                                                                                                                            fgf Jan 6, 2008 08:13 PM

                                                                                                                                            We had dim sum today at the Golden Unicorn and I told my table mates of my beef tendon plight and one of them, who had eaten at Amazing 66, said, "oh, that's my favorite dish." She was in the middle of eating silken do fu with a sweet syrup to finish her meal and I asked which she likes better, silken do fu with syrup or Ben and Jerry's and she didn't hesitate a second to say the do fu. So, there's no accounting for tastes I guess.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: scoopG
                                                                                                                                          t
                                                                                                                                          TipsyMcStagger Jan 9, 2008 06:56 PM

                                                                                                                                          I usually see beef tendon on the menu as "sinew" in Hong Kong.

                                                                                                                                          Tipsy

                                                                                                                                          1. re: TipsyMcStagger
                                                                                                                                            scoopG Jan 9, 2008 07:16 PM

                                                                                                                                            Tipsy, Sinew is tendon. In Taiwan, niunan is translated as Beef Tendon or Beef Sinew. My mainland PRC dictionary (perhaps outdated!) translates niunan as sirloin or tenderloin, which I know this cut of meat is not. To further add confusion I asked my local butcher and he said you can't chew tendon, impossible to eat!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: scoopG
                                                                                                                                              k
                                                                                                                                              kobetobiko Jan 9, 2008 09:58 PM

                                                                                                                                              scoopG,

                                                                                                                                              I just read the menu of Amazing 66, and the beef stew with turnip dish (#89) is actually Beef Brisket with Turnip (not tendon) in Cantonese. This is a very classic Cantonese dish available in many restaurants in Hong Kong. Since it is actually beef brisket instead of beef loins, it is rich in connective-tissue collagen and hence the chewiest among all the cuts. In fact, it is the chewiness of the cartilages with the tender meat that Hong Kong people like about this dish!

                                                                                                                                              Turnips and beef brisket is a classic combination and can be prepared in different sauce as casserole (e.g. curry sauce, chu-hou sauce)

                                                                                                                                              Beef tendons are also served on the menu e.g. Sesame Beef Tendon (#3) which they misspelled as "beef tender". And what is really is based on the Cantonese menu is actually the spicy ma-la (szechuan-style) beef tendon.

                                                                                                                                              A lot of times I am amused by the translations of Chinese and Japanese menus (I read both languages). A lot of the time the English names mean something totally different from the real thing...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: kobetobiko
                                                                                                                                                scoopG Jan 10, 2008 05:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                Thanks kobetobiko. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that Cantonese is much older than Mandarin! I know Cantonese uses some characters and character combinations not used in Mandarin. To further add to the confusion, my reading of dish #3 is that the beef is described as niujin or "cattle tendon" in my Chinese-English dictionary from Taiwan! Jin by itself means tendon or sinew. In dish #89, my dictionary says niunan is Beef Sinew or Tendon! It could very well be part of the brisket (xiong rou or chest meat) which comes from the under belly and would be called "chest" if cattle stood upright! Guess I'll have to try both and see.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: kobetobiko
                                                                                                                                                  fgf Jan 10, 2008 06:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                  The cut I ate (tried to eat) was certainly not brisket, at least not the muscle part. This was entirely non-muscle meat.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fgf
                                                                                                                                                    k
                                                                                                                                                    kobetobiko Jan 10, 2008 06:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Hi fgf,

                                                                                                                                                    I can understand that because the way Cantonese (to be more precise, Hong Kong chefs) cut their brisket is very different from American (say Kat'z). They tend to cut it with a large piece of "membrane" (white when raw) attached to the cartilages and sometimes with more meat or less meat depending on the chef. This is why you did not feel like eating muscle. You were probably having the "membrane" pieces

                                                                                                                                                    ScoopG, trust me on the translation. Your dictionary from Taiwan is not going to work for this menu. This menu is a very typical Cantonese (again, to be precise, Hong Kong) restaurant menu. It is the brisket that they were referring to. "Niunan" in Cantonese brisket. When you say "xiong rou", that's a totally different cut of meat in Hong Kong, not even remotely closely to brisket in Cantonese.

                                                                                                                                        3. p
                                                                                                                                          Pan Jan 6, 2008 08:32 PM

                                                                                                                                          I gave this place two tries and probably won't go back. Don't get me wrong; it was fine, but not that special, and more expensive than places I like better, like Congee Village and New York Noodletown. For the record, I had the following dishes on the two trips:

                                                                                                                                          Braised Bean Curd w. black mushroom (very good black mushrooms, otherwise mostly a textural dish and not very special to me)

                                                                                                                                          Shredded duck with black mushrooms in casserole (again, very tasty black mushrooms, but otherwise, pretty ordinary)

                                                                                                                                          The rice baked with shrimp, lap cheong, etc., in a box (very good)

                                                                                                                                          Roast Chicken w. fresh garlic, I think (if this was the one with the many large pieces of delicious roast garlic)

                                                                                                                                          Yu Choy with oyster sauce (typical preparation)

                                                                                                                                          Pan Fried Noodle with roast pork, roast duck, and Chinese broccoli in black bean sauce (off menu; the roast pork had the sweet red border I remember from the times when I used to get roast pork regularly at a restaurant in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia in the 1970s, so I really enjoyed this dish)

                                                                                                                                          There may have been something else, but I truly don't remember, and my visits were in the last couple of weeks of 2007.

                                                                                                                                          Sorry, I'm just not sold. I have to contrast the last takeout dinner from Congee Village with my two eat-in dinners at Amazing 66. Every dish was delicious. To me, it's just better. And it's cheaper!

                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pan
                                                                                                                                            michele cindy Jan 7, 2008 03:48 AM

                                                                                                                                            What did you eat at Congee Village?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: michele cindy
                                                                                                                                              eternalX Jan 7, 2008 05:51 AM

                                                                                                                                              I'm curious too. I like Congee Village, but found the Chow Fun to be incredibly oily...and I'm not someone afraid of a little oil, but man, it makes my stomach grow a little angry just thinking about it again.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: eternalX
                                                                                                                                                p
                                                                                                                                                Pan Jan 20, 2008 11:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                I agree on the chow fun. It is seriously oily, as are some other dishes.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: michele cindy
                                                                                                                                                p
                                                                                                                                                Pan Jan 20, 2008 11:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                I don't remember exactly what I got that time, because I've gotten several takeout meals from them lately, so I may be conflating some things from two meals, but as I recall, the dishes included the Sha Cha Beef, some kind of congee for my father, Chicken with Garlic Sauce, Eggplants Vegetables with Bean Curd or Sauteed Bean Curd mixed Vegetables, Assorted Vegetables Buddhist Style, and Sauteed Razor Clam with Black Bean Sauce.

                                                                                                                                              3. re: Pan
                                                                                                                                                bigjeff Jan 9, 2008 06:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                last time I ate a large meal at congee village I ended up with the worst MSG headache/toothache of my life; that sweet metal taste that I couldn't get out of my mouth for the rest of the night. and, my experience is not isolated when I asked others.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: bigjeff
                                                                                                                                                  p
                                                                                                                                                  Pan Jan 20, 2008 11:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Sorry about that. MSG doesn't have any effect on me (or, evidently, my parents and most of my other dining partners).

                                                                                                                                              4. s
                                                                                                                                                suprakent Jan 10, 2008 07:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                Brian thank you again for posting this thread and recommending the duck with 8 precious ingredients. Yersterday was my second time back this week and finally had a chance to order it and it was excellent. I also ordered the baked chilean sea bass and it was cooked perfectly.

                                                                                                                                                1. d
                                                                                                                                                  Dave Feldman Jan 19, 2008 10:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I want to thank Brian and all the posters on this thread.

                                                                                                                                                  Three friends and I had an extraordinary meal at Amazing 66 tonight.

                                                                                                                                                  We ordered:

                                                                                                                                                  Hot and sour soup
                                                                                                                                                  Pumpkin with short ribs
                                                                                                                                                  Roast Chicken with Preserved Vegetables
                                                                                                                                                  Braised duck with mushrooms
                                                                                                                                                  Chinese broccoli
                                                                                                                                                  Pork chops with garlic and salt & pepper.

                                                                                                                                                  The biggest hits were the pumpkin and roast chicken with preserved vegetables.

                                                                                                                                                  The pumpkin wasn't a pumpkin at all, but a squash, which I'm pretty sure was a Kobocha. The "pumpkin" was perfectly cooked, but the revelation for me was the brown sauce/gravy, as good as any I've ever had for a similar dish.

                                                                                                                                                  The chicken was pleasingly underdone. Part of the chicken was clearly fried, though (deliciously so). Is this normal?

                                                                                                                                                  The pork chops were a hit, too, and frankly I could have been satisfied with just eating the crumbs of fried garlic, s&p, and jalopenos.

                                                                                                                                                  Nothing was overcooked and the consistency of the kitchen was all the more impressive considering that we were there at an overstuffed Saturday night.

                                                                                                                                                  1. l
                                                                                                                                                    Lau Jan 21, 2008 08:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                    We went there again tonight specifically to try the roasted chicken as it has been favorably compared to canton gourmet in flushing, which i think was excellent. Overall, came away again very positively and I do think this is probably the best cantonese restaurant in manhattan right now. We sat downstairs, which was kind of annoying b/c I think we had the B team as far as the waitstaff; they messed up a couple of things on our order and kept talking to us in cantonese even though i told him i cant understand it, then half the time they couldn't understand what we were saying in english, so we'd tell them in mandarin and they'd still mess up, but whatever I think its a great restaurant and I'm not a stickler for service in chinese restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                    Here's what we got:
                                                                                                                                                    - Roasted chicken with garlic: we actually ordered the roasted chicken with preserved vegetable, but they gave us the wrong dish. It was very good and i would say is comparable to canton gourmet (which is awesome b/c its so much closer). I'd say the skin is just as crispy and flavorful although I thought the meat was slightly drier, but it was still very good...overall a great dish and agree with the consensus in the post that it is a must order
                                                                                                                                                    - tofu and assorted seafood casserole: another solid entree; fried tofu with scallops, shrimp, squid, fish cake and snow peas served in a light brown gravy. The key was that the sauce was not a starchy mess that alot of places make, it was light and very nice. They do not skimp at all on seafood as it was all fresh and big...overall another excellent dish, would definitely order again
                                                                                                                                                    - fried butterfish in black bean sauce - this is pretty mediocre, it was small, whole butterfish piled on top of each other covered in a very sticky black bean sauce. The butterfish itself was okay, not overcooked, but slightly fishy. The sauce was kind of lacking and didn't really have much flavor. I would avoid ordering this.
                                                                                                                                                    - baked stuffed crabshell appetizer - this was interesting and different, it was crab shells stuffed with a mixture of crab, diced mushrooms and sometype of semi-creamy cheesy sauce and then baked like a twice baked potatoe. I've had something like this in HK although that was much better, but this was pretty good and i'd probably get it again.

                                                                                                                                                    I saw another table with the short ribs in pumpkin...i need to order that it looks sooo good. People need to try this restaurant as it's in its hey day right now and is really good

                                                                                                                                                    1. i
                                                                                                                                                      issy Feb 7, 2008 10:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Appreciate your post and the excellent coverage on dishes! Any idea if they are BYOB?

                                                                                                                                                      1. w
                                                                                                                                                        wetsons Feb 10, 2008 05:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Well I went to Amazing 66 today and was greatly underwellemd.
                                                                                                                                                        Nothing there was exceptionally bad, but not at all what I expect when eating in Chinatown.
                                                                                                                                                        I ordered the following:

                                                                                                                                                        Fried dumplings- bad texture and mediocre flavor with a very poor dipping sauce.
                                                                                                                                                        The sauce tasted like some pre-mixed mass produced salty mess from a bottle rather than mixed at the restaurant. I suspect that the dumpling were not made there either.
                                                                                                                                                        They reminded me of the supermarket frozen variety.

                                                                                                                                                        Sautéed Chinese Broccoli- Way too much garlic . overpowered the flavor of the broccoli, no presentation it was sloppily thrown about in an inappropriate serving dish.

                                                                                                                                                        Beef Chow fun "Dry"
                                                                                                                                                        It came out swimming in gravy with Yuck- canned baby corns, carrots and American broccoli although the noodle texture was ok. and flavor was not bad for American Broccoli, but it is not what I come to Chinatown for.

                                                                                                                                                        Sizzling Platter chicken with black bean sauce. This was the last dish to come out.
                                                                                                                                                        They either forgot to heat the metal platter or the dish was sitting back for too long and lost all of its sizzle.

                                                                                                                                                        The meats in the two dishes had no consistency , The sizes were of the cuts were all over the place .

                                                                                                                                                        We sat in the first table near the front window and I stared longingly at Big Wong across the street wishing we were dining there.

                                                                                                                                                        We took most of our food to go and went to another restaurant and had a great Malaysian dinner.

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: wetsons
                                                                                                                                                          r
                                                                                                                                                          Renguin Feb 10, 2008 06:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                          chinese restaurants all have one thing in common -- they all have extensive menus but only a handfull of dishes are their specialties. after having just been there, nothing your ordered was on their specialties page, so its usually just going to be okay. the stuff i had there was all pretty good, though, i'd go back. i never order any kind of dumpling anywhere except for places that specilize in dumpings, they're usually mediocre.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wetsons
                                                                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                                                                            Lau Feb 10, 2008 07:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                            agree with renquin's post...all of the dishes you ordered are fairly generic americanized dishes...there are a great number of posts outlining the dishes that excel at Amazing 66, you should definitely try again with the advice of the above posts

                                                                                                                                                          2. r
                                                                                                                                                            racer x Apr 1, 2008 06:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Two of us had a most un-amazing experience for a late dinner here last night (Sun). All the tables upstairs were full when we arrived shortly after 9pm, but we were seated after a wait of only 5 minutes. We ordered the duck with 8 precious and roast chicken with preserved vegetable. As many other hounds have reported, the chicken dish was pretty good. On the other hand, the duck, which came in a clear sauce, was very bland, devoid of almost any flavor, including salt. The only saving grace was the duck fat, which lent a little flavor to the duck. My friend was impressed that they can manage to serve so much food with the duck dish at so low a price, but I'd rather pay twice the price and actually be able to taste something.

                                                                                                                                                            The main problem, though, was the service. Having read this thread, we knew that there are several roast chicken dishes available, and I was trying to order (pointing to it in the menu) the roast chicken with garlic listed under chef's recommendations - I think the number on the menu was something like K8. The waiter, however, had other plans. He said I wanted the roast chicken with garlic sauce listed under chicken - I think the number was A3. I said, no, I wanted the other one. He said that that one is chicken with Chinese vegetable (which is listed as a separate choice under chef's recommendations). We went through this 3 or 4 times, with me asking several times what the difference between the two was and not getting an answer. I finally just said ok (sometimes it doesn't hurt to submit to the server's recommendations), and he took the menu and nodded his head.

                                                                                                                                                            After the food came, we were left alone (I'm trying to avoid using the word ignored since it's a very busy Chinatown restaurant and there was a large birthday party group sitting next to us), until we were about 3/4 done and the other tables began to clear. Then the waiter asked us how things were; we said everything was fine but requested more rice. The waiter acknowledged our request, then proceeded to ignore it, passing our table several times, casually talking with the host or manager, etc.

                                                                                                                                                            This would be an otherwise forgivable, minor slip, except that when we subsequently requested the check, we got the same treatment. (The restaurant was much less busy at this point.) We had to ask for it 3 times - on the third time we asked a different staff member and it was brought to us shortly afterward.

                                                                                                                                                            While we were waiting for the check, I went to the bathroom; my friend asked what one of the items in the duck dish was (the serrated tubular seafood item, I think it was squid). Naturally, the same waiter said he didn't know. Again, this would be a forgivable slip, except that the correct answer is, 'I don't know, let me find out for you.'

                                                                                                                                                            So all-in-all, a very disappointing experience. The kitchen of even the best restaurants can occasionally have a bad day, but there is really no excuse for service like this. Neither of us would be inclined to return.

                                                                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: racer x
                                                                                                                                                              Brian S Apr 1, 2008 11:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                              I'm sorry about the service! I've never experienced that. The duck dish is one of my favorites but the sauce should be brown (and flavorful) not clear. Once they goofed and served it clear and it was flavorless. I think they didn't mix it properly and the clear stuff is pure oil.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Brian S
                                                                                                                                                                cmballa Apr 15, 2008 08:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Why always skirt the issue ?

                                                                                                                                                                It's quite evident, from probably a dozen posts in this thread, that they dilute sauces for gringos (and ignore them, and add mysterious service charges to their bills).

                                                                                                                                                                I don't eat here anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cmballa
                                                                                                                                                                  Brian S Apr 15, 2008 08:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  They've never done this to me, and I find it hard to believe they'd deliberately do it to anyone simply because they want customers to come back. There are some restaurants (quite a few in NYC) which would survive and prosper even if no one not from their nationality ever walked through the door... but Amazing 66 isn't one of them.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Brian S
                                                                                                                                                                    cmballa Apr 15, 2008 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    They do very well with Chinese folks alone, why would they want to attract more business from white people, who on the whole (you, of course, excluded) understand very little of their cuisine ? (I imagine their General Tso's is artfully prepared.) I admire your kindness, your desire to learn a foreign language, and your ceaseless quest to educate us of the hidden ethnic jewels of our city, but you have some seriously rose-colored lenses on, sir.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cmballa
                                                                                                                                                                      l
                                                                                                                                                                      Lau Apr 15, 2008 12:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      im probably somewhere in between the opinions of Brian S and cmballa

                                                                                                                                                                      Service at Amazing 66 - I think its super hit or miss, I've had it be spot on and I've had it terrible where they messed up orders, took forever etc...I'm chinese (although American) and I'm not sure it matters one way or the other...even speaking with them in chinese didnt help when the service was bad

                                                                                                                                                                      Food - I agree that some chinese places definitely water down stuff for non-chinese. However, I think they do that to attempt to accomodate the average american taste. While I understand the majority of people on this board prefer authentic chinese food, I would say that a lot of americans probably don't prefer it. For example, I have alot of friends at home and here who would not want real chinese food b/c it'd be "weird" or "too spicy" etc. Nothing wrong with that, just a differential in taste. I think alot of the chinese places think if they go serve regular Americans more authentic chinese food they are going to complain about it.

                                                                                                                                                                      Similar things happen in many ethnic places (thai, indian etc etc) and I think its just the way it is

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: cmballa
                                                                                                                                                                    vvvindaloo Apr 15, 2008 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Also, no one ever addressed the question upthread regarding the supplementation of duck meat with mock meat. I am interested to hear more about others' experiences/insight on this. I would really like to take my parents to Amazing 66, but if either of them even suspects that they've been served mock anything, they will freak out. I am not saying it is necessarily wrong to prepare the dish this way (I do not cook Chinese food, myself), but I would think that the dish should be described as such (especially if one is ordering off the "gringo" menu!)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: vvvindaloo
                                                                                                                                                                      cmballa Apr 15, 2008 09:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah that was me — my duck was fortified with mock duck.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cmballa
                                                                                                                                                                        vvvindaloo Apr 15, 2008 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        That would be a total deal-breaker for my parents (I wouldn't really enjoy it, either, as I am not a big fan of tofu or soy-based fake meat, at all). I just wonder if this is a traditional preparation method for this dish, or if it is a practice reserved to stiff non-regulars or non-Chinese patrons (not that I have any other reason to suspect they would do this). I have a bad memory from over ten years ago, where I was served a "chicken" dish that consisted entirely of chicken-colored slices of gelatin. I still cringe when I think about it.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: vvvindaloo
                                                                                                                                                                          Brian S Apr 15, 2008 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          I've never had mock duck meat, and they do give a generous portion of real duck meat. What they do have in the eight treasure duck, in among the shrimp, scallops, etc, is something I've seen in seafood dishes in other places, for instance the seafood over wide noodles at Noodletown and sometimes in seafood casseroles: it's a rectangle about one inch wide and two inches long, and very thin, light brown so it looks like duck, but really some form of pressed seafood. It has a pleasantly fishy taste.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Brian S
                                                                                                                                                                            vvvindaloo Apr 15, 2008 05:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for your input, Brian S. It's always appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: vvvindaloo
                                                                                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                                                                                        steakrules85 Apr 18, 2008 11:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        What the heck is "MOCK MEAT"?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: steakrules85
                                                                                                                                                                          Travels4Food Apr 19, 2008 03:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Is that a serious question? It's generally a chewy, quite neutral-tasting wheat gluten product, sometimes called seitan. I like it a lot and it takes on the flavor of whatever sauce in which it's cooked.

                                                                                                                                                                2. oonth Apr 2, 2008 04:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  I was there late Feb for my birthday dinner. Had just spent time quite a bit of time in Hong Kong so had Cantonese food on my palate.

                                                                                                                                                                  Overall was impressed. Between 4 of us we ordered honey roast quails, steamed dumplings, crab and fish maw soup, pumpkin w/ short ribs, roast chicken w/ preserved vegetables and pea shoots w/ dried scallop. The last 2 dishes never arrived which was actually a blessed relief as we were already full and had plenty of food left uneaten, the [large size $35] pumpkin dish is massive.

                                                                                                                                                                  Quails were the star of the show (and a real bargain, $3 each I seem to remember); crab/fish maw soup was excellent too. Steamed dumplings were pretty generic and pretty mediocre. Pumpkin itself was wonderful flavour and texture and the sauce was a revelation, we found the meat chewy and a little undercooked, seems strange that a dish that previously had to be ordered in advance is now available for order on the spot, we just felt that the meat needed a longer period of slow cooking. Washed down with a few Tsing Taos, a nice, unfussy and well priced birthday dinner, just what I was looking for.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Brian S Apr 15, 2008 08:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Just a note on how perspective changes. I'm currently in Tulsa... and I think if Amazing 66 were here in Oklahoma, even its worst enemies would agree it's the best Chinese restaurant within a thousand miles (except for Dallas and its suburb of Garland, and I'm not even sure of that since Garland is known for Vietnamese, and its Chinese offerings include places like "Amigo King China Buffet").

                                                                                                                                                                    What a gem Chinatown and Flushing are... it's easy for you to take it for granted, until you spend time somewhere else. (Of course on the other side of the coin, I know people who routinely eat corn that top NY chefs would fight to serve.)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. a
                                                                                                                                                                      Andrew Hyatt Apr 16, 2008 08:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      I tried this place a few months ago, and was not blown away. It was a decent Cantonese place, but really nothing special. That said, Cantonese food in general is not all that well done in New York (compared to, say, California). Of the dishes I had, I enjoyed a lamb casserole with tofu skin the best.

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Andrew Hyatt
                                                                                                                                                                        d
                                                                                                                                                                        dec111 Apr 17, 2008 01:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        As to the "mock duck" that people think they were duped with. The gluten is not "mock duck" , it is gluten added to many dishes including 8 treasure duck, or duck with monk's delight. Western vegetarians know it as "mock meat" but the Chinese, even non-vegetarians, have been eating it as part of meat dishes for centuries.
                                                                                                                                                                        Just to add my 2 cents on the above posts:
                                                                                                                                                                        for the people who complain about the dumplings, why are you ordering them in a Cantonese dinner restaurant? This is not a specialty.

                                                                                                                                                                        Kind of like going to Northern Italian restaurant and ordering red sauce marinara over spaghetti. You might by chance get a good dish, but why bother? If you want dim sum, go to a dim sum restaurant.. Soup dumplings, go to a shanghai restaurant.
                                                                                                                                                                        You are best ordering from the house specialities column and opening your minds. If you go there and order beef with broccoli, stay home and order from your local takeout. Cheaper and you won't be disappointed.
                                                                                                                                                                        It reminds me of an occasion at the old Phoenix Garden (known for their salt and pepper shrimp among other things) where this group of tourists came in and ordered beef with broccoli, ribs and other pedestrian dishes. The young energetic waiter said "you can order that anywhere, order our specialties" and proceeded to tell them a lavish description of what the specialties were. Well, they wrinkled their faces in disgust and proceeded to order beef with broccoli, etc, being quite rude to the waiter. The next group of tourist was steered to beef and broccoli...
                                                                                                                                                                        If you ask the waiter what they recommend and preface it with that you eat anything, you might get some honest recommendations. Try it.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dec111
                                                                                                                                                                          r
                                                                                                                                                                          racer x Apr 17, 2008 05:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, it's probably a good idea to find out what a kitchen does best and order that if you are expecting an outstanding meal.

                                                                                                                                                                          On the other hand, I don't think it's fair to berate someone for finding fault with any dish that a restaurant serves. Just as a customer shouldn't order a dish that is known to be spicy if he or she doesn't like spicy food, a restaurant shouldn't offer a dish (ie, list it on the menu) if they can't prepare a reasonably satisfying version of it. (Which is not to say that the version offered has to meet the customer's particular notion of authenticity, however.)

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Travels4Food Apr 19, 2008 03:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Brian (and others who've posted on this restaurant) -

                                                                                                                                                                        I ADORE your posts and was really excited to try this place, but I have to say I went last night and had one of the most underwhelming Chinese meals I've ever had in Chinatown.

                                                                                                                                                                        We were lucky to get there early (around 6pm) so we were seated immediately, and we were almost the only white folks in the place, which I found encouraging. The space was attractive, a step up in decor from many of my favorite C-town restaurants. We were treated nicely, if perfunctorily.

                                                                                                                                                                        We ordered the steamed juicy pork buns (which I assumed were xiao long bao but alas, I neither read nor speak Chinese) off the appetizer list, pea shoots with garlic, braised duck with buddha's delight, and the salt and pepper prawns.

                                                                                                                                                                        Everything came at once: everything. The pea shoots first, then the shrimp, then the buns, then the duck, all together on our table (luckily they'd given us a table for four). The buns had an incredibly thick wrapper, much more like a dumpling wrapper though shaped like soup dumplings and in the bamboo steamer. They came with a truly delicious vinegar but one that had no ginger julienned into it. Their flavor was pleasant, but there was little or no soup, they did not serve them with soup spoons and looked at me oddly when I asked for them.

                                                                                                                                                                        The pea shoots - my favorite green vegetable for which I will pay the always-high price - were astonishingly bland and much bigger and less tender than those to which I've become accustomed. Very green and in their garlicky broth, but not flavorful in the least.

                                                                                                                                                                        The prawns, at least, were fantastic: fresh out of the fryer with bits of fried garlic, shallots, and fresh jalapeno slices scattered about. They were huge, fried in-shell (a little harder to eat but much more authentic and flavorful), and ridiculously fresh. The best part of the meal, by far. There were easily 10 of them piled on the plate, surrounded by shrimp chips of varying color.

                                                                                                                                                                        The duck was probably the biggest disappointment. Someone on this board asked for non-gloppy chinese food, and this was reminiscent of high-school chow mein, the sauce was so corn-starchy-gloppy. It had a decent, if generic flavor, and the duck was lost under the unctuous sauce. The mushrooms and bamboo shoots that made up the "Buddha's Delight" part were tasty, but very likely canned.

                                                                                                                                                                        Our bill, with tip, came to $67. We got a very juicy orange and rather stale, chewy fortune cookies with the check. With all the delight that Chinatown has offered me elsewhere, I will not return to this restaurant. I was bummed.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Travels4Food
                                                                                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                                                                                          suprakent May 12, 2008 06:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Went back to Amazing 66 and had another great meal. Ordered the shrimp with walnuts which was very good as usual. Also ordered the T-bone steak which was pretty thick compared to what other chinese restaurants will serve. The highlight of the night was the baked chilean sea bass which I have had several times and must say it is excellent every time. While I was there I was seated next to the manager/owners and they were trying some new dishes that they were planning to put on the menu. They gave me a taste of rice cooked in a clay pot. In it was chinese sausage, chicken, mushrooms and some frog legs. The flavor of the ingredients together was matched very well. This is an order that could feed a family so they said the kitchen would make it if you call in advance.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. angularbanjo Apr 23, 2009 10:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm planning on taking the fam here tonight....will I have to ask for the "other" menu or is there just one?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. angularbanjo Apr 28, 2009 12:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            We went. We ate. It was great.

                                                                                                                                                                            Service, however, was amazingly pushy. We were asked 5 times in the first three minutes if we were ready to order. Granted it was busy but give us a chance to read the menu for chrissakes!

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: angularbanjo
                                                                                                                                                                              d
                                                                                                                                                                              Dave Feldman Apr 28, 2009 09:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Were you upstairs? I've found the atmosphere more relaxed, downright fun, actually, downstairs.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. m
                                                                                                                                                                              mimi222 Oct 5, 2010 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              I went to Amazing66 yesterday. I had the pork belly with pickled veggies which was absolutely delicious . I also had the winter melon soup which was clean tasting and light but a little bland. I took it home and warmed it up with lots of soy sauce and extra egg in it. I will definitely go back to try the casseroles.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                shrimpbird Jan 24, 2013 05:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Thinking of going to Amazing 66 on Saturday for lunch - for the crispy chicken with preserved vegetables and the double rice prawn dish - has anyone been lately? I have not been for a few years and don't want to schlep my friend in the cold if it's gone downhill - I'm curious in general but mostly about these specific dishes, which used to be delicious. TIA.

                                                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shrimpbird
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                                                                                                                                                                                  Lau Jan 24, 2013 06:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  i heard the chef had changed and it had gone downhill, but i havent been there in a while either so i dont want to lead you astray

                                                                                                                                                                                  the crispy chicken with preserved vegetable at sing kee is pretty good fyi, its ex-chefs from danny ng's...i didnt think the food was as good as danny ng's but it mightve just been my meal bc my friend who has good taste in cantonese food said he thinks the food is the same

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                                                                                                                                                                                    mimi222 Jan 30, 2013 07:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Lau, your suggestions are highly appreciated, I think you should post this in the right places- the danny ng thread and the sing kee thread. or open new ones if they don't exist.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Lau Jan 30, 2013 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      well i wrote the danny ng review, so this is all in the danny ng review already as they were known for that dish (although you know danny ng's is closed right?)

                                                                                                                                                                                      i never wrote a review on sing kee and my one visit wasn't worth writing about except the crispy chicken with preserved vegetables. I generally don't write reviews on just so so meals, no reason to trash the restaurant and i have a massive backlog of places that are worth writing about. although i do want to go back bc i have a friend who said it is good so maybe i just ordered wrong or something

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Chandavkl Jan 30, 2013 10:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Plus Sing Kee seems to have lifted the Danny Ng menu largely intact.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Lau Jan 30, 2013 10:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          the chefs at sing kee are from danny ng's

                                                                                                                                                                                          the menu is very similar, but not exactly the same

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Lau
                                                                                                                                                                                            Chandavkl Jan 30, 2013 03:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Also interesting that on the duplicate items the prices were mostly the same, too.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          mimi222 Jan 31, 2013 06:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I see..makes sense. I love your reviews but I'm always worried I miss out on some info if things are posted in the wrong thread ...

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Lau Jan 31, 2013 07:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            well that makes sense too. i generally try to make my posts fairly comprehensive so that they are meant s a guide as to exactly what to order at a restaurant with pics etc, so if you read nothing else you'd be ok, but obviously other posters add valuable tips in the thread as well

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