Wither art thou, South China Garden?
Now that South China Garden (sigh, previous visit was so amazing that we went twice in a four day visit--http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7502...) is 86, do any places serving any cuisine in any area of Manhattan stand up equally or near to?
For our upcoming short trip, a sojourn out to my native Queens appears a tough sell. Many thanks in advance.
Of the Cantonese in Chinatown these days, Fuleen has been the most consistent of late. They're a little different than SCG - more focus on seafood - but excellent, with some creative and unexpected dishes you don't find elsewhere among the Casseroles and Chef's specialties.
Ping's can be good sometimes - also creative and significantly "cheffier" - though they're up and down. Some of Chef Hui's flights of fusion fancy work (like his fantastic Jicama Siu-Chow) and other don't (there's one dish that was, like, spaghetti with ketchup or something... reminded me of Tokyo teenager food you'd find on St. Mark's, only without Kewpie Mayo drizzled all over it...) - but for the classic dishes they're always pretty solid. I find them better at dinner than lunch, though.
There's always Oriental Garden, which is good and everything's super-fresh but I just find Fuleen a bit more exciting. OG, at least lately, I've found almost a bit too polished.... I always appreciated that Chef Wong didn't have such a heavy hand with sauces, and a more subtle palate - but a couple dishes I've had recently have gone beyond "subtle" and straight into "bland" territory. Still, they're always in the rotation - their oysters with ginger-scallion sauce are still the ones to beat, for me.
in short answer not in manhattan, i unfortunately feel like chinatown is dying a fast death
i agree with sgordon that if i were to pick a place now it would be Fuleen, i also agree with sgordon that the ingredients at OG are pretty decent, however i dont think their cook is very talented and i find their food to just be decent
you are in luck though if you decide to go to flushing. I like Imperial Palace / East Lake more than SCG and I also thought that Lake Pavilion was quite good
The familiar Cantonese flavor profiles and prominence of seafood and chicken at Imperial Gourmet make it a better choice than Fu Run for the character of the party--three businessmen of a certain age, two of whom have well traveled and adventurous yet somewhat inexperienced palates.
Should Flushing prove infeasible, however, the fall back is the midtown central Sichuan ghetto. Would we fare best at Szechuan Gourmet, China Cafe or La Vie en Sichuan... or...?
Choice is less about the cuisine than about the logistics. Nevertheless, here's how it lays out.
Imperial Palace in Flushing:
--Familiar flavor profiles
--Often moderate salt levels
--Easy shot by car for a key attendee who originally hails from Queens.
--Largely familiar flavors
--Eating crabs entails using one's fingers to suck the flavor from the shell
--Salt levels can be high, depending on who is cooking
--7 train for me, end to end.
Sichuan (Szechuan Gourmet, China Cafe, La Vie en Sichuan...?):
--Extensive familiarity with the oeuvre which facilitates ordering for the group yet still engenders an intensified sense of adventure
--Easy midtown central location for me, and also for another attendee arriving by Metro North.
--Too much ma la can be a shock; it's often accompanied by ultra high salt levels
--The variety and preparations are new.
--Quality of any of the choices doesn't seem as well plotted as Flushing Cantonese and Dongbei options.
--Many of these dishes I've had before while in China, especially the 'Muslim Lamb' which is sure to be a hit
--Total adventuring, great for me.
--At least it's close to the 7 train at Main St in Flushing; and just a door or two down from a now departed place I frequented in my youth, 'Old Roma'--heck, it could be the old 'Old Roma' in which case high score for nostalgia.
--In a new place, I'm sure to hit a few clunkers
--These are New York suburbanites who have been eating 'Chinese Food' their whole lives and may feel a somewhat uneasy in a 'linoleum joint'
--The 7 train is 30 minutes, about the same time as schlepping to Penn Station for the LIRR.
Can a 'Chinese car' from Grand Central to Flushing Main St. come in at $25? If so, what shall I google?
re: Steve Drucker
just call new golden horse (jin ma) 718-762-8888
why not just go to hunan manor? i like it the best of any chinese restaurant in mahattan. its spicy but less so than the sichuan places and not as salty. i think its less of a shock to those not familiar with chinese food. the decor isn't amazing, but it's passable and the staff is nice.
re: Steve Drucker
hmm i'd be careful about lunch almost all the chinese restaurants in NY seem to have their B-level chefs on at lunch, ive noticed material drop offs in quality at lunch at most of these places, so i dont usually eat at them at lunch. For example Imperial Palace is very mediocre at lunch, i ate there a few months ago for lunch and if i didn't know better i wouldve said this place isnt worth your time
re: Hunan Manor - follow my post in terms of what to order and i think you'll be happy