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Double Dragon Restautant (w/ pics) - good Fujian food and one of the more interesting meals i've had in a while

  • l
  • Lau Jun 14, 2010 07:05 PM

I decided to try one of the Fujian restaurants on Eldridge in the Fujian part of chinatown. I went with my chinese tutor, which as it turns out was very important. I picked a place by going to the place that was the most crowded place and that turned out to be Double Dragon by a long shot.

It's a long narrow restaurant that has a sort of hidden room in the back that you can't see from the outside. Every table was packed, the room was filled with smoke and everyone was drinking. I don't know if I've ever been intimidated by a chinese restaurant in NY, well I admit I was a little intimidated by this place. People say "oh this place feels like you're in China" well this place really feels like you're in China or in some small back alley restaurant in Taiwan. The menu is only in chinese. It seems like most of the customers are regulars as they were wandering around to the back and seemed to be very chummy with the staff. The staff does not speak english at all and I had a very hard time understanding what they were saying as they have a very thick fuzhou accent.

Also, we asked them what to order and they were nice, but clearly trying to up sell us to the most expensive items (conch, fresh fish etc). However, we looked at the other tables and tried to get what they were getting, which was the right move.

Here's what we got:
- jian long tou yu (pan fried dragon fish head): the name tells you nothing about what this dish is. It is in fact a pancake that is very similar to Korean pajun except I thought it was better. It's very crispy on the outside, but has that semi gooey interior that the korean pajun has except it wasn't as gooey, "long you yu" are those small silver fish, but I didn't actually see any pieces of seafood in the dish, I think they minced it and put it in the batter. There is also some type of green vegetable in it that I couldn't identify. There is a slight seafood taste, but not in a fishy or bad way, mixed with the crispy texture and it turned out excellent. I would definitely get this again...the best way to describe this is like korean pajun, but probably better
- zhao jiao shao niu rou (beef with peppers): this was very thin strips of beef sauteed with green spicy peppers in a sauce that used oyster sauce, but it was pretty light (not gooey or drenched in sauce) and it had a good wok flavor. It's a spicy b/c of the peppers. I thought this was a good dish. The sauce was nice, the oyster sauce flavor was good and it was prepared nicely with the good wok flavor. I'd order this again.
- tian bai wan zai: we ordered this on a whim. this is a soup that sort of looks like egg drop soup, but its sweet with stands of egg white and yolk that looks like sheets in the wind qnd then has small tang yuan (small rice dough balls) in it. The soup was just okay, it tasted like hot water with sugar and egg in it. The tang yuan were decent nice and soft. I've had a soup like this once a long time ago, but it was better. I thought it was just so so.
- boiled peanuts and picked radish (luo buo gao): we saw this on everyone's table, the waitress told us that they give it to the customers that are drinking (think beer snacks). The boiled peanuts were good and the pickled radish was good as well it was a bit sweet and nice and crunchy.

Overall, this was surprisingly good. I've generally been underwhelmed by Fujian food and anyone who reads my posts knows that I'm biased towards certain southern chinese foods, but this was good and I'd definitely go again. Now the unfortunate part about this place is that you definitely need someone who speaks chinese and really you need someone who can read chinese. My chinese isn't good and I would've had a hard time getting by at this place if I didn't have my tutor with me as I had a hard time understanding their accent. As far as fujian food I am far from an expert, but this was the best fujian meal I've had in NY.

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Double Dragon
13 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

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    3 Replies
    1. re: Lau

      Hi Lau - I am shocked by the paucity of responses here! I must have been out of town or incognito when you posted this. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Will have to check it out. Where on Eldridge is it?

      1. re: scoopG

        its at 13 eldridge bet canal and division on the west side of the street, in the middle of all of those fujian restaurants. We literally tried it b/c i always notice that its fairly consistently busy when i walk by it.

        try that pancake thing i got, i was really surprised at how high quality it was. They have a section of lu wei / lu shui meats that i really want to try (i love lu wei meats in chao zhou or taiwanese food). It was interesting b/c alot of the dishes names are not very explanatory, but i think there is probably alot of interesting stuff there b/c i saw alot of dishes on people's tables that i had no idea what they were, but it looked good

        1. re: scoopG

          Yeah, somehow I missed the original posting too, extra surprising since like Lau I saw the crowd and stopped by. Also I was intrigued by the signage which doesn't just say Double Dragon, but "Double Dragon on Eldridge" which adds an air of pretentiousness that I like. Unfortunately not knowing the lingo I had to settle for Fujian Fish Ball soup, which was just OK, so it's interesting to read about the depth of this restaurant.

          -----
          Double Dragon
          13 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

      2. Thanks for mentioning the smoking. I've noticed this at other Fuzhounese restaurants, and it makes me feel like I'm about to choke to death, so I can't go to such restaurants. I think someone could really do me and other smoke-sensitive people a good service by mentioning the name of the best Fuzhounese restaurant where people don't smoke.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Pan

          Stopped in recently to Best Fuzhou at 71A Eldridge street - there was no smoking going on and a large no smoking sign dispalyed. I asked the waitress about smoking there and she said they of course don't allow it but every now and then a male customer will try to light up.

          1. re: scoopG

            I've been there when they've had two big tables of men who were all smoking.

            1. re: Pan

              How recently at Best Fuzhou? I too have seen that in the past. Was there today and it was a totally different clientele. Single men munching on noodle dishes and then a party of 8 Chinese madams. They even turned down the TV when I asked them to. Of course that is not to say it won't happen in the future.

              1. re: scoopG

                I guess it was in February or so.

          2. re: Pan

            im so glad they banned smoking in restaurants....when i was in shanghai a couple months ago i was dying at a few restaurants, technically its banned, but few places enforce it

          3. I have fond memories of Foo Joy. I think it was on E Bwy. They had the best Fukienese pork chops. They were marinaded in something that gave them a red tinge. So tasty!! They also had fabulous sauteed blue claw crabs Fukienese style.
            Back in the 70's they got busted for having a gambling den in the back room and closed down.
            Anyone know a place that serves those pork chops. I've tried several places in the E Bwy area and had some great meals but no red porkchops.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Motosport

              Ah, so THAT'S what happened to Foo Joy! It was on Division St., and I remember it well. They also served something called Ironside Beef or something, which had rings of canned pineapple on it, and I believe maraschino cherries. Hey, for a young boy, that was fun!

              1. re: Motosport

                Yes, I still recall those pork chops, more than thirty years later...I too think it was on Division Street...

                1. re: penthouse pup

                  Yes, it was Division St. Even more than the pork chops, what I remember were the Fukenese Fried Fish Rolls. Absolutely wonderful. I think we found the restaurant from an article in the NYT. They were telling us about a new type (region) of Chinese food. It was supposed NYC's only *Fukinese* restaurant (from the time that the capital of China was still called Peking in the NYT).

                  1. re: bobjbkln

                    bob, do you recall roughly when that restaurant surfaced and the NYT documented it? I'm curious as to just how long ago the Fujianese influx, at least in restaurant terms, landed on mainstream radar.

                    1. re: squid kun

                      My memory of Foo Joy goes to the 1970's, and here is the pdf link to Raymond Sokolov's article about Foo Joy in the NY Times from 1972...

                      http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive/...

                      By 1979, NY Magazine was moaning that Foo Joy was not as good as it used to be:
                      http://books.google.com/books?id=9-AC...

                      1. re: penthouse pup

                        Thanks for those links. 13 Division Street is now a wedding center. Interesting too how restaurant reviews have evolved. That 1972 NYT review (and NY Magazine follow-up) mentions only a few dishes and generally fails to convey what the essence of Fuijian cuisine is. That pork chop was mentioned as a signature dish.

                      2. re: squid kun

                        My guess is that they were quite possibly overseas Fujian immigrants who came to the USA via a 3rd country.

                2. Stopped in and picked up some menus - will check it out at some point, but most folks will be deterred from the lack of any English on the menu.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: scoopG

                    yah that is the tough part about this restaurant plus when you go in there and talk to them, they have a super thick fuzhou accent when they speak mandarin, i had a really hard time understanding her

                    its worth checking out though

                  2. Dave Cook has filed his review:

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

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: scoopG

                      he is right, its difficult to speak to them unless you speak fujian, i had a hard time understanding their mandarin b/c her fujian accent was so heavy....ill go back and post again about it. hopefully they eventually become more non-fujian friendly

                    2. Gone. Now Tangxia Wang Fu Zhou Cuisine. Different and very simple menu.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        yah its been gone for a while now, now just another typical fuzhou xiao chi place