Lobster at Zen Mei Bistro Chinatown
I love lobster and I'm always looking for specials. Usually the places in Chinatown will have specials, but will not have them for take-out. At Zen Mei Bistro they not only have 9.99 lobster, you can get it to go. I got one with ginger and onion, seemed a decent size, maybe 1 1/2 lbs, and it was delicious. This place also has crab for 12.99 and other specials as well. I also tried a chicken with black mushroom dish and it was also really good. The chicken was very fresh. The place is pretty dumpy but for take-out I was pleasantly surprised. Alpine, one block west of Hill.
I tried a lobster at Zen Mei maybe a year ago, and wasn't all that thrilled. It had sort of a soapy taste that didn't appeal to me. I mean, for 10 bucks, it was a great deal, and it certainly wasn't *bad*, but I probably wouldn't order it again.
I've enjoyed the congee at Zen Mei in the past. Again, nothing special, but tasty and filling.
I seem to be the only one to give them a regular plug around here. They have a nicely broad menu and do it all in a reasonably tasty manner as far as I'm concerned. Good prices, free plate of fried shrimp with $20 orders, friendly staff, grungy ambiance. What more can you ask for? This is what counts as a hidden gem as far as Chinatown is concerned.
But yeah, I still head east whenever I can for the real deal.