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Alternative to Amazing 66?

My wife and I are big fans of Amazing 66 and have had some superb meals there. We love the king mushrooms with pea shoots, the lobster vermicelli casserole, the chicken with preserves, and steamed crab with garlic on ribbon noodles (not sure what this one is officially called). The last two times I have been there (the most recent being Saturday night), while the food has been great, we have not enjoyed the environment. Specifically, the service has been unhelpful, which it never used to be, and we've been given forks, with the waiters showing great surprise when we set them aside. I don't enjoy someone showing surprise when I manage to do something as simple as eat with chopsticks! Once again, it didn't use to be this way.

So... as you can tell, I love the food but am getting irritated with the place. Any ideas where else we can try?

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  1. Cantoon Garden is my favorite Cantonese restaurant in Chinatown - tried Amazing 66 once and went back to Cantoon - and is extensively covered here. It ain't fancy but the food is great and the service nice if a bit brusque perhaps. They are too busy to notice or care whether you can use chopsticks or not.

    10 Replies
    1. re: buttertart

      I really like Cantoon Garden, too, and haven't been impressed with Amazing 66, but I'll note that, for those who really care, some of the waitstaff at Cantoon Garden don't speak much English.

      1. re: Pan

        i like both...i've been to A66 a lot more (craving that roast chicken w/ preserved veggies and that oyster casserole), but the sauteed lobster and the house soup at CG is great too...

        i'll also note that i've always had nice service at both places...at a group dinner at A66 a few months ago, the staff were incredibly professional and friendly (better service than i've had at most Manhattan restaurants whether in or out of Chinatown)...

        1. re: Pan

          The somewhat older thin tallish waiter speaks very good English (we read and speak Mandarin but not Cantonese). It's mostly the younger waiters who are less fluent.

          1. re: Pan

            well they are different restaurants as CG is a cantonese seafood specialist (i also happen to think its the best cantonese restaurant in manhattan ctown) and A66 is more of a general cantonese restaurant.

            I generally find the servers at CG to be pretty nice at least relative to other ctown restaurants, but i also go there alot and i think they know who i am now.

            English wise i always got the feeling they speak reasonable english although i dont usually order in english there.

            Here's my original post on it:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589457

            1. re: Lau

              <English wise i always got the feeling they speak reasonable english although i dont usually order in english there.>

              I had very little trouble communicating with the waitstaff - here's the report of my one visit there:

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5894...

              1. re: Lau

                Seafood specialist but their meat dishes are also v good, better than what we had at A66.

                1. re: buttertart

                  I agree. Their Tangerine Beef is possibly the best I've ever had, and their version of what's called House Special Chicken elsewhere - I think they call it Crispy Fried Chicken - is the best I've had in New York. Both of those dishes are terrific!

                  1. re: Pan

                    The crispy fried chicken is one of our standing orders - try it with the garlic sauce too, soy/trace of vinegar/mountain of deep-fried garlic. Deelish.

                      1. re: Pan

                        The plain one is also great, love the skin dipped in the pepper-salt.

          2. I know exactly how you feel about the service. I got my share of ignorance from people when I lived in the midwest as a Chinese person. That was something I had to deal with every day (and at times in NY too)! Because of that, I have definitely grown to have thicker skin over the years, compared with my earlier years as a SF Bay Area resident!.

            Anyway, back to the subject, in addition to Cantoon Garden, I would recommend Dim Sum Go Go (during their dinner hours). I have been there a few times during dinner time and their food was pretty good. I also like Oriental Garden but their price is probably a little steeper than Amazing 66 and the menu is not as extensive. Just to provide a few ideas to you...

            7 Replies
            1. re: bearmi

              It's really interesting that you are recommending dinner at Dim Sum Go Go. What do you recommend on their dinner menu? I've found it hit or miss and usually go there at lunchtime for dim sum items plus maybe an appetizer from their lunch menu (I like the shredded duck with white fungus and pickled ginger).

              1. re: Pan

                I was there for dinner a few times and most of the dishes I had were pretty good (but it's possible that I didn't order the "bad" dishes.. ha..). As you probably already know, you can order Dim Sum during dinner time too so I definitely had those when I visited in the evening, give that I really like their dim sum. In addition to that, I have ordered the "Saute Shredded Pork with Chinese Celery and Jicama" and my friends usually ordered Salted Baked Pork Chops, Gogo Roast Chicken with Fried Garlic or Gogo Seafood with Lotus Root. I vaguely remembered ordering some sort of chow mein (with pan fried noodle) but I can't quite remember which one it is. (I think their takeout menu as well as the menu they post on line has fewer items than they actually serve in-house.)

                On weekends they are not as crowded during dinner time (vs. lunch time). The price is probably similar to Amazing 66 or maybe a little higher. You can give them another try and see if you like their food.

                1. re: bearmi

                  My issue is that some of their main dishes are bland and not worth the price. Looking for things with garlic or herbs like Chinese celery seems like a smart approach.

                  1. re: Pan

                    I've been only for dim sum around midday. Any specific main dishes you would warn us away from?

                    1. re: squid kun

                      It would be hard for me to remember. Sorry. Nothing has ever been notably bad, mind you, just kind of bland.

                      1. re: Pan

                        That tells me something. I trust your palate. Thanks!

                        1. re: squid kun

                          I think you're more of an expert on Chinese food than I am (aren't you Chinese?), but anyway... :-)

            2. I'll try to make the case for sticking with A66. Seems a bit of a waste to give up on a place after you found food you love. Another way is to try to make friends/conversation with the owner. Or get the name of a friendly/helpful waiter, and look/ask for him. I'm a Ctown regular, and I have on a regular basis avoided a restaurant because the owner is not there. There's nobody like the boss to make sure things are done right.

              1. Will agree with the Cantoon Garden rec. Another place I like for Cantonese preps of seafood is Fuleen.

                1. Try the restaurant at 27 Division St. It used to be called Sunrise 27 and changed its name. The service should be better, and there is a very accommodating manager named Alex.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: xiaoweiwei

                    ive been meaning to try that place for a while, how is it?

                    there are a bunch of seafood places on division, ive been to one of them a long time ago and it was good, but i want to try them

                    1. re: Lau

                      we've had several parties for family and/or friends at 27 division st, never disappointed.

                  2. Thanks everyone for your advice. We went to Cantoon Garden last week to try it out. The vibe was exactly what we wanted, and the service was great. Food-wise, the salt baked squid was a real stand out. We couldn't stop eating it. The lobster with ginger and scallion, pea shoots with mushrooms, crispy chicken with garlic were all good .... but not great. Everything seemed a little overcooked and a little heavy. Not sure if it was just an off night, but for me, Amazing 66 has the edge on food. So .... looks like we'll be heading back to A66 since food trumps vibe! Thanks everyone for all their input on this.