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Oh no! last day at South China fka Cantoon Garden!

buttertart Feb 26, 2012 11:30 AM

We were just informed that the restaurant is closing for good today. Thank goodness we decided to come here!

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South China Garden
22 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

  1. a
    AubWah Feb 26, 2012 01:14 PM

    Seriously?

    12 Replies
    1. re: AubWah
      buttertart Feb 26, 2012 04:27 PM

      Why would I post this otherwise? Yes, two of the waitstaff told us. Apparently the building is being torn down and a hotel built there. The waitress said the boss is looking at reopening in a new space in maybe 6 months. I feel terrible for everyone concerned.

      1. re: buttertart
        a
        AubWah Feb 26, 2012 04:49 PM

        what did you order?

        1. re: AubWah
          buttertart Feb 26, 2012 05:02 PM

          The double lobster special, steamed with garlic, the beef fried rice, the lotus root with mixed veg, and the crispy chicken (wanted it plain but it came with the garlic sauce, what the hey). Kills me they're closing.

          1. re: buttertart
            s
            Simon Feb 26, 2012 10:47 PM

            Well, who knows, maybe the new space will be even better...

            i've loved the lobster special there...and the house soup...and i'm sad to see it temporarily disappear...

            but i've been underwhelmed by most of the non-lobster/crab dishes: the salt-baked squid has been bready and medicore 2x in a row...the lotus root and veggie dish contained more canned veg and cornstarch on my last visit than anything else (and could be classified as genuinely "bad")...etc..

            The staff have always been nice...and the cheap lobster makes up for a lot of the downsides...but i'd love it if the new location/incarnation could make up for the inconstistencies and lead to any even better chowhound fav than the old...

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            South China Garden
            22 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

            1. re: Simon
              buttertart Feb 27, 2012 05:50 AM

              There was nothing canned in the lotus root dish any of the many times we had it.
              Question is now where for Canto food? Do not like Amazing 66, where the attitude both times was very condescending.

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              Amazing 66
              66 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

              1. re: buttertart
                p
                peter j Feb 27, 2012 09:21 AM

                "Question is now where for Canto food?"

                How about Congee Village? I thought their house special chicken and fried squid with salted pepper were better than SCG. Sad news about SCG though. I hope they reopen soon.

                1. re: peter j
                  l
                  Lau Feb 27, 2012 09:47 AM

                  ill go try a bunch of the bigger family style places again and let u know if / when i find a suitable replacement

                  1. re: Lau
                    Chandavkl Feb 27, 2012 09:54 AM

                    Please do. This was literally the only restaurant in N.Y. Chinatown that Mrs. Chandavkl would eat at as it's the only one she thought was SGV quality..

                    1. re: Lau
                      buttertart Feb 27, 2012 10:29 AM

                      Please do, Lau and anyone else so inclined. (One of the things I loved about this place was how noisy it was. So lively! The renovated a few years back and the place was noisier than ever. Well done.)

                    2. re: peter j
                      l
                      Lau Feb 27, 2012 10:24 AM

                      fyi on Congee Village
                      http://www.boweryboogie.com/2012/02/c...

                      1. re: Lau
                        p
                        peter j Feb 27, 2012 10:41 AM

                        Yikes, thanks for the update on Congee Village.

                    3. re: buttertart
                      sgordon Feb 27, 2012 10:24 AM

                      Where for Canto Food?

                      Oriental Garden, Ping's, Fuleen.

                      All a little more expensive than SCG (well, Oriental Garden a LOT more expensive) but all quite solid - the seafood usually better at any of them than at SCG, though I preferred SCG's land-crawling fare more.

                      Chef Ping is a little more creative / less traditional than the others, so some discount him - but his straightforward dishes have all been really good of late. Easy enough to avoid his "fusiony" flights of fancy if so desired. (But then you'd miss out on his amazing Jicama Siu-Chow...)

                      Congee Village / Congee Bowery (temporarily only CB as CV just had a fire and will be closed for a few weeks) are okay in a pinch - as is the case with any resto with menus as extensive as theirs, there are gonna be hits and misses.

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                      Congee Bowery
                      207 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

                      Congee Village
                      100 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

                      Fuleen
                      11 Division St, New York, NY 10002

                      Oriental Garden
                      14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                      Ping's
                      22 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

          2. Miss Needle Feb 27, 2012 06:52 AM

            Oh that's sad news! Their fish paste stuffed peppers were so awesome!

            1. l
              Lau Feb 27, 2012 08:49 AM

              damn it!

              well hopefully they re-open, that really sucks

              2 Replies
              1. re: Lau
                jen kalb Feb 27, 2012 09:00 AM

                terrible news one of our faves. please everybody update if it reopens elsewhere.

                1. re: jen kalb
                  buttertart Feb 27, 2012 10:28 AM

                  Absolutely yes.

              2. kosmose7 Feb 27, 2012 10:13 AM

                For stir-fired lobster dish, an alternative could be Famous Sichuan (川外川), although it is not a Cantonese restaurant. You can choose either ginger & scallion (just like South China Garden) or Sichuan spicy sauce. I tried the latter, and it was really good with Sichuan Yibin Sprouts (四川芽菜) mixed together.

                They charge approx. $30 per dish, which is slightly higher than what South China Garden charged, but they do not mix lobster with crab meat as South China Garden once did. :)

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                Famous Sichuan
                10 Pell St, New York, NY 10013

                 
                2 Replies
                1. re: kosmose7
                  buttertart Feb 27, 2012 10:28 AM

                  I had the lobster special (steamed) about 20x and every part was lobbo, no crab. (I cook and I know lobster anatomy.) I saw that thread just today and thought wtf?

                  1. re: buttertart
                    kosmose7 Feb 27, 2012 10:55 AM

                    Yeah, I had that lobster dish about 20~30 times too, and it was my first experience to have lobster mixed with crab. It NEVER happened before. When I complained to a friend of mine, he said he had similar experience at the restaurant lately. God knows what went wrong. Anyways, I didn't go back since.

                2. s
                  Sloths Feb 27, 2012 02:54 PM

                  Hello there!

                  My dad is the owner of the South China Garden restaurant. I'm here to clarify that, yes, some form of hotel/condo is being built and several restaurants are going to be shut down in the vicinity - including ours. Yesterday (Sunday) was the restaurant's last running day. I was over there today at the restaurant to clean up and I couldn't believe the amount of hungry customers that came by, alongside all the phone calls for lunch orders. It was really disheartening to see all the staff out of a job after all these years. My dad has been pretty silent about it and I honestly don't want to pester him too much on the details. One may argue that this is a public showing of the ugly face of gentrification, but I don't want to go into that debate. It's been a good run. Time to look forward. If my dad decides to reopen or not, I will be sure to notify you guys. Thank you for the support!

                   
                  36 Replies
                  1. re: Sloths
                    s
                    small h Feb 27, 2012 03:09 PM

                    Thanks for the information. As someone who's had several fine meals at your dad's restaurant, I sincerely hope that your family can find another site and re-open, sooner than later. South China Garden made my favorite bean curd & seafood casserole, ever. Keep us posted!

                    1. re: small h
                      s
                      Sloths Feb 28, 2012 07:09 AM

                      :) Will do. Thank you.

                      1. re: Sloths
                        w
                        willtravel Jan 29, 2013 12:57 PM

                        hi Sloths
                        want to do a big dinner party at your dads place .Cantoon any news on if when and where it will open thanks Sami

                    2. re: Sloths
                      l
                      Lau Feb 27, 2012 03:24 PM

                      sorry to hear that, i really liked your restaurant and was a regular customer

                      if he decides to re-open please let us know!

                      1. re: Lau
                        a
                        AubWah Feb 27, 2012 04:04 PM

                        Danny Ng's anyone?

                        1. re: AubWah
                          l
                          Lau Feb 27, 2012 07:50 PM

                          I wonder if Danny Ng's will shutdown as well since its basically on the backside of the building

                          ive been meaning to go to danny ng's for a while (ive been there once a long time ago), so ill give i ago

                          1. re: Lau
                            Duppie Feb 29, 2012 11:04 AM

                            I hope not, Danny Ng's is one of my favorites and the go to restaurant for overseas guests that want that old school experience.I hope New Malaysia in the tunnel is not effected also.

                            1. re: Duppie
                              a
                              AubWah Feb 29, 2012 04:47 PM

                              What are your favorite dishes at Danny Ng's?

                              1. re: AubWah
                                Duppie Feb 29, 2012 05:02 PM

                                I actually like the peaking duck,sauteed pea shoots,manila clams in black bean sauce,the garlic chicken, the oysters in hoisin sauce, the pork chop and the salt fish fried rice. I've never had the steak or the crab dish and I have an issue with shark's fin but It looks like it's now on the short list. What's yours?

                                -----
                                Danny Ng's Place
                                52 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

                                1. re: Duppie
                                  a
                                  AubWah Feb 29, 2012 05:35 PM

                                  I've actually never eaten there

                                  1. re: AubWah
                                    Duppie Feb 29, 2012 06:59 PM

                                    Danny Ng's is like a throw back to the 50's and it's comfortable,good food. give it a shot.

                                2. re: AubWah
                                  s
                                  syannelevovna Feb 29, 2012 07:13 PM

                                  The short rib cooked inside a pumpkin is really good - if you don't want to wait, make a reservation at the place and order it in advance.

                                  1. re: syannelevovna
                                    a
                                    AubWah Mar 1, 2012 05:29 PM

                                    must be expensive i'm guessing around $40

                          2. re: Lau
                            s
                            Sloths Feb 28, 2012 07:09 AM

                            I saw your review of Cantoon Garden on your website. Great review, and thanks, will do.

                            1. re: Sloths
                              l
                              Lau Feb 28, 2012 09:05 AM

                              thanks!

                              i hope you guys decide to re-open!

                            2. re: Lau
                              w
                              willtravel Jan 29, 2013 12:58 PM

                              so Lau any idea where I can put 50 people for banquet style lunch like Cantoon Garden at this time ?help thanks sami

                              1. re: willtravel
                                l
                                Lau Jan 29, 2013 01:18 PM

                                Manhattan - I'd probably go to Fuleen

                                Flushing - I'd go to Imperial Palace or Lake Pavilion

                                1. re: Lau
                                  w
                                  willtravel Jan 29, 2013 01:36 PM

                                  thanks Lau dont think I can get this group to Flushing altho I am sure it is worth while any recs for Manhattan Chinatown? thanks

                                  1. re: willtravel
                                    l
                                    Lau Jan 29, 2013 01:44 PM

                                    i said Fuleen although i guess you could do Oriental Garden...either one would probably be fine

                                    could also go congee village

                                    1. re: Lau
                                      w
                                      willtravel Jan 29, 2013 01:53 PM

                                      thanks Lau any recommended dishes for 10 person table at Fulee or Oriental?

                            3. re: Sloths
                              buttertart Feb 27, 2012 04:53 PM

                              Great to hear from you! Loved the restaurant and the people were so nice. We were regular customers as well. Really hope you do reopen. All the best to your family.
                              I always wanted to thank the chef for the wonderful food --

                              1. re: buttertart
                                s
                                Sloths Feb 28, 2012 07:07 AM

                                Some of my family members work at the restaurant too, so it was all a joint effort to keep the business up and running. Unfortunately we cannot avoid these types of situations. To be honest I did not eat there often as my dad brought the cooking home, haha. I wish I had though. I had my last meal there about a week ago. Thank you for the kind words.

                              2. re: Sloths
                                a
                                AubWah Feb 27, 2012 04:57 PM

                                The older gentleman waiter with the outstanding head of hair should try acting, he has a wonderful presence and gravitas.

                                1. re: AubWah
                                  buttertart Feb 27, 2012 04:58 PM

                                  "Our" waiter? A sweetie.

                                  1. re: buttertart
                                    a
                                    AubWah Feb 27, 2012 05:56 PM

                                    He's like Cary Grant

                                2. re: Sloths
                                  Chandavkl Feb 27, 2012 05:27 PM

                                  "several restaurants are going to be shut down in the vicinity"

                                  Wonder what others would be affected.

                                  1. re: Chandavkl
                                    sgordon Feb 27, 2012 07:30 PM

                                    Jing Fong overlaps into the same building, so you have to assume they'll be partially affected. If it's the building to the South as well, then New Malaysia and everything else in the arcade will be affected, I guess. That's a lot of businesses.

                                    1. re: sgordon
                                      buttertart Feb 28, 2012 05:38 AM

                                      Oriental Garden too?

                                      1. re: buttertart
                                        l
                                        Lau Feb 28, 2012 06:42 AM

                                        OG is the same building too, there are actually alot of pretty decent restaurants right there, hopefully it doesn't just blow all of them out

                                    2. re: Chandavkl
                                      s
                                      Sloths Feb 28, 2012 07:01 AM

                                      I believe a few restaurants in that tunnel between Elizabeth and Bowery will be affected. Unfortunately I cannot speak for those restaurants as I don't want to spread any false information. But yes, it's really sad. I don't have a time frame either. I believe my dad's lease ended the earliest so that's why we have to shutdown first.

                                    3. re: Sloths
                                      sing me a bar Feb 27, 2012 09:09 PM

                                      This breaks my heart. I consider your venue to be a main reason to stay in NYC! The crab in garlic sauce over noodles has been a staple that nourished my soul and body, over several winters. I would urge you to consider a way to take the formula and do this venue in a new location. I know every waiter and love even the occasionally unfriendly lady at the front desk. I always smiled at her and got her to smile. I used to take visitors from out of state here to enjoy the chaos, noise and phenomenal food. Done right, this is what old NY'ers call " a license to print money". If you have even the scantest aspirations in the food service industry, revive this place. I'll show up for sure!

                                      1. re: sing me a bar
                                        s
                                        Sloths Feb 28, 2012 07:02 AM

                                        Thanks for the kind words. I think by "unfriendly lady" you mean my aunt lol. There's also another cashier that works the later shift at times. Haha.

                                      2. re: Sloths
                                        sgordon Feb 28, 2012 07:39 AM

                                        Well this is really sad news. SCG had become a standby for us in a neighborhood with a lot of generic places, and was always the most reasonably priced of the better ones. Hopefully you'll find a new space - either in the new building or somewhere nearby - soon. I know there's a number of empty spaces on the other side of Bowery, which is probably cheaper.

                                        If you'd be interested in branching out of Chinatown, there's a couple spots that're empty on Clinton Street in the LES... and I certainly wouldn't complain if you were a block from my apartment!

                                        Do let us know what happens, or if your old chef (or was your father the chef as well?) finds a new gig elsewhere - I think I can speak for everyone here when I say we'd be happy to follow him wherever he winds up!

                                        1. re: sgordon
                                          s
                                          Sloths Feb 28, 2012 09:28 AM

                                          Haha, duly noted. Thanks for the tip. And yeah, he was one of the chefs. It's hard to give up a lease after 15~16 years because the rent everywhere else nowadays will most likely be more expensive. Add that onto finding the right location, as well as the investment that goes into renovating a restaurant - it really is a huge risk. I mean, the kitchen itself would probably cost $200,000 to $300,000+. We're just glad that we have many loyal customers.

                                          I will update you guys if anything comes up. Thanks.

                                          1. re: Sloths
                                            m
                                            MarilynW Mar 9, 2012 01:15 PM

                                            Was your dad the #1 Chef? Do you know if that chef is working at a different restaurant right now?

                                            Thanks.

                                        2. re: Sloths
                                          s
                                          syannelevovna Feb 28, 2012 09:43 PM

                                          Sloths, I'm so sorry to hear this about South China Garden! It is one of my favorite places to eat in Chinatown, and our go-to Father's Day spot. The oysters are HUGE and I love that the meat and veggies used to cook the soup are placed separately on the table. It's just good, solid food that I could have with my family and everyone would be happy.

                                          As far other restaurants, I always like to encourage people to try the places on Division Street. There is another restaurant that is a bit like South China Garden, but in a much smaller space. Fuleen Seafood and other restaurants between the bridge and Bowery are good alternatives.

                                        3. Polecat Feb 27, 2012 04:14 PM

                                          Hard to believe, but then nothing's permanent. We had some good times at this place. The crabs with ho fun was one of many favorites. Really sorry to hear this.
                                          p.

                                          1. Polecat Feb 27, 2012 09:39 PM

                                            My first dish here was pea shoots with egg, several years ago. It got me hooked on the joint. And, of course, there was the lobster with ginger and scallion and the fried chicken. Thanks for the memories.
                                            P.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Polecat
                                              s
                                              Sloths Feb 28, 2012 07:03 AM

                                              Thanks! My favorite dish - and vegetable - are pea shoots also. :)

                                              1. re: Sloths
                                                i8NYC Feb 28, 2012 08:37 AM

                                                GREASY.

                                                1. re: i8NYC
                                                  s
                                                  Sloths Feb 28, 2012 09:30 AM

                                                  GARLICKY.

                                                  1. re: Sloths
                                                    buttertart Feb 29, 2012 07:32 PM

                                                    Tasty!

                                            2. Chandavkl Feb 28, 2012 11:35 AM

                                              http://ny.eater.com/archives/2012/02/...

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: Chandavkl
                                                a
                                                AubWah Feb 28, 2012 04:02 PM

                                                Cantoon Garden was a place of great mystique and legend. I usually saw female chefs in the kitchen. For me it was lobsters xo, fried garlic chicken and peppers stuffed with fish paste that were my favorites. And the fish with bean curd casserole. I wonder where the best fish with bean curd casserole is in chinatown? I had it for lunch at Fuleen recently and it was ok, but not nearly as good as Cantoon.

                                                1. re: AubWah
                                                  Chandavkl Feb 28, 2012 04:42 PM

                                                  We were actually first attracted by the pineapple chicken with baby ginger. And we've never found the equivalent of this dish here in California. Even though they eventually discontinued that dish we kept going back since everything was so good.

                                                  1. re: Chandavkl
                                                    l
                                                    Lau Feb 28, 2012 04:52 PM

                                                    im a little distraught about this b/c it was my go to for family style that i knew would be good and since i went so much it was nice knowing the waiters

                                                    1. re: Lau
                                                      buttertart Feb 28, 2012 04:56 PM

                                                      You and me both, mister. It's like losing a friend.

                                                      1. re: sing me a bar
                                                        l
                                                        Lau Feb 29, 2012 08:16 AM

                                                        ive got a replacement in flushing, which i will write up as my next write-up

                                                        unfortunately, i dont have one in the city yet, im going to go try a recommendation from a friend this weekend who might be a replacement

                                                        1. re: Lau
                                                          Chandavkl Feb 29, 2012 09:24 AM

                                                          Truth is we probably won't find one in Manhattan since the hounds (like you) would have been on it already. My next choice is Yogee on Chrystie, but it's not the same kind of place.

                                                          1. re: famdoc
                                                            l
                                                            Lau Feb 29, 2012 11:59 AM

                                                            famdoc - my favorite chinese restaurant in NY is imperial palace / east lake (they have two branches in flushing, one is called imperial palace, the other east lake...taste exactly the same). it is very similar food to SCG

                                                            1. re: Chandavkl
                                                              s
                                                              syannelevovna Feb 29, 2012 09:46 AM

                                                              You guys should try Fuleen Seafood on Division.

                                                              -----
                                                              Fuleen
                                                              11 Division St, New York, NY 10002

                                                              1. re: Chandavkl
                                                                l
                                                                Lau Feb 29, 2012 10:28 AM

                                                                ive tried yogee before, but i wasn't in love with the beef stew that they are known for, but ive been meaning to go back to re-try it b/c it was a long time ago

                                                                -----
                                                                Yogee
                                                                85 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002

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