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Canton Gourmet - excellent

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Ate at Canton Gourmet which on Prince right at 38th. Its a well-lit small restaurant that has two rooms and every table was packed with local families, there is a big red onning in front and you can't miss it.

Went with two friends one of whom had been raving about this crab dish. She'd been trying to get me to go for a while, so we decided to go to catch up. The service was pretty good and our waiter was night. We ordered the following:
- Garlic Chicken: you can't miss it b/c it has a massive picture stating that it is a house specialty (rightfully so); its a whole roasted chicken that is chopped up and then covered in fried garlic and scallions (with some oil)...the chicken is nice and tender and the fried garlic is very good. This dish was awesome
- Garlic crab - again you can't miss it b/c it has a massive picture stating that it is a house specialty' this is a crab that has been fried in a salt and pepper type batter and then covered in the same type of fried garlic and scallions although its a bit spicier. They bring the fresh crab out to you before to ask if you approve, its a really large crab and there is tons of meat. Can't say enough about this dish, its stellar although its a pain in the ass to eat just like any crab
- salty fish fried rice - pretty good, just standard fried rice with lots of salted fish in it; tastes much better once u get some chili sauce in it

Definatley recommend this restaurant as its very good and i will definately be returning. Fyi, the preparation of the crab and chicken is pretty similar so you might want to switch it up, but if you go you'll basically see that every table has one of the two or both.

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  1. I've been meaning to try this place for a long time. It is always crowded, even when every other place is empty, and that's always a good sign.

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    Canton Gourmet
    38-08 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

    3 Replies
    1. re: Brian S

      its definately worth trying...one of the better restaurants i've been to in flushing in a while

      1. re: Lau

        I've been meaning to try it for quite some time -- but it's always full!

        Have you tried Ocean Jewels yet?
        www.chowhound.com/topics/435984

        1. re: Brian S

          i've eaten there quite a bit in the past for dim sum and once for dinner...i do think that its a solid restaurant, its more of a broad cantonese seafood type restaurant vs canton gourmet, which seemed somewhat more specialist (although given i've only eaten there once)

    2. I went this afternoon. Got there at 5 PM and the place was empty. A good time to go. Two hours later you'd be standing in line in the street hoping someone would vacate a table. On your recommendation I had the chicken and I'm glad I did. It was wonderful. Half a chicken, a VERY big chicken, on a huge platter topped by a heap of minced scallions, celery, and something like potato chips. A good deal for $11. The menu has 175 dishes, not counting lunch dishes, so there's a lot to try when I go back. 20 casseroles, including such novelties as veal chop and eggplant in mini-wok. Lots of seafood too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Brian S

        glad you liked it and judging from the 175 dishes you proved my assertion of it being more specialized wrong haha....although when i was there literally every table had one or both dishes on it

        good point it was cheap now that i think about it although i dont think the crab is that cheap, want to say its like $42, although its a lot of crab and a pretty good deal for good crab

      2. After reading this thread, my wife and I went there with a friend of ours and really enjoyed it. Besides the garlic chicken, we also had the West Lake beef soup, pan-fried noodles with shrimp and veggies, salt & pepper pork, and the sauteed string beans. All was very yummy, but I particularly liked the chicken and the sauteed string beans which are served spicy and very tasty!

        1. Thank you, Lau, for this post.
          As luck would have it, I was attending a family support function at the Flushing Sheraton today, so I stole away to Canton Gourmet and got a half-order of the Garlic Chicken, plus some steamed Chinese Broccoli with garlic sauce, to go. The chicken dish is all you made it out to be - crispy skin, heavy on the salt and garlic flavorwithout going overboard, moist, silky smooth and juicy on the inside. The broccoli dish, usually an afterthought at so many places, was crispy, fresh, with the brown sauce on the slightly sweet and tangy side. Very nice. As I sat waiting for my order, the larger-than-life photos of other dishes, in particular the seafood offerings, already had me planning a return trip in my head.
          Bear in mind: the half-order of garlic chicken - clocking in at just over 10 bucks- can easily serve two. After sharing some with some co-workers, I easily have enough left for dinner. P.

          1. Well thank you for this. I am now a Flushing convert so will have to try the chicken and crab very soon.

            1. Second visit, and I liked what I got this time even better than the famous chicken. Veal chops and eggplant in mini-wok.($14) Tender, flavorful veal short ribs, the cut they call tiro de asado in S. American steakhouses and eggplant with a bit of a brown sauce, as advertised in a small wok. The veal had been marinated in a sweet flavorful sauce. And, like a surprise home run out of left field (if there is such a thing), what lifted this dish out of the good but not unusual category and deposited it firmly in the extraordinary, were tiny dried fermented and very pungent shrimp and also slices of pickled vegetables.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Brian S

                glad other dishes are good there too...need to go back soon

              2. I made my third visit tonight. Pan-fried veal chop with dried shallot was my choice, and a great choice it was. Tender toothsome veal, with a sweet marinade, in a big heap (but an aesthetically pleasing heap, they didn't just dump it on the plate) covered with crunchy fried shallots and dried shrimp, as well as lots of celery and red and green pepper slices. This was a lot like what I ordered before (the house chicken and the veal with eggplant) and indeed this sort of thing is, I think, the house specialty: delicious meat (or fish or seafood) served marinated but more or less without sauce with a heap of sauteed goodies on top. But it was different enough from the other two not to be a repetition. And the service is great too, they even remembered from my visit almost 3 weeks ago that I prefer water to tea. So Canton Gourmet is still excellent. Maybe I'll try a casserole next time.

                1. Had an excellent meal here last weekend. In fact, it was better than I remember it being. I think this restaurant was even underrated in my own head as its been a little while since i've been here. Here's what we got:
                  - garlic crab: this was so awesome, there was a ton of meat and it was sweet and tasty. The garlic batter is so good and this was just awesome.
                  - fried rice: they have this house special fried rice which have some fancy name like silver something fried rice. Anyhow, its really good, they fry it pretty dry which i really like and its got eggs, dried scallops, scallions and raisins (those golden color ones). It's really good fried rice. Definitely recommend.
                  - short ribs: we were looking for something else to order and we asked the waiter for a beef. He got us this dish (not sure if its on or off the menu) and it was short ribs (same cut as korean kalbi) in a bed of scallions, chilis, garlic, spring onions etc. It was so good, the ribs were melt in your mouth tender and the bed of various vegetables had so much flavor. Really awesome
                  - string beans: we got these just typical sauteed with ground meat. Very typical, but very good.

                  Awesome meal highly recommend coming here.

                  1 Reply
                  1. It’s nearly the end of the month, and we got in our best meal just under the wire. Every dish on the table was a keeper – 4 for 4 – with this meal being, at very least, the equal of any we’ve had at the more highly regarded Imperial Palace. Up until tonight, I’ve only hit up Canton Gourmet solo, for quick lunches, and have had the much-ballyhooed Garlic Chicken (very well executed but too salty for my tastes) more than once, and, to the best of my recollection, a jelly fish dish or two. So I was glad to finally be able to have a proper meal here.

                    The house special "famous" silver golden egg fried rice was the first dish to hit the table. I’m not in line with the opinions I’ve read stating that, at 11.95, this dish is overpriced. First off, it’s about a third bigger in size than most fried rice dishes – they give you a small mountain of the stuff. More importantly, though, it’s just downright fantastic, probably the best fried rice I’ve ever had. The golden eggs are in threads, winding their way around a mound of extremely flavorful rice that contains, amongst other items, golden raisins. The capper is the fried, dried shrimp shavings at the top, enough to add a wonderful crispness to every mouthful.

                    Next up was the fried grouper filet. I don’t know whether I’ve ever had grouper before, but these guys have a tank full of them and offer them in sautéed preparations as well. The batter was of the salt and pepper variety, with just a twinge of sweetness, and was crisp yet light enough so as not to overwhelm the tender, juicy taste of the fish. This was yet another dish that was topped off by crisp, fried garlic shavings and scallions – these guys are big on that here.

                    The Peking pork chops were the third dish to hit the table. This is generally a dish that I’m not all that gaga about, but would order CG’s version again in a second. The pork chops were crisp, full and juicy, with less saucing than is usually the case. There was also a slight sour tang that balanced the sweetness and added a depth of flavor that I’ve never before experienced with this dish. I like it better than the admittedly decent version at Imperial Palace, much better.

                    The last dish to come out, known as “house special tofu” on the menu, contained deep-fried torpedos of firm bean curd that were flecked with chunks of black mushrooms on their outer layer, covered in a thin layer of corn starch and a few chunks of tasty crab meat. It's served with fresh, steamed broccoli on the side. This, being our second deep-fried item of the night, would have been overkill if not for the different nature and flavor of the batter, which, once again, augmented the tofu and allowed it to shine.

                    What all four dishes had in common was balance. The chef has nothing to prove here. Nothing is punched forward too much or feels overdone. The ingredients were of a good, fresh quality, and their natural flavor came through beautifully. Canton Gourmet is officially on my short list now – one of those places, like Ayada or Golden Palace, that I look forward to returning to in order to try more and more dishes - such as the "live fish - served two ways" and the crab with hor- fun, one of our favorite dishes at Cantoon Gardens. The service is attentive, competent and efficient.

                    The family that sat down at the next table was, like us, comprised of a Caucasian father, an Asian (most definitely Chinese) mother and a son, probably about 7 or 8 years old. The kid kept saying that he wanted dumplings, but was wondering why they were called “dumplings.” “Why the ‘dump’?” Then, they got served a big, steaming bowl of what looked like Fish Maw soup, and the kid, slurping away, got real quiet, real fast. I know how he feels.

                    P.

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                    Imperial Palace
                    136-13 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

                    Canton Gourmet
                    38-08 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

                    Ayada
                    77-08 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373

                    Golden Palace
                    14009 Cherry Ave, Queens, NY 11355

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Polecat

                      i'm eating there today for lunch, ill write a full report

                      btw the fried garlic crab is the dish to get here and what they are famous for aside from their fried rice (which is quite good), it is prepared in a similar manner to their chicken, but the crab is better.

                      CG is my 2nd favorite chinese restaurant in NY, it's a bit different than IP, but it is also very good