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Jul 29, 2008 12:49 PM

Imperial Palace - what to order?

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):

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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.)

      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 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 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:


              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


                      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.