Recent Zong's Shanghai visit
I finally got a chance to check it out Christmas Eve. I know it's still fairly new, but Mrs. Dude and I were impressed by the cleanliness of the place and liked that it was much less divey than Joe's or Goody's in the city ever were. Service was generally excellent, though I would've appreciated a fresh teapot or at least an offer of one when I signalled that ours was empty and the waiter took it.
Xiao Long Bao were fairly tasty, and we could taste the crab compoonents. They were a bit on the small side, and the wrappers were thicker than I prefer. Best way was to bite the top knot off and discard, and then eat the rest.
As Mrs. Dude doesn't much care for real Chinese food (as opposed to neighborhood American style) since two pregnancies, so in a concession to get her to come I pre-ordered the Peking Duck for us. I would normally never order that in a Shanghai restaurant, but in this case I'm glad I did- it was excellent. I'm not a connossieur of the dish, but I would have to rank this as the second-best I've ever had, surpassed only by the one we had at Nice Restaurant, on E. Broadway Manhattan. The waiter expertly assembled 6 perfect sandwiches from the piles of ingredients, and the 2 that we ate at home the next day were still great.
We also had Lion's Head, which was very good. We had to wait quite a while for this and the dish we had next to it to come out, leading me to believe that they made it to order. Tables near us ordering gringo food got theirs very quickly, but our meal was slowly paced. The gravy was rich, and the meatballs were the consistency of fluffy-style matzah balls, just divine.
Last dish was pan-fried noodle with chicken. It wasn't my favorite rendition of the dish (also not a core competency of the restaurant, I don't believe) but was tasty and different than other versions we've had in terms of makeup.
I'll go back.
The gringo "Chinese" fare Zong's has on the menu is as good or better than most LI Chinese restaurants. Unfortunately, if they only had Shanghai selections, they'd be out of business in a hurry. Have to keep the local LI gringo clientel satiated-or else!
Have eaten here 4-5 times since the opening and this place just keeps getting better.
The Xiao Long Bao are good here. For some unknown reason though, not quite as good Shanghai Joes were, despite being prepared by the same transplanted chef from Joes. Still perfectly acceptable though, and a godsend to the barren central Nassau dining scene.
The Braised Lion's Head is a must have, definately divine, even reheated the next day. The Shredded Beef with Hot Pepper is outstanding-absolutely perfect, bursting with flavor. Also, before I forget, the plain white rice here is always excellent, sometimes even amazing.
Had a few duds here-not all the news is good, but you've got to give this place some slack since it's not a typical Chinese buffet-retread glop-house, like so many others on LI.
Anyway, we're having a great time eating our way through the entire menu here. The service has improved quite a bit as the staff adjusts to the Nassau environment, the food is always interesting, usually excellent and unavailable elsewhere-in this neck of the woods.
In my humble opinion, this is THE go-to Chinese restaurant in Nassau County 2008. Check it out. They have a website: you can google Zong's Shanghai for directions. Located in the heart of beautiful downtown Bethpage!
BTW-In Nassau County, the Orient-and to a lesser degree, Fortune Wheel-are still viable...at least for the above average Dim-Sum.
Shanghai Pavillion in Port Washington does Xiao Long Bao which in an earlier thread Jim Leff thought were killer. I promised to give them another try after saying I thought they were just so so. We've been back to Zong's many times and think they keep getting better. I think some of us expected more hearing that the chef was from Joe's. As Jim pointed out Joe's has a multitude of chefs so it's easy to see why the soup buns may be good but not as excellent as the original. Has anyone preordered the braised pork shoulder? Another dish I will compare to Joe's. I have a feeling it will hit the mark. The lion's head did. Also love the spicey beef in steamer basket.