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Grace Garden: Dishes not on the Menu

Kurtis Oct 20, 2013 05:17 PM

I thought it would be good to start a new thread on this as current magnum opus started by crackers is bit long to sort through. Here's two I had recently when the chef asked me if I wanted to try something new - offer I never would refuse...

1. Deep fried pork rib garnished with fried lemon grass, onion, and garlic: nice crunchy flavor of fried lemon grass adds to the garnish of other fried aromatics in this simple but satisfying dish.

2. Stir fry with XO sauce: strips of pork, squid, along with chives, peppers, and dried small anchovies have layers of flavors and each component that come together nicely.

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  1. m
    Marty L. RE: Kurtis Oct 21, 2013 07:48 AM

    Thanks. The latter looks and sounds a lot like the dish at New Big Wong that KWagle and I were discussing in the "Ethnic Dives" thread a couple of weeks ago -- a new favorite of mine there. Would love to taste and compare Chef Li's version.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Marty L.
      Kurtis RE: Marty L. Oct 21, 2013 02:53 PM

      What is it called at NBW? The chef here called it as what I wrote.

      1. re: Kurtis
        Marty L. RE: Kurtis Oct 21, 2013 05:44 PM

        On the NBW menu it's something like "Sauteed Vegetables and Squid in the King," but I'm told that's not even close to the actual translation.

        1. re: Marty L.
          KWagle RE: Marty L. Oct 23, 2013 04:10 AM

          Here's something they had a few years ago, a bunch of the specials on construction paper. The other one is one of my other favorites, which is finally on the menu after being one of their best kept secrets for years.

    2. f
      flavrmeistr RE: Kurtis Oct 21, 2013 12:01 PM

      I bet the pork rib is awesome! Is it available at lunchtime?

      1 Reply
      1. re: flavrmeistr
        Kurtis RE: flavrmeistr Oct 21, 2013 02:54 PM

        Had this on a weekday dinner. I would call to find out if he has the pork ribs.

      2. Kurtis RE: Kurtis Oct 21, 2013 02:52 PM

        House Special Chilly Pepper Chicken- Dry Version.

        This one isn't likely to be new to most fans, but this dry version of the one on the menu is one of my all time favorites. Chef brought out an extra plate to cover the dish for a minute or so to infuse ma la into the chicken pieces which works beautifully. We've been bringing home the leftover pepper/ma la mix for home made ramen (or store bought) broth as recommended by the chef, and it gives nice smoky peppery ma la flavor to the broth.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Kurtis
          curioussheridan RE: Kurtis Oct 21, 2013 04:06 PM

          I love this

          1. re: Kurtis
            mookleknuck RE: Kurtis Oct 22, 2013 06:02 AM

            This looks delicious!

          2. KWagle RE: Kurtis Oct 23, 2013 03:35 AM

            I've had that squid stir fry I think. It's amazingly delicious.

            It's not very much like the NBW dish (whose Chinese name is something like 小炒皇 "small stirfry king" meaning the house special, since 'Wong' is 'king'.) The NBW dish uses dried squid, while Chef Li uses fresh squid, and the fish are also quite different, Chef Li uses the matchstick-sized ones. I believe the NBW dish uses a completely different mix of vegetables as well.

            I highly recommend you try them both. I need to do that also, maybe on Saturday. He also made us a second version of the pictured dish with pork belly, which was good, but not transcendent like the original.

            10 Replies
            1. re: KWagle
              mookleknuck RE: KWagle Oct 23, 2013 05:04 AM

              Quibble: 皇 is huang, like huangdi, or emperor.

              1. re: mookleknuck
                KWagle RE: mookleknuck Oct 23, 2013 05:48 AM

                Quibble with them... they do use the word 'king' in the name of the dish. A photo of the receipt shows the character in the name of the dish as 王. But the character on the front sign seems to be yet a different one, and I can't actually make it out.

                1. re: KWagle
                  mookleknuck RE: KWagle Oct 23, 2013 11:25 AM

                  =D I was correcting the translation/transliteration in your original two posts, without knowledge of the character NBW uses in their software.

                  旺 looks like the character on the front sign and is another wong.

                  Which dish did you like better, the one with fresh or dried squid, and why?

                  1. re: mookleknuck
                    KWagle RE: mookleknuck Oct 23, 2013 03:08 PM

                    Three Wongs in one restaurant. Sheesh.

                    I like them both a lot, but if I had to choose it would easily be Chef Li's dish--it has a brightness and freshness that the other dish doesn't, and a truly perfect mix of ingredients and flavors, and this is true of many of his dishes. The fuqi fei pian, for example, is qualitatively better than any I've had elsewhere.

                    He's one of the best cooks on the east coast, IMO, and I don't just mean Chinese food or ethnic food. It boggles my mind that so many of you balk at driving even an hour or two to eat there. Maybe I'll drive down on Saturday, though it's too late to order any of the other special dishes.

                    1. re: KWagle
                      mookleknuck RE: KWagle Oct 24, 2013 08:10 AM

                      High praise. I must try his fuqifeipian the next time I am able. Thanks!

                      1. re: mookleknuck
                        KWagle RE: mookleknuck Oct 25, 2013 02:28 AM

                        It's amazingly good... spoils me for every other version, and I love the stuff.

              2. re: KWagle
                Kurtis RE: KWagle Nov 4, 2013 11:47 AM

                Ok profs KWagle and mookleknuck, a lesson in chinese is nice but why not after generous sharing of other hidden dishes? : )

                1. re: Kurtis
                  curioussheridan RE: Kurtis Nov 4, 2013 03:41 PM

                  Yes-- so who's going to organize a "Hidden Treasures" trip to Grace Garden?

                  1. re: curioussheridan
                    KWagle RE: curioussheridan Nov 4, 2013 10:17 PM

                    I think YOU are the master of hidden treasures at Grace Garden!

                    We had the ribs today and they were excellent, though I didn't eat the garnish. We also had the stir-fry, but it didn't come with XO sauce, and I know this because we had the chicken with XO sauce, which was also excellent.

                    1. re: curioussheridan
                      mookleknuck RE: curioussheridan Nov 5, 2013 07:13 AM

                      I'll be available the second weekend of December; might I be able to interest anyone (Kurtis?? curioussheridan?? you do seem to know quite a bit) in organizing a "hidden treasures" trip to Grace Garden? My email is in my profile.

                2. w
                  Worldwide Diner RE: Kurtis Jul 13, 2014 09:04 AM

                  I finally had a chance to visit Grace Garden. I ordered 3 dishes - fish noodle, Sichuan Home-Style Beef Tendon, and shanghai bok choy stir-fry.

                  The fish noodle certainly is unique. I love the texture of the noodle - slightly firm but not the least bit fishy. Since the noodle tasted like noodle, I felt there should be more than a tiny bit of sausage and mushroom to give the dish more flavor.

                  The beef tendon is best described as mapo tendon. The ground beef sauce tastes like the sauce used in mapo tofu (but I haven't had their mapo tofu). Unfortunately, some chunks of tendon were undercooked, i.e., more rubbery/chewy than optimal. Excellent flavor in the sauce though.

                  So I haven't had the other highly touted dishes but based on what I had, I'd say it's very good, comparable to Hong Kong Palace (which is where I usually go).

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