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Feb 10, 2013 04:54 PM

New Year's menu at Tang Pavilion -- worth checking out

We had a delicious New Year's Day luinch at Tang Pavilion today. They have a menu of specialties for the occasion, which is well worth your attention.
Our lunch consisted of perfect, greaseless spring rolls (regular menu) (no photo, they vanished as soon as they hit the table), nian gao -- rice cake with Chinese bacon and sausage, dou miao with winter bamboo shoot (the dou miao was excellent, not the horse fodder often served elsewhere), both from the specials menu, lion's head with Shanghai cabbage, and a whole fish (xihu cuyu, "steamed fish with sweet and sour sauce", from the regular menu. The sauce on the fish was a bit oversweet and it was a tilapia -- the dish is supposed to be made with a freshwater fish) -- but we asked for some extra black vinegar and that perked matters up.
Honeydew melon and orange slices followed. This and the xiao cai served before the meal, cucumbers in a vinegar and sugar marinade, mao dou (edamame) with xue cai (Chinese "red-in-snow" pickled veg), and pungent pickled turnips, were on the house.
This is a restaurant that we are very fond of but that gets little love on the board. If you stick with the Shanghainese specialties, which are clearly marked as such on the menus, you will have a very good meal. We've spent considerable time in the region and know the cuisine. Jiangzhe food is meant to be subtly-flavored and a little on the sweet side.

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  1. Sorry, not particularly familiar with the Jiangsu greatest hits, but we enjoy the Southern food a lot. What can you recommend at Tang (say, a dinner for 4)? Additionally, is there anything super-special? (given that I live pretty close to Flushing) Maybe, something not too sweet?

    Happy Lunar New Year to you and your family!

    1. Gong Xi Fa Cai! Thanks for your report. I will check out the Shanghainese dishes at Tang on your recommendation.

      1. Thanks diprey11 and Pan, same to you!
        Other dishes we like there a lot: ham and winter melon soup, bai ye with pork strips, mao dou, and xue cai, scallops and squid with bamboo shoots and xue cai, asparagus with lily bud (in season), chicken with yellow leeks. Dong Po pork is also excellent. None of these except the last is sweet.

        1. Thanks for the update. Are those same two owner/brothers still around?

          1 Reply
          1. re: scoopG

            They sold out to people who worked there about 6 months or so ago, and retired, one to Taipei (I think maybe Beitou) and one to Manhattan. It seems their sister is on the city council in Taipei.

          2. what dish would you replace the xihu cuyu with? you seem to be luke warm on it and i find that dish alot of the fish they use ends up having that muddy flavor i dislike

            4 Replies
            1. re: Lau

              This was definitely on that side, and really sweeter than I like/it should be. That was the weakest part of the meal. I'd go for the squid and scallops with bamboo, etc.

              1. re: buttertart

                ahh ok, yah i don't like that flavor at all

                1. re: Lau

                  That's why I like Szechuan Gourmet for douban yu etc, they use striped bass.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    yah thats why in the US i generally only get whole fish at cantonese restaurants where i can specify what kind of fish i want