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Imperial Palace - what to order?

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I'm likely going to hit Imperial Palace tomorrow night with a few people...wanted to get the best dish recs there?

I found this peter cherches blog which seems like a good start (it all looks awesome): http://petercherches.blogspot.com/200...

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  1. I definitely agree with the recommendations of the Dungeness crab with glutenous rice and fried lamb. Don't forget to come back and share your own impressions.

    1. I haven't been this year, but when I went I LOVED the casseroles! (Except that I didn't love the beef belly casserole.)

      www.chowhound.com/topics/331182

      1. So we ended up going tonight and it was very good, I'll definitely be returning.

        Place was very packed when we got there at 7:15 or so and there was a wait when we left. Surprisingly, I actually had a bit of trouble with the waiter who did not really understand the dish we wanted as it wasn't on the menu (the snow pea leaves with crab sauce), tried to explain in chinese, but that didn't really work, he seemed to not know what i was talking about...what is the dish called in chinese? (i was trying to describe it b/c i wasn't sure what it was called)

        Here's what we got:
        - Dungeness crab with glutenous rice: this was very good, the rice is sort of al dente almost which i very much liked, its got a very subtle flavor of crab and the leaf that it was cooked in with crab legs and shell baked into it. The best part of the rice is the rice that is inside the shell with all the crab eggs / innards in it, very tasty. Definitely liked this dish
        - Fish and tofu casserole: this was the surprise of the meal and the best dish of the night. Pieces of braised fish and fried tofu with mushrooms in a night light brown sauce that definitely had some oyster sauce in it. The sauce was very nice, not too starchy / gloppy, not too salty and had a great flavor with the oyster sauce. The pieces of fish were nice and tender and the tofu was excellent. Really great dish and highly recommend, might have been the best casserole ive had in NY
        - Peking duck: this was decent, but not great. It was cut really poorly, so we had to rip the pieces apart, the duck was a bit too fatty and we just thought it was ok. Served with mantou and not the pancake things
        - Sauteed snow pea leaves with three egg: we didn't really like this dish at all, it was sort of bland and definitely would not order again

        Based on the first two dishes though I'd definitely go back and I could tell by the quality of those dishes that there are many other great dishes at that place. Now that I think about it based on those two dishes this maybe the best cantonese restaurant i've been to in NY (cantonese is my all time favorite chinese cuisine, but its usually butchered at most NY places). Also, I really want that sauteed snow pea leaf with crab sauce

        5 Replies
        1. re: Lau

          Now you see why I always order the casseroles there! I'm glad you had a good meal! You should go before 7PM next time, that way you're guaranteed a seat.

          1. re: Brian S

            well we were seated immediately, its the people who got there 15-20 mins after us that got screwed...so it was good for us bad for them haha

            i know why u like casseroles haha! its just that alot the places make them poorly (overly starchy, too salty etc etc)...but when they are good, they are awesome...like i said cantonese food when done right has always been my favorite chinese cuisine

            this is definitely a good place

          2. re: Lau

            How does it compare to Canton Gourmet?

            1. re: sharonj

              well the dishes i had last night were quite a bit different than the dishes ive had at canton gourmet...ive had the garlic crab, garlic chicken and salted fish fried rice at canton gourmet...none of those dishes are similar to the dishes i had last night

              my gut feel is that imperial palace is probably better generally, but the specific dishes at canton gourmet (i.e. the garlic crab and garlic chicken) are really very good

              Brian S maybe more qualified to answer as I believe he's had some of the more regular dishes at Canton Gourmet

              1. re: Lau

                Well I haven't been there in several months, but yes I like different specific dishes. The sort of thing I like best in Canton Gourmet is delicious meat (or fish or seafood) served marinated but more or less without sauce with a heap of sauteed goodies on top. That seems to be their specialty. I've had it in 3 incarnations: veal and eggplant in a wok, veal chop with shallots, and their famous chicken. I once had a chicken casserole and it was done in a metal pan so it ended up a lot like the other dishes (but not as good). I think Imperial Palace has the best casseroles in Flushing, since casseroles is one thing Ocean Jewels doesn't do well at all... but the casseroles at Corner 28 and Jade Asian are worthy competitors.

          3. Btw does anyone know what the dish sauteed snow pea leave in crab sauce dish is called in chinese?

            im probably going back to eat here on sunday and i really want to order it, but i couldnt figure out what it was b/c i didn't see it on the menu and our waiter was kind of clueless as he didnt know what it was even when i tried to explain it in chinese (or it could be b/c my chinese is bad)

            5 Replies
            1. re: Lau

              I've always just ordered it as snow pea leaves (or shoots) with crabmeat sauce. Ever since it was recommended to me by a waiter in Chinatown in the '80s I've always found that any Hong Kong-style place that had the vegetable could prepare it this way, whether or not it's on the menu. I guess my waiter wasn't clueless.

              1. re: Peter Cherches

                Or download Peter Cherches's photo, upload it to your favorite mobile device, and show it to your waiter:

                http://www.eatingintranslation.com/20...

              2. re: Lau

                Do what I do...find it on a takeout menu, circle the calligraphs, and bring it with you. Or, remember that snow pea leaves are dow myoo, then all you need to do is figure out the calligraph for crab...easy to do via logic and elimination on Imperial Palace's menu. Obviously, that's not crab sauce per se, but he'll get the idea if you keep saying "dow myoo with" and pointing at the crab calligraph.

                1. re: Jim Leff

                  yeah see it wasn't on the menu (looked at the chinese characters as well, i can read basic chinese) and i even explained it in chinese that it was dou miao with a crab sauce although i literally just translated crab and sauce in chinese...but the guy seemed clueless although he was pretty young and may not have worked there long

                  forgot to say in original post, funny thing was that when we were leaving there was a table close to us that got the dish, they were caucasian and clearly didn't speak any chinese, but they got the right dish...go figure that our table who can speak passable chinese was too inept to get the waiter to understand haha

                  anyhow, i didnt end up getting to go back tonight as two of the people who were supposed to go couldnt (figured it was too much food for just my gf and i)...check out my report on Yipin Chinese Cuisine as we tried that place out

                  1. re: Lau

                    The Dungeness crab with glutenous rice silenced all chat at the the table. Also had the golden tofu: tofu which was fried crisp then set in a thickened broth w/ something I could use help identifying on top -- also great. Fried lamb seemed dusted with coconut, not cumin - bit odd at best.
                    The specials card in Chinese was a real challenge a lot of menu poetry.

              3. Based on last night's dinner, two more items to add to the list:

                Tai Pan Mei Fun - not on the dinner menu, but the online lunch menu listed Ta Peng Mei Fun, so I gave it a try and got a smile from the waiter when I asked if they had it. It's the mei fun dish with seafood (fresh scallops, dried squid, and maybe a few other things), egg and, most importantly, sweet pickled cabbage.

                AND -- maybe the best dish I've had all year, period-- steamed oysters in the shell with X.O. sauce. $2.50 each, those humongous oysters you only see in Chinese restaurants, each in a bath of savory, perfectly balanced X.O. sauce-flavored broth, and topped with minced crispy bacon. Everybody at the table was thrilled.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Peter Cherches

                  Peter - btw since u were the one that originally posted on your blog, do u know what that pea shoot leaf w/ egg crab sauce dish is called in chinese? i tried to order it last time and even described it to the guy in chinese, but i couldnt get it (to be fair our waiter was kinda slow)

                  1. re: Lau

                    Nope. I ordered it again last night. I asked the waiter for snow pea leaves with crabmeat sauce. He thought for a second, perhaps translating for himself and said, "You mean snow pea leaves with the crabmeat on top, right?" Our waiter last night was great. Skinny guy with glasses.

                    1. re: Peter Cherches

                      ok thx, that dish looks so good in the pic, im really looking forward to trying it

                      1. re: Lau

                        Phoenix Garden does a pretty good version too. I've had it at so many Chinatown places, most now defunct, over the years, including Tai Hong Lau, Lan Hong Kok (both 1980s), Sun Golden Island, Ping's, etc. It seems to be a pretty standard Cantonese offering, though often not on the menu.

                        1. re: Peter Cherches

                          im surprised ive never had it...ive usually had everything at one point or another when i was growing up although some people in my family aren't as big on seafood as i am

                          any which way, it looks delicious

                    2. re: Lau

                      蟹肉扒豆苗

                      This MIGHT work but I can't guarantee it.

                    3. re: Peter Cherches

                      With great anticipation I ordered the Tai Pan Mei Fun Saturday and found it totally unremarkable..It was bland, the shrimp were small and tasteless and the other seafood items in the dish were at best just O.K. I agree the sweet pickled cabbage was good ,but $10 is a lot to pay for a few bits of tasty cabbage.
                      I've had better versions of this dish in other places including NY Noodletown.

                    4. anyone got any new dish recs?

                      im going back to imperial palace on weds w/ 3 other people, def getting crab rice, fish & tofu casserole, sauteed pea shoots with crab sauce. But, looking for more dishes

                      1. went again tonight...excellent again, i think this maybe my favorite chinese restaurant in NY. Cantonese food has always been my favorite type of chinese food and Imperial Palace does a very solid job especially on the seafood side

                        - Dungeness crab with glutenous rice: same as last time (excellent)...also i noticed that i think almost every table had it on their table
                        - Fish and tofu casserole: same as last time (excellent)...this is my favorite dish here, its so well made and exactly how a casserole should be
                        - Sauteed pea shoots w/ crab meat sauce: finally got this and it was really very good, everyone liked it quite a bit. It's sauteed dou miao with a crab meat and egg white sauce...tastes like it sounds, but just well executed
                        - Beijing style pork chops: these were fried pork chops that had a semi sweet sauce on them. I liked this b/c normally most places put this sorta gloppy super sweet sauce on the pork chops, but here it wasn't over starched and wasn't overly sweet...i think it was def catered toward chinese clientele and not americans and hence more to my tastes
                        - Sizzling steak in black bean sauce: this was simply steak, onions and peppers on a hot sizzling skillet in black sauce...this was the only misstep in the meal, it was sorta bland and we all thought it was just okay

                        overall, I really like this place and the execution is very good, quality ingredients, not too salty, oily or overstarched....highly recommend this place, its worth trekking here from the city

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Lau

                          Must have missed you, Lau. Was there myself on Wednesday night.

                          We too noticed the glutinous crab rice dish on just about every other table. Looked good, too. Alas, by that point, we were pretty much stuffed. Next time.

                          We also had a casserole, the fish filets with braised tofu, as well as the pea shoots with crab sauce, subgum winter melon soup, seafood chow fun and an appetizer of aromatic beef.

                          While I wasn't quite so crazy about the pea shoot dish (good enough but skimpy on the crab sauce), I loved all the seafood. Very fresh tasting. The shrimp and squid in our seafood chow fun was excellent, and made up for the noodles, which were completely slathered in corn starch and lard. Again, the fish filets in the casserole, as well as the mushrooms, were quite good. The consensus favorite was the Winter Melon soup, best version I've tasted anywhere. Delicious full-flavored broth, and chock full of seafood bits. The aromatic beef was a thin-sliced, cold and marble t extured, served over a bed of sweet-pickled veggies. I quite liked this; it reminded me of a cold Korean pork dish, meant to be downed with lots of beer and vodka.

                          We fully intend to return, as there were lots of other dishes we wanted to try.
                          P.

                          1. re: Polecat

                            ahh i was there from like 7-9, so its possible we were there at the same time since thats sort of prime time to eat

                            i'm still sorting out the perfect combo of dishes to order, but the winter melon soup and the aromatic beef both sound very good

                            i agree with you on the seafood, i think that seafood is their forte as the meat dishes have generally been less impressive. I also realized part of what i like about Imperial Palace, its that they cook cantonese food correctly....I've always felt like alot of the cantonese restaurants in NY (generally) are overly greasy or over starched or too salty or heavy handed on the MSG; at Imperial Palace the underlying fresh ingredients are allowed to shine as the sauces are all done correctly, which reminds me more of food growing up at home or good places in asia

                        2. Don't know whether this was the norm for a Sunday evening, or whether it was just carry-over from Chinese New Year, but this place was packed tonight. Very lively. We sat near the kitchen entrance and watched dishes come out rapid fire, just tons of delicious looking stuff in massive portions.

                          Had the dungeness crab dish for the first time, and it lives up to the hype. That, plus the shrimp/squid/ fried tofu dish is some of the freshest, best seafood I've had in many a moon, especially the squid, which was outstanding. The tofu was nice and crisp on the outside, the skin dusted ever so lightly with salt, and very soft on the inside, flecked with chunks of shrimp.

                          Overall, an excellent meal.
                          P.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Polecat

                            glad you liked it, Imperial Palace is my favorite chinese restaurant in NY

                            and yes its the norm, that place is almost always packed if u go at peak dinner times (ive eaten there on sundays)

                            1. re: Lau

                              Lau, I see why this is your favorite Cantonese place in NYC. I went on the recommendation of this thread this past weekend and everything was delicious. Among the dishes we ate was the crab in glutinous rice, which was excellent. Everything we had was seasoned just right - not too salty. My only complaint was that the staff was really trying to rush us out of there. I'm used to pushy servers but this was a bit over the top. They tried to talk us out of ordering the chicken and black mushroom casserole because it took too long to make and I had to physically restrain them from removing the steamer from the crab while I was still working on the knuckles. That was kind of off-putting.

                              As an aside, does anyone know why all the Cantonese places seem to have stopped using yellow and white onions and switched to red? I'm not complaining, just curious.

                              1. re: Greg

                                yeah they do a great job there. I havent problems with pushy servers there, but that place gets very crowded on the weekends, so i guess i could see how that could happen.

                                haven't noticed that about the onions.

                                  1. re: grindy1

                                    not that i know of, it wouldve closed pretty recently if it did

                                    i hope it didnt, that would be a shame

                                    1. re: grindy1

                                      I ate there last weekend, so unless something dramatic happened this week, no.

                            2. Third visit with a large group (9) last night. Still reigns as my favorite Hong Kong/Cantonese in the city.

                              Highlights:

                              steamed oysters in the shell w/ X.O. sauce (as great as they were before)

                              Hong Kong-style shrimp (with a light, spicy breading)-- wonderfully flavorful, fresh-tasting shrimp

                              scallops with black pepper sauce

                              sizzling sable with black bean sauce--sable has become pretty common on HK-style seafood menus, and I think this is the best version I've found

                              Conch & dried squid with lily bulbs and sugar snap peas--it was a special, and the peas were not mentioned in the description, nor was the fact that it was dried squid, but that gave it a nice, smoky flavor

                              Fried rice with salted fish and diced chicken--I wanted to order the casserole version, but they said it would take at least 1/2 hour

                              pretty good:

                              snow pea shoots with triple egg (I prefer them with a crabmeat white sauce)

                              OK, but underwhelming:

                              fish filet & bean curd casserole--a little bland, not much to it

                              disappointing:

                              fried chicken filet stuffed with shrimp--other places do it better, this was mostly chicken skin wrapped around chopped shrimp paste.

                              biggest disappointment:

                              they don't serve soft shell crabs, and the way they did the HK shrimp would be the perfect preparation if they did.

                              Service was excellent, no rushing. It was, of course, a weeknight, but they were pretty crowded. But they could tell we meant business based on what we ordered (and the questions I asked about available vegetables), and I've found that often (but not always) staff at good, authentic, Chinese restaurants appreciate when non-Asian diners know the cuisine well enough to know what's worth ordering.

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: Peter Cherches

                                I'm surprised you didn't like the fish filet & bean curd casserole (assuming its the same one I order)...everyone i take there is consensus that that is one of the best dishes (really well done example of how cantonese food should be made); its the one with fried bean curd and fish in a light brown sauces

                                the crabmeat white sauce version is much better (i've had both)

                                1. re: Peter Cherches

                                  Peter, Your report echoes my sentiments exactly. The straight seafood dishes are the ones I came away remembering, and they're the ones I'll be chomping at the bit to return for. I especially dug the conch/squid/lily bulb dish, the sable, the scallops and, yeah, those amazing oysters. The way they do the HK-style shrimp, oh-so-lightly fried so that the freshness of the shrimp comes forward, that's how I feel in a nutshell about Imperial Palace. They keep it simple. I had actually tried this casserole on a previous visit, and feel the same way. I don't really feel that it's all that much better than similar casseroles I've had elsewhere, and it's certainly not in a league with the top dishes here. Still, though, certainly not bad. Ditto, the snow pea egg dish. And, yeah, the chicken skin stuffed w/ shrimp was alright, but failed to thrill as well.

                                  This has become my favorite Cantonese in the city, my personal barometer being I'm still craving 4 or 5 dishes from last night's meal, and am planning several returns.
                                  P.

                                  1. re: Polecat

                                    I put together a 13 person banquet that was centered around snow crab cooked three different ways. We had
                                    Snow Crab with glutenous rice - seemed a touch spicier than usual and fantastic
                                    with the snow crab

                                    Snow Crab stir fried with scallions -simple and great

                                    A Snow Crab steamed custard (probably with tofu and eggs) - served last of the trio to
                                    show just how unbelievable food can be

                                    1. re: wew

                                      What else did you have? Sounds great.

                                      1. re: Peter Cherches

                                        i was actually going add a review to this b/c i had the same snow crab special a few weeks ago with my GF's family except i only had it cooked in the glutenous rice and with the custard...its really excellent although be careful as it costed $160

                                        the rice dish has so much crab (more crab that rice), the meat is very sweet and good. The crab was 4 lbs. The steamed custard is exceptional with the rice, its very light and has this really light soy sauce that i think may have some type of seafood sauce in it that was really good

                                        1. re: Lau

                                          What else?
                                          A huge sublime Steamed Fish with ginger - one for the pantheon
                                          Salt Fish Fried Rice
                                          HK Fried Shrimp
                                          Stir Fried Fresh Conch
                                          XO Oysters - Guys, you have got to stress and stress hard (as for the pork shoulder at 39th and Prince) that these are as big as they are delicious. I think they were from Bikini Atoll
                                          Beijing Style Pork Chops
                                          Tofu Casserole with Black Mushrooms
                                          Vegies with Tofu, and a Chicken with Noodle dish - ordered by a no fish guest, both solid but not what we came for
                                          A Lobster and Melon Salad - cold mayo based - I can't fashion who might like this

                                          To drink - Savenniere Clos Papion 05, Riesling trocken Schafer-Frohlich 07, Riesling Spatlese Brockenaur Felsneck Schafer-Frohlich 07, Riesling Auslese Graacher Himmelreich Willi Schaefer 05, Chardonnay Brewer-Clifton Sweeny Canyon 05, Roc D'Anglade rouge 05, Pinot Noir Auteur Hyland 06, Pinot Noir Alta Maria 06
                                          After they served the steamed fish the waitress asked if we wanted to the other three dishes I had ordered. Seeing that we were flagging in our concentration and had glazed over eyes I canceled the over excess.
                                          They tossed pineapple our way. Then "peanut soup" for a devestif. What a meal

                                          1. re: wew

                                            Wow...you just sort of laid that wine stuff under the rug, but I believe (could be wrong) this is the first Sichuan place in town to offer a really serious and very appropriate wine list. Were you happy with all wines? did the staff suggest matchings?

                                            [Note: this is NOT a Sichuan restaurant. I was confused!]

                                            1. re: Jim Leff

                                              Sorry for the confusion but I brought the wine in. The staff was wonderful about chilling the whites. Also had Gruner Veltliner Kellerberg F.X. Pichler 07

                                              1. re: wew

                                                Oh, man, you had me all excited! But thanks for clarifying!

                                                Were any of them a particularly killer match, and if so, which dishes did you match them against?

                                                1. re: Jim Leff

                                                  The crab with rice was great with the Savenniere
                                                  Crab custard with Brewer-Clifton Sweeny chardonnay was the surprise success - it was like a gentle rounded Meursault
                                                  Crab Stir Fry and Fried shrimp and Pichler Gruner were just fine - but its a wine that is fine with anything

                                                  1. re: wew

                                                    Thanks. Great info.

                                                    If you ever have the chance, stop in at Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas (well off the strip). One of the best Thais in America, but also a stupendous list of wines that match well with spicy food. You'd love it.

                                                    [Note: this is Cantonese, not spicy food. I was confused!]

                                                    1. re: Jim Leff

                                                      The dishes cited look like Cantonese seafood items to me, not Sichuan.

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        Imperial Palace is a cantonese restaurant not a sichuan restaurant

                                                        1. re: Lau

                                                          Quite right. Sorry, I got my threads confused. I'll note the error in my postings above.

                                2. The NYTImes just did a review on this restaurant. 1 star! Not bad for a Flushing restaurant. :)

                                  http://events.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/...

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: teresa

                                    nice positive review...place will probably be even more jam packed then it already is! its also alot more english friendly then they make it out to be, much more so than most flushing restaurants

                                    comparing it to the defunct Canton in ctown is kind of a joke as IP is way better than Canton ever was, i dont think most mainstream reviews will ever really get chinese food although i guess id rather have people find out about it and try it from a semi-flawed mainstream review than not try it at all b/c they dont know or are intimidated by it

                                    1. re: Lau

                                      IP & the late Canton are/were two different things. You can't compare them. Canton was good for what it was.

                                  2. hey lau! thanks for the report ( i did a search for imperial palace since i didnt want to be redundant) i ll check it out this weekend and report back! i had some pretty good food at canton gourmet so we ll see how it goes!

                                    http://tastychomps.blogspot.com

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: pdpredtide

                                      enjoy, definitely read this post for dish recs

                                      CG is very good for their garlic crab, but IP is a better restaurant overall

                                      1. re: 2slices

                                        yes although i've never ordered it

                                        they also have a lobster rice (same thing as crab rice except with lobster)

                                        1. re: Lau

                                          I had lobster here, over the sticky rice instead of the crab. We had a fabulous meal there last time.

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/671037

                                          1. re: Lau

                                            ended up with the crab sticky rice. The rice was good but I found the crab left without much flavor. Overall the meal was good, but I've had better crab at Cantoon Garden, or whatever it's caled now, on Elizabeth. Not fair to judge on 1 trip and I didnt get my usualy at cantoon, the steamed crab with garlic.

                                            BTW Lau, I'm headed to China friday if I end up going to Wenzhou I'll take some pictures. Honestly though, I'm trying to avoid going there entirely.

                                            1. re: 2slices

                                              Have you had the lobster steamed w garlic at Cantoon? We haven't had the crab there.

                                              1. re: 2slices

                                                well the dish is about the rice not about the crab, the crab is an afterthought in that dish for me as you said it is used to flavor the rice, i only even really eat it b/c it has the innards which i find delicious mixed with the rice. the only time that dish was sort of about the crab was when i got the $150 special version with the 4lbs king crab (the crab was very good in that).

                                                I like the steamed garlic crab over he fen at cantoon garden (south china garden) alot, but that is a completely different dish. That crab would be bland without the large amount of garlic they put on it.

                                                haha would love to see some pics! unfortunately, wenzhou is low on my list of places in china to go, so i wont be making it there anytime soon (china is WAY too big), so i'd like to live vicariously through you

                                                btw check out my blog: www.lauhound.com, i'm not done but i've been getting alot of my asia trips from june and dec up on it

                                                1. re: Lau

                                                  Thrilled to see you have a blog though I am too far away from NY to do anything but drool. Your link didn't work. This one does.
                                                  http://www.lauhound.com

                                                  1. re: Brian S

                                                    ohh opps that comma messed up the link

                                                    glad you like the blog, hopefully one day ull be back to try everything

                                                    1. re: Lau

                                                      Another LauHounder here...

                                                      Are there any updates to the recommended dishes at IP?? I am taking a pair of friends there this week and since I've not been in a long time..wondered if anyone has anything new" to recommend.

                                                      Brian, we need you back here and on the chow beat!

                                                      1. re: erica

                                                        umm i pretty much order the same things most of the time, i really should try other stuff there....this post has most of the stuff i order