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Danny Ng’s Place – In Search of a Replacement For South China Garden (Part 3)

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**For full post and pics**: http://www.lauhound.com/2012/07/danny...

I’ve tried two other places trying to find a good Manhattan-based replacement for South China Garden, which you can see here (http://www.lauhound.com/2012/06/orien...) and here (http://www.lauhound.com/2012/06/hop-s...). Although I liked both, I didn’t think either of them were replacements. However, I found a decent replacement in Danny Ng’s.

Danny Ng is a somewhat well known Chinatown Cantonese chef / restaurant owner that used to run Danny Ng’s on Pell Street, which closed and then later re-opened at its current location on Bowery just south of Canal. Amazing 66 and Sing Kee have some affiliation as well although I’m not sure if it’s actual ownership or the chefs just used to work at Danny Ng’s.

The restaurant is located on the ground floor in a weird space below the now defunct Golden Bridge, which was located above it on the 2nd floor. It’s set back between two staircases and the restaurant has no windows, so keep your eyes peeled as it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking. It’s typical Chinatown décor in that there isn’t much although it seems relatively clean. The clientele was almost strictly Cantonese Chinatown local type families. The servers were reasonably nice and seemed to speak Chinese and English, so I don’t think communication should be much of a problem.

Here’s what we got:
- Pork Bone Soup: This was given as complementary soup. It was a simple soup made from boiling pork bones with seasonings, but it was executed nicely as you could tell they didn’t cut corners and the soup was boiled properly so that you could taste the pork flavor. It was clean, light and not too salty. 7.75/10
- Roast Chicken with Preserved Cabbage: This was typical Cantonese style chicken although I believe it is fried and not roasted as the English name says. The skin was perfectly crispy and the meat was tender and juicy. They topped it with minced preserved cabbage (mei cai 梅菜), which was very good, giving the chicken a nice salty and pickled flavor. It all went together very well and I thought they did a really good job on this dish. 8.5/10
- Sauteed String Bean with Minced Pork: This was a standard version with string beans sautéed in oil with minced ground pork, but it ended up being the only weak dish of the night. I prefer this dish with black bean in it, I also like my string beans a little more tender and thought it wasn’t dry enough and therefore didn’t get the good wok hay that you get when you make this dish well. Wok hay is the somewhat smoky flavor you get from cooking in a wok at a very high temperature, which good Chinese chefs get. 6.75/10
- Baked Lobster with Cheese: This is a house specialty that sounds kind of weird, but I heard that it’s good from some friends and the waiter also recommended it. Its fried pieces of lobster in a light cheese batter. The result looks sort of ugly actually, but tastes pretty good. The cheese is mild tasting and goes pretty well with the lobster which was nicely fresh. It’s little hard to explain, but everyone thought it came out pretty decent. 8/10
- Pan Fried Chilean Sea Bass: I asked the waiter for a fish recommendation and he recommended this. It’s a filet of Chilean sea bass that was breaded, fried and then topped with a thicker sweet soy sauce. The outside was very crispy, but the meat was very tender. The sauce on top was almost like a teriyaki sauce, but not quite as sweet or thick. It was different than I was expecting, but everyone at the table thought this was quite good. They also gave you French fries with the dish, which was kind of weird. 8.25/10
- Peking Pork Chops: This is an old school Cantonese classic that I really like. It’s simply fried pork chops in a sweet and sour sauce. The downfall of this dish is either the batter is too thick and oily or the sauce is too gloppy or too watery. However, the version here was one of the better versions I’ve had in a while as it had none of the downfalls that I just mentioned and was really pretty addictive. 8.25/10
- Steamed Dungeness Crab with Sticky Rice: This is the dish that I always get at Imperial Palace / East Lake, which you can see here (http://www.lauhound.com/2012/03/imper...). I was quite interested to try it since I barely see it in the city. The flavor of the rice was pretty decent with a nice crab flavor. However, the texture was definitely not as good as Imperial Palace / East Lake where it’s very al dente; it was mushier here. Also, they didn’t put enough of the fried garlic and scallions on top so while it tasted good it wasn’t quite as flavorful as Imperial Palace / East Lake. Overall though I thought it was tasty and worth ordering, but a notch below Imperial Palace / East Lake’s version. 7.75/10
- Green Bean Soup: This was complementary dessert soup. It was the typical sweet green bean soup with tapioca in it. It was pretty decent. 7.5/10

Overall, this was a very satisfying meal as the execution on the food is definitely a notch up from other restaurants in Chinatown and this is a good replacement for South China Garden.

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  1. I loved SCG and so I'm delighted to read about Danny Ng as a possible replacement. I will try it soon.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lacrosse_Gastronomic

      yah the execution was pretty good, much better than most other restaurants in chinatown

      i'd like the try more dishes, but this first meal was as enjoyable as my meals at SCG

    2. For some reason, all the restaurants that Danny Ng was associated with, that I've tried, seem to do a very good rendition of the stir fried lobster with cheese.

      I liked their version of the steamed crab over sticky rice as well. But I did mine as takeout and so it was just lukewarm when I got it back to my office in midtown.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

        yah it seems to be some specialty of his, he does a good job on it

      2. The old location did the pumpkin ribs thing, the dish where the ribs are stuffed inside the pumpkin. I had it a long time ago but recall liking it better at DNng's than at other places, such as Amazing 66.

        If they still have it, it's the type of dish you need to order ahead of time.

        P.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Polecat

          they still have it, i saw it on some other table and i dont think u have to pre-order it at Danny Ng's (i know u have to pre-order it at Amazing 66)

          if you look at my post on Hop Shing, I recently just got it there too

          1. re: Lau

            Didn't Ng start up Amazing 66 and then leave, or am I just having an MSG flashback?
            P.

            1. re: Polecat

              that might've been it, i can't really remember the relationships other than i'm pretty sure they're all related in one way or another

              1. re: Polecat

                I believe Chen Ge, the original (still current?) chef at A66, as well as some of the FOH staff came from the original Danny Ng when it closed - there was some talk about it back in the day when they first opened on the boards here. I don't think Ng himself had anything to do with it personally, though.

                1. re: sgordon

                  when was the last time uve been to A66? i havent been in a long time, wonder if its still good. it was good when it first opened although it depended on what you ordered as the dishes were kinda hit or miss

                  1. re: Lau

                    For a full dinner, it's been awhile - I hit them a couple times for lunch when I was on jury duty back in February, it was decent. Had roast chicken w/ preserved veg, good if nothing mind-blowing, and a sautee of dried squid & silver fish that was decent, though it didn't compare to Ping's Siu-Chow.

                    Been meaning to go back for dinner at some point, do a couple of the advance-order dishes (shrt rib & pumpkin, stuffed chicken, etc.) to see how they're holding up.

          2. I love Danny Ng's. But he told us that it's likely that the building is slated to be torn down, and they will likely close within a year or so. Too bad.

            10 Replies
            1. re: BTaylor

              thats really annoying, round 2 on south china garden since the same thing happened to them

              hopefully he'll re-open somewhere else if / when that happens

              i want to try sing kee, someone told me its fairly similar

              1. re: Lau

                I dropped by Danny Ng's and Sing Kee on the same day and the menus and prices were nearly identical. I thought I was hallucinating.

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  yah they're related in some way, but im not sure if its just one of the chef's or whether danny ng actually has some ownership in it

                2. re: Lau

                  It's especially annoying because the people that got Golden Bridge closed kept all other restaurants out. Anyone that wanted to open a Chinese restaurant in that space had to hire the old GB workers or the coffins/protesters would come back. That's why that space has been empty for years.

                  Don't get the crab over rice at Sing Kee. They give you a ridiculously small portion of rice. My favorite part of that dish is the rice. The stir fried lobster with cheese is excellent.

                  1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                    interesting, its too bad that happened

                    thats weird, the rice is cheap the crab is obviously the expensive part. seems like this cheese lobster is a specialty of the chefs there

                3. re: BTaylor

                  Somebody should look more closely as to what is going on that block that spans Bowery to Elizabeth St. There could be a lot of restaurants at risk there.

                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    i think thats right, the ones further north toward where SCG was, i think alot of those buildings are going to change unfortunately

                        1. re: Chandavkl

                          Seems that whatever's in the works will be confined to 50 Bowery. The tenants in the arcade (46-48 Bowery) are acting as if they'll be around for a while. Two of them just did extensive renovations: the former Coluck space, not yet open, and New Malaysia, which just reopened as West New Malaysia.