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crowne palace, middltwn or marlboro?

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which is the better CP, middletown or marlboro? no website, anyone know if its BYOB?
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  1. Marlboro Crown Palace is my go-to dim sum place. I've never ordered off of the regular menu and have heard that the regular menu items are not particularly good. It is not BYOB. I haven't been to the Middletown location.

    1. Since I live in Marlboro, I can respond with experience. Crown Palace is BY FAR the best chinese food in the area. They have the best hot and sour soup and lo mein/chow fun dishes. I would also reccomend the crabs in black bean sauce or the peppercorn shrimp. Another appetizer that is good is the chicken in foil. Everything is extremely tasty. I dont think I have ever had a bad dish from there. We also order chinses food probably twice a week every week for 15 years. lol

      1. I've commented about this before on this board. The Marlboro location is 5 minutes from our house. We tried it not long after they first opened, and the dishes we had were poor to mediocre. One was so bad that we voiced our concerns to a manager. We received an extremely nasty response. Needless to say, we've never been back. That experience was with the regular menu. But even if the dim sum were the best in the entire universe, I would never consider going there again.

        1 Reply
        1. re: RGR

          ARGH! RGR, you are my source for all food information and now I find that the chinese which will also be 5 minutes from my house is mediocre? Say it isn't so!

        2. hmmmm, anyone for Middletown comments? thanks hounds.

          1 Reply
          1. re: nyebaby37

            I've been to the Middletown location on many occassions. My favorite food outing is Sunday Dim Sum there. I've always had excellent meals and like the fact that they also have a dedicated menu with the stuff that we Americans wouldn't normally eat.
            They have excellent braised dishes as well. I recommend the place highly. Yes, they have a liquor license.

          2. I have always found the Middletown location to be consistantly good. Not nearly outstanding, like Westlake, but always good. I second their braised dishes and for some reason I like their fried rice a lot too. One more thing, if you get there early enough in the day, go next door and buy some of the best roast meats outside nyc chinatown.

            I only go to the other location (which is much closer to my house) when dragged there by friends. Odd how two places supposedly the same can be soooo different.

            2 Replies
            1. re: seal

              Where is West Lake???

              1. re: deepdish4

                West Lake Chinese Restaurant
                1016 State Route 34
                Matawan, NJ 07747
                (732) 290-2988

            2. I've never been to the Marlboro location. I live near the Middletown location. I've had their dim sum a couple times in the past year. I found it decent, nothing special. West Lake is so much better.
              I agree with Seal... the Asian grocery next to Middletown Crowne Palace is worth a visit. Great assortment of asian greens, good bbq ribs at the meat counter, nice little housewares section in the back. I am addicted to the "triangle cake" from their pastry counter.

              1. Sorry, I do not care for either location. re: Middletown, one exp. that immediately comes to mind are seafood dinners..big price tag, but lacking quality shellfish/seafood. Ironically, I shop next door at the market almost weekly and always have a good experience.

                I can recommend: Hunan House in Middletown
                655 State Route 35

                2 Replies
                1. re: HillJ

                  HillJ -- What do you recommend at Hunan House? I live in the area. Is the take-out good?

                  1. re: val ann c

                    val ann - a few of my favs include the prawns with vegetables, chicken corn soup (all their soups are terrific), Buddist delight, chicken three-way, etc.

                    Take out is good, dining in is better.

                2. I only go to the Marlboro location for dim sum, which I have found to be better than the Middletown location. The authentic chinese dish menu at the middletown location for lunch is pretty good. Last time I went I had beef with bittermelon and some kind of roasted chicken (forgot what kind) plus some chinese vegetables.

                  1. We go to the Middletown location about 2 times a month. Excllent food and service, far superior to Marlboro. Try the Dungeness Crab with black bean sauce, or they will also make you SINGAPORE CRAB (not on the menu) ask the girl at desk. Excellent salt and pepper shrimp, clams with black bean sauce, and even Peking Duck is very good.

                    1. Thanks deepdish ... your post now has me jonesing for some chili crabs ......

                      1. My vote is Marlboro for regular food, Middletown for Dim Sum. Although West Lake has superior chinese food.

                        I live in Matawan, so both are essentially equidistant.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: aacharya

                          I finally made it out to Crown Palace today. It seems that I've been on a tour of sorts of Chinese restaurants in the area. I wish I had reread this post before going because I forgot to order the Singapore Chili Crab instead I ordered another preparation (I'll tell you about that later). Anyway, I was on my way up Route 18 this evening with my boys and remembered that the Marlboro location was right off the highway. As Mrs. Bgut1 doesn't eat Chinese food my boys are very willing participants. We arrived at about 6PM and while the restaurant was half full it was starting to fill up as we walked in the door. I would describe the decor as upscale Chinese (such that I was feeling a little self conscious in my shorts and sandals). Noticing the beautiful waterfall and garden, I asked that we be seated along the window to keep my kids amused and occupied. Thankfully my request was accommodated. When seated we were presented with the typical "Americanized" menu and the obligatory fired noodles with duck sauce and mustard. While my kids were happy with the amuse I was disappointed not to receive the peanuts and what looked to be pickled cabbage given to the Chinese patrons. I asked for the authentic menu and was thankfully presented with a full English version of their real Chinese menu. Here is what I ordered: pork dumplings (typical take out fare - doughy and blah), wonton and pork soup for the kids (nothing special but did the trick), a seafood chowder (it looked very unappetizing - consisting of a viscous clear liquid with white suspended matter of some sort and bits of shell fish - looks were deceiving as it was excellent), beef lo mien for the kids (standard fare - not bad - kids were happy), a whole Peking duck (disappointed that they didn't have a half order but I still wanted to try and brought most of it home - very good with crispy skin - one of the better preparations I've ever had), Dungeness Crab with house special sauce (very good - whole live crab brought to table prior to being cooked - kids got a kick out of it - delivered hacked up coated in white sauce containing ginger and onions - messy but great - a true winner - will get the chili crabs next). The kids and I took a nice stroll in the garden afterwards. A very nice meal with the added bonus of the gardens, The only caveat is the price. While I did buy a bit more food then needed, the cost with gratuity was $110 (including a glass of wine and two soft drinks). A little much but still worth it. I'll be going back and you should too especially if you like Dungeness Crab. Cheers.

                          1. re: bgut1

                            Good report, as usual, b.! Glad you liked it. However, if you scroll up and re-read my post, I've explained why Crown Palace will never again see a penny of our money!

                            1. re: RGR

                              RGR - I'm sorry about your bad experience. It must have been a horrible experience for you to not have returned. I did find the service to be a bit pushy and uinfriendly but I seem to expect that in Chinese restaurants of late. A sad but true state of affairs. If I knew you were boycotting the place I wouldn't have gone :).

                              1. re: bgut1

                                b., That's very sweet of you. :-) But, honestly, just because we are boycotting, I don't think anyone else, including friends, should do the same.

                                While I eat Chinese food, it's not my favorite though Mr. R. loves it. Our daughter was with us at that Crown Palace dinner, and we all thought the food was nothing special. But there was one dish in particular that was so horrible, we felt we should complain. And we were shocked at how thoroughly nasty the manager's attitude was. If he had been the least little bit pleasant and conciliatory, taken the dish off our bill, etc., we might have been willing to give CP another try. Instead, his response went something like, "Nothing wrong with that dish. Like it or lump it!"

                                In any event, I prefer Thai food, so I can survive very nicely without Crown Palace, thank you very much! lol However, if you and your boys enjoyed it, you should go back.

                                1. re: RGR

                                  What about the Ruby Palace, in the Middletown/Holmdel area on Rt. 35--I've had good meals and experiences there, especially with their Hunan offerings. It's in a similar area and the food is far fresher and far less Americanized than what the Crowne Palace seems to serve.

                                  1. re: veganish

                                    I'm Chinese, so I should know...Ruby Palace is extremely Americanized, and the food there isn't too good.

                            2. re: bgut1

                              Just wondering what they charge for the dungeness crabs

                          2. Marlboro CP is where i always get my chinese food. The food must be better than the one in Middletown

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: DH23

                              We only go to CP in Marlboro for the Dim Sum Buffett on Sat & Sun 11-2pm......

                              Wang Sushi Asian Fusion restaurant is our new favorite in Toms River YUMMY!

                              1. re: Tapas52

                                I have always liked the marlboro location

                            2. Had two dinners recently at Crown Palace - Marlboro.
                              I am from Hong Kong and recently had a newborn son and I needed to to host a "Welcome Newborn" party for about 40 people. The 2 Chinese restaurants in the area that I know of and are suitable for this occasion are Sunny Palace and Crown.
                              I have used Sunny Palace in the past and they always do a fine job. However, they were all booked on the date I want so I went with Crown Palace this time.
                              I have often go to crown palace for dim sum and always thought they are okay. Never really have dinner there until recently.
                              I had to drop off a deposit for the banquet a couple weeks ago, so I had dinner there along with my family. The food and service were both below par. First thing is that for a Chinese/Cantonese this size, they don't offer any live fish which is shocking to me. We ordered a salt and pepper pork chop and you can barely taste the salt and pepper. Overall, the dinner was quite bad. Half of the dishes were okay at best and half was bad.

                              Anyway, it was too late to switch location for my party since we sent out our invitations already, so we were hoping for best this past weekend. Well, the food actually was passable for our party. It was better than the dinner I had a couple weeks ago. The service was okay although it was weird that the first few courses (out of 10) came out and then we waited another 30 min or so before the next course. It almost seems like they don't know how to manage a banquet which again surprised me for a restaurant this size and has been doing business this long. Also, the fried rice and noodle should come out at the end but it come out mid-dinner.

                              All in all, I found Crown Palace dinner offerings no better than some of the take out place in the area; I am quite disappointed with there food and service. I think I would still go there if I have a craving for Dim Sum and don't want to take the extra 15 minutes drive to Sunny Palace or Wonder Seafood in Edison.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: yCf

                                I find the Middletown one so-so also. I've done take out there a few times. Passable, but nothing special. Others are better. And it is best to avoid seafood dishes there. Every time I've ordered one it is horribly overdone. The sealegs (at least that's what I think the crabstick really is) are always like rubber, inedible. Scallops overdone, shrimp palatable, but still overcooked. Many far better choices.

                                1. re: cantkick

                                  I live really close to the Middletown location, so that's usually where I go. I find most of it just okay, but Peking Duck was great. Moist meat, cracklings, and a nice fresh plate of cucumber & scallion to add on the pancakes. Westlake tho, is far superior!

                                  1. re: fiona501

                                    Ok as an aside to previous post, yes the market next door has some great offerings - spareribs, duck...but their frozen section has a wonderful sampling of dumplings (I can''t get enough). Some of the frozen selections are the heavy, doughy thick kind of dumpling that we're used to at myriad asian restaurants, but some of them, and I can't think of the brand, are light, thin and OMG so delicious if you prepare them well. We love them for dinner with some scrambled eggs & scallion. Simple people, simple food!

                              2. Crown Palace in Middletown has been my go-to for Chinese/American for quite some time. Lately though it has slipped quite a bit. My last visit, which was take out. The good: the bbq spare ribs were excellent. Unlike many Chinese restaurants these ribs were more like St. Louis cut ribs, with alot of meat & nice fat content. Often times spare ribs in Chinese restaurants are small with little substance, not the case - this time anyway. I also oove that dim sum is available anytime, not the Dim Sum Brunch, just the pork & waterchestnut dumplings, topped with oyster auce. I love these, and it is probably one of the main reasons I go to Crown Palace, it's not on many menus that I've seen anyway, The Bad: every thing else from practically inedible Moo Shu Porh, fishy tasting, obviously because of dirty oil. We also ordered crispy shredded beef. It was deep fried strips of beef, with a cloyingly sweet sauce. I've had this dish before, and enjoy it, just not this time. I also notice that both dished are printr=ed in red, with a little chile pepper next to them 'denotes hot & spicy' - never does, if you advertise heat, I sugest you bring it, like Thai restaurants often do. With all that said, I'll probably still go back, because when they get it right it's usually pretty good.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: LarryLg

                                  I had tried their dim sum in the weekends, they were not great and cannot really compared to places further north/Chinatown/Flushing, of course, definitely cannot compare that to dim sum I had in Hong Kong or China. On the other hand, it is one of the few places in Monmouth/Ocean county that offers dim sum. I planned to go to Bando for lunch today but the place seemed to be closed, so I headed to Crown Palace. I ordered a lunch special, it came with soup and I requested the server to give me the Chinese soup instead of the wanton/egg drop/hot and sour. The Chinese soup is really good, it was with various types of carrots and vegetables, tasted wonderful to me. I had the beef with flat noodles and sauce. The beef was tasty with the Chinese leafy vegetable(called choy sum), mushrooms and carrots. Great flavor and the sauce was good too! The lunch was $4.95 and it was 100 times better than getting Chinese takeout, which cost me the same or more…well I did not have the fortune cookie here!(I do not really care for that anyway!) By the way, my waiter was very nice and polite! Excellent service! If you ever consider having a Chinese takeout, this is a much better choice! I cannot say about their dinner since I have not eaten their dishes but for what I got today, it was a great deal!

                                  1. re: HelenB

                                    Helen, take a trip into Lincroft and try Eastern Empire. It's where Manow used to be. You won't be disappointed. Haven't had even an average meal there, and their hot and sour soup is especially good. Only complaint is their Crab Rangoons are so-so.

                                    1. re: cantkick

                                      Cantkick, will definitely try East Empire and report the experience! So Manow is gone????

                                      1. re: cantkick

                                        Cantkick, tried EE for lunch! Good recommendation!
                                        My review: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/688629

                                  2. The Marlboro CP is the better of the two and is probably some of the best Chinese you can get in that area. When I lived in Middletown for several years, my family would go to the CP there, but it really started to slip in quality over time. That, plus the service was spotty - they had a very bad habit of always screwing up or omitting whatever my wife ordered.

                                    It doesn't get much love, but to me, House of Chong in Middletown (which is also right off 35) is the better choice. Great service from a family-run business, good selection and fair prices.

                                    As for the difference between the CPs, I've always found it a bit odd. Perhaps the Chinese school presence in Marlboro insures that the CP stays on its game? Whatever the case, the food and service there are consistently better.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: cultofgiraffe

                                      I've seen the House of Chong. Do they served Americanized Chinese food or do they gear more towards authentic Chinese food?