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Dec 2, 2009 05:41 AM

Imperial Palace

erica allowed my wife and I to join her group of 10 there last night for dinner (thank you) and I was very impressed with this place. Having spent most of the last several years eating mainly Szechuan (and similar) food in Flushing, Manhattan and Bklyn C'towns, I've managed to eat at Cantoon Garden and Congee Village Bowery in the last few months and have had very good meals in a style I had forgotten how much I like. At any rate, IP was actually a bit better than either of the other two on all the "serious" dishes. Each of these dishes were more skilled and contained better ingredients. Although all 3 restaurants are very good, this is a difference that is sometimes lost to non-Asian diners at Cantonese/Hong Kong places since everything is so understated. At least, for me that's been true. The seafood dishes had more and better quality seafood, the noodles and greens had more fresh taste, etc & I found it significant.

We followed posts from Lau, Peter Cherches and others in ordering, and erica had been there before herself so she was skilled at picking out the good stuff... basically, I/we left the ordering to her (something I am just about never willing to do with others). The highlights included clams in broth with scallions and some heat, gigantic oysters (8-12" long) w/XO sauce (I loved these, othes didnt), a squid dish, lobster w/sticky rice, mei fun (rice noodles) w/seafood, greens (what kind?) w/lots of tasty things in it (more than just egg whites and yolk, but I'm not sure exactly what), a whole nicely fried meaty flounder & sable w/black bean sauce. Each of these were outstanding. Good enough were the lamb chops and the pork (in orange sauce?). Only the chicken w/broc. was absurdly not worth it. It's absolutely a seafood place.

The menu is definitely deep enough that another 10-12 dishes recommended on the boards or sighted going to other tables are still to be tried. Next time. Including tip, this all cost around $35pp. I know, this is not cheap in C'town standards but we drank beers & had major seafood dishes (oysters, lobster...) that a substantially more $$. Well worth it.

Link to other thread:

Imperial Palace
136-13 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

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  1. glad you enjoyed your trip there

    never had the gigantic oysters in XO sauce (are you sure they were oysters?),so ill have to try that.

    highly suggest the crab rice over the lobster rice, i think the crab gives it a better flavor. Next time get a whole (or half) fried chicken, its very good there (juicy meat and crispy skin...classic cantonese)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lau

      When we first saw the size of the oysters going to another table, several of our party thought that they must be conch/abalone. When they came, they were definitely oysters. Unbelievably huge oysters. I think that they're $2.50apiece... we ordered 9. I got 3 (I love going out with picky eaters... more for me). Of course, I'm not an expert, on oysters vs abalone but...

      I voted for the chicken but we already had more than enough food and I forgot that it was the whole chicken I was lobbying for and not the chicken with shrimp inside. I had the whole chicken recently at Congee Village Bowery and it was great. I'd guess that IP's version is at least as good. Next time.

      The lobster with sticky rice was chosen over the crab rice after much debate. Next time there as well. The lobster was very good... the crab was $5 cheaper and we're big spenders so... :-)

      1. re: Steve R

        "I voted for the chicken..."

        I am shocked. Shocked. :-)

    2. SteveR: Nice report! We really enjoyed having you both! Let me apologize publicly for the chicken with broccoli, ordered for the only finicky person at the table; I will not make that mistake again! But I must add that the Peking pork chops, although clearly not seafood, were one of my favorite dishes. There, I've said this, too,in public!

      For me, the absolute winner, though, was the Conch and Dried Squid with Lily Bulbs and Snap Peas, listed on the specials card placed at each table.

      Other good dishes that SteveR mentioned included: sable with black bean sauce; pan-fried (whole) flounder, beautifully presented and very crispy; clam casserole, Vietnamese style. I would recommend ordering the latter with mei fun which would sop up the delicious, chili-spiked sauce.

      The greens that Steve mentioned were the Snow Pea Leaves with Triple Eggs (at $15.50 a tad pricey, in my opinion) and the Mei Fun was the Tai Peng Mei Fun, from the lunch menu, as recommended, as were all the dishes, from previous Chowhound pioneers.

      I know Steve disagrees, but the only dish i did not care for much were those humongous oysters in XO sauce--somehow they were just too big, too....not sure what but I did not like them much although the XO sauce was good. As Steve was my dinner neighbor, these did not go to waste!

      There are at least two main dining areas with the front room being nicer, decor wise. Our group was relegated to the rear room which was a little less gussied up but still much nicer than the usual no-frills Chinatown places. Certainly worth a return visit. Reservations are taken for large groups--maybe for small ones, too.

      4 Replies
      1. re: erica

        jing du pai gu (peking pork chops) are pretty staple cantonese at most cantonese seafood place, i order it most of the time...not need to be embarassed!

        btw if you haven't tried the snow pea leaves in crab sauce i personally much prefer it to the snow pea leaves with triple egg (the snow pea leaves with crab sauce is not on the menu)

        1. re: Lau

          Lau, this is precisely why we need your guidance. I thought the snow pea leaves with the triple egg sauce were fairly ordinary and wondered why the cost was so high.. The paper menu I have at home lists only 11 vegetable offerings and 4 of those involve tofu.

          Thank you for the pork chop info--they were truly delicious...

          1. re: erica

            yeah i don't actually think that dish is all that good either...i'm not sure why they don't list the snow peas leaves w/ crab meat sauce (xie rou dou miao), but they always have it, so i'd order it. i love dou miao generally and this version is very good

            glad you liked the pork chops, i love those too

        2. re: erica

          I love the oysters, and they're definitely oysters. See photo.

        3. We had dinner here the other night. The salt baked duck tongues were perfectly prepared.. I dont know if they were baked, more steamed or boiled and then deep fried.. Such a great dish..

          Oysters were huge.. I was able to cut the oyster into 6 nice pieces.. The XO sauce was delicious.

          We ordered the crab and sticky rice.. I appreciated the subtleness it just wasnt what I was looking for.. I would prefer crab with more of a sauce as these crabs obviously had a long trip from the West Coast.

          I am looking forward to coming back with a large group.. The pork chops, the fried flounder, plates of steamed shrimp, duck with steamed buns, all tempted us.

          Place does some business.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Daniel76

            I had another dinner here last night. I tried two new dishes and I would recommend both:

            Golden Bean Curd ($13.50; listed under Chef's Specials on the photo portion of the main menu)
            Small cubes of very creamy bean curd within a fried exterior. Lightly sauced and topped with a crunchy, gold-color ingredient I cannot identify. (Dried seafood?). I liked this dish a lot; we had it in the first round of dishes, as part of the "appetizer" portion of our program. Maybe someone can be more descriptive.

            Naigamo Root, Mixed mushrooms, Oyster Sauce. (Listed among the specials that sit in a Lucite holder on the tables) Again, I am perplexed. From my brief googling, naigamo is a starchy root similar to taro. But this dish featured mushrooms (Including enoki and others) topped by long, wide ribbons of a cream-colored almost springy ingredient that was not too dissimilar to sheets of dried had an unusual (to me) texture and a bland but appealing flavor. I liked it very much and would like to learn more..

            Other dishes included the Conch and dried Squid special; the wok-fried flounder; e-fu noodles with mushrooms; Vietnamese clam casserole; half a Peking duck (also an appetizer). Unfortunately, the waiter forgot to bring the Peking pork chops which we had liked very much last time..

            1. re: erica

              sounds great, will def have to try

              1. re: Lau

                Please do...I know we can expect a thorough report with pics on your great blog!

                I keep trying to find more on naigamo root and all searches turn up something that looks like taro. But this was another "kettle of fish" entirely! Maybe they pounded the root and turned it into the bean-curd-skin-like concoction that was in the dish..

                1. re: erica

                  it could be look up tororo, its japanese grated nagaimo, they mix it in with stuff like udon....its def possible they grate it and make it into something else....there are tons of chinese dishes like that

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. How big is the restaurant? I'm seriously considering getting together a group of friends in January to have a banquet there. Do they take reservations? If so, what do you think is the maximum number of people I could reserve for?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Pan

                its pretty big and you could have a banquet, they do take reservations

                i bet they could hold like 250ish

                1. re: Lau

                  Wow! OK, no problem then. Thanks for letting me know.