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Chengdu in Green Brook?

Anyone know if it's opened yet?

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  1. No,.....in about 3 weeks....that will place 2 new excellent chinese restaurants ½ mile from each other,...across the road (Rt. 22) is the Golden Cantonese.....excellent....can they compete with each other ?....time will tell......

    3 Replies
    1. re: LEOFONT

      Thanks, Leofont, I've been meaning to try Golden Cantonese, though for years our go-to place for Hong-Kong/Cantonese has been Wonder Seafood in Edison. Looking forward to the opening of Chengdu.

      1. re: albinoni

        My go-to Chinese was also Wonder in Edison,...now these two are closer to where I live..........

        1. re: LEOFONT

          We tried Golden Cantonese the other night, really liked it (we had the "giant" shrimp in superior sauce, and the pork chops with chili and special salt (at Wonder Seafood, this is called salt and pepper)--both were excellent. We will be back, though if Chengdu 1 Palace will be as good as I think it will, we will be going there a lot.

    2. To answer my own question--yesterday, my wife, who lacks my patience, searched on-line, got the Chengdu 1 website, which has a menu and phone number for Chengdu 1 Palace in Green Brook. She called and spoke to a live person who told her it would be opening in two weeks!

        1. Hello! chowhound!
          Eric here, (formerly of Amazing Hot Dog Verona/Boundbrook)
          I consider myself somewhat a personal friend of Lien, the owner of Chengdu 1. In fact he called me personally to tell me that they are opening I have been eating at the Cedar Grove location since he opened as it as right around the corner from AHD. After seeing the sign go up on Rt 22 (and almost crashing my car when I saw it, LOL!) I immediately drove to Cedar grove and played 20 Questions with Jessica my interpreter.

          As Curlz has stated, they are opening on Friday! I will be there with some folks. Without making a humongous effort of coordination (it's still the summer and "ain't nobody got time for dat") let's fill some tables people!! Bring some friends!

          If you do end up going, I would encourage all of us to remember that its day one for Lien in Greenbrook. While I trust that the food will be delicious, I will not be in critique mode, but more in the posture of helping him with his first dinner service. It's a critical day for a Restauranteur to see what works and what needs work.

          I'm posting a photo for nostalgia purposes. I no longer look anything like that. I'm skinny and bald now.
          Hope to see you there!
          Eric

           
          11 Replies
          1. re: ejebud

            sounds great! Eric, what time do you expect to be there?

            1. re: albinoni

              I'm thinking around 6:30. I'll probably be there for several hours.

              1. re: ejebud

                Sounds good. My wife is on board. I will try to round up some guys from my bike club who like spicy, as well as their wives, though from past experience, this can be like herding cats.

                1. re: ejebud

                  Only several hours? I thought you'd camp out for the weekend... ;-)

              2. re: ejebud

                Waiting to hear how things went last night. Ready to start planning my order for tonight !!

                1. re: sgschef

                  Four of us went there last night--it was their opening night, so I will cut them slack. The service was chaotic--waitresses appeared randomly, orders came in haphazardly, at one point they were screaming at each other across the room--obviously the place was understaffed with inexperienced help. I think the coup de grace was when they had three huge parties going on simultaneously, the smaller tables were totally ignored.

                  As far as the food, I have to be honest and say that I prefer Chengdu 23 in Wayne, or E-mei in Philly. Some it it was very good, good enough to go back and reorder or try some other dishes. Again, opening night is not for final judgments. I liked the spicy wonton app, they also had a very simple spicy cold broccoli app that was a killer. The kungpao chicken--a dish that has become ubiquitous on takeout menus, but was once unique and exotic, and, if done right, can still be revelational, was just ok--Chengdu 23's is far superior (either way, make sure you order it Sichuan as opposed to American style). We also had a sliced pork in spicy sauce, was loaded with chopped hot pepper which I got tired of picking out. Ants climbing a tree was made with cellophane noodles and minced pork, spicy, I took most of it home and just had it cold a few minutes ago and liked it better today. BTW, our friends, who know nothing about authentic Sichaun, ordered off the "special dishes" menu, which was nothing more than crappy westernized preps. One chicken dish was made with maple syrup.

                  1. re: albinoni

                    This is why I give new places a month or three to get their act together before trying them out. Certainly never would go on an opening night which pretty much will guarantee ongoing confusion...

                      1. re: equal_Mark

                        Except when you know the chef/owner and want to support them...nothing wrong with that, imo.

                        1. re: equal_Mark

                          NEVER NEVER go on opening night, or week, servers screwed up, kitchen the same, and management all prepared with their set of EXCUSES for same.

                    1. re: ejebud

                      Eric, great to see you posting and even better to hear from you. Thanks for all of the great info.

                      On an unrelated note -- did you open a new place? Thanks.

                    2. Just a FYI: They are BYO until the liquor license goes through so if you want to drink beer or wine BYO. Also, bring cash and small bills to make dividing up the bill easier.

                      1. HOW GREAT IS THIS ???....TWO EXCELLENT Chinese restaurants within a half mile of each other on Rt. 22 Green Brook,....the also new
                        Golden Cantonese across the highway from Chengdu !!

                        1. A quick update on Chengdu 1 Palace (CH1P) :
                          I have eaten there 3 times since Friday. That Friday was indeed their first dinner service and while having some service issues due primarily to the newness of the situation for a somewhat inexperienced waitstaff, I can say that they have shown a marked improvement in a few short days. The Managers name is Sam and he has been in the Asian restaurant business in NJ for more than 30 years. He is a big personality and the friendly face that greets you upon your arrival. The food is the constant here. With Lien (owner) being in the kitchen, it is virtually identical to the food in Cedar Grove. We had our goto staple dishes beginning with the Amuse Bouche? of pickled Broccoli stems and cabbage with Chili Oil. It is sublime in its simplicity and the vinegar prepares the pallate for the myriad of flavors to come. Typically, I ask for dishes in order of spiciness allowing the level of heat to build up over the course of the meal.

                          The Spicy Baby Wontons are a standout appetizer. They arrive swimming in an umami laden sauce that you'll want a straw to get every last drop; or at the very least you'll spoon it over some rice to eat between courses. The Dan Dan Noodles, while I prefer a greater amount of chew on my noodles, the flavor was spot on with a balanced blend of vinegar, heat and a splash of a Szechuan Peppercorn Oil

                          The entrees included several dishes, Gong Pao Chicken with Peanuts unlike you've ever had and this reviewers favorite version to date. The Spicy Lamb in Pepper Sauce was appropriately cloaked in Cumin and Szechuan Peppercorns and tossed in the Wok with dried red Chilis and pieces onion cooked just enough to lose the raw onion flavor but remain crisp tender and sweet. The token plate of green vegetable was Sautéed Snow Pea Tips and were refreshing and crisp. The Mapo Tofu was delicious with large cubes of A semi firm Tofu and all that great sauce. And finally, the Hot and Spicy Jumbo Prawns, served in the shell, was a fiery finish to a fantasticly authentic Szechuan meal.

                          I went back on Saturday night solo and sat at the bar where Liens daughter Ivy entertained me asking me 20 questions and being as cute as a button.
                          I was in the mood for crabs. (Btw, a lobster and crab tank are forthcoming in the near future, as is there liquor license; 2weeks out , I'm told for the license) after determining that they indeed had crabs that night, I simply asked for them "Ma La" which means Spicy and Numbing with Szechuan Peppercorns. The dish was absolutely stunning. Small pieces of crab in the shell that was rendered so crispy that you could eat it.

                          And this evening I returned yet again with my Dad to prove to him that not everything on the menu is killer spicy. I had the Spicy Baby Wontons, he had the Lamb Dumplings. Both excellent. For entrees he had General Tso's Chicken and Shrimp. The sauce was a bit thick, but I'm happy to report that it wasn't overly sweet, but not exactly the authentic General Tso's that contains no sugar at all. I had the Crispy Spareribs with Salt and Pepper. They were small rib pieces with a nice dusting of Salt and Pepper, no sauce.

                          A quick note about the Cedar Grove location: it is my understanding that the owner of CH1P is no longer involved with the Cedar Grove location. Their was a waitress by the name of Jessica, who took excellent care of me and my friends whenever we were there. It is my understanding that Jessica and her Husband have taken over the Cedar Grove location. She was basically running the place already. I'm assuming that the chefs in the kitchen in Cedar Grove remain so I trust that the food will also remain a constant there. I'm hoping for a bit of an overhaul of the dining room as I'm sure many of you are. I'm on it and will suggest to Jessica that very thing.

                          So needless to say, I will be a frequent diner at CH1P and so should you be. Go with a group and "Kill" the menu. You won't be disappointed .

                          Eric

                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                          1. We couldn't wait and had dinner there on Saturday night. The service was only a bit of a problem-quite a few waitresses who had little or no English, but the manager and another woman took care of any problems quickly-only issue is that we never did get our pea shoots.
                            The spicy wontons and lamb dumplings were wonderful as was the spicy large shrimp-really fresh and crunchy. We ordered a duck dish in special spicy sauce-it was like a slivered spicy Peking duck with pancakes that were almost see through-it was a great choice! We didn't see any amuse bouche-but I'm guessing it was just a 2nd night issue. Thank you for all the suggestions-what a great restaurant to have so close to home! We'll next work on some of the other suggestions. We will be sorry to see the liquor license come thru-much prefer bringing our own beverages.

                            1. We too couldn't wait to try the new Chengdu. Beside the fact that they've only been open a week, they were short staffed in both the kitchen and the front of the house. You know where this is going.
                              I'll preface all of my comments by saying that the food we had was VERY good, both the double cooked pork and the shrimp with ginger and scallions. The main problem was that we ended up waiting and hour for our food. We got there at 6:00. The affable host was VERY apologetic but that never got the food out to us. We were sitting in this alcove out front where there were 5-4 tops. There was a running joke in our little group that they sat all the non-Asians in that spot. I know it was coincidental.
                              The good thing was that none of us were getting fed so we got to have a good time together. My only gripe about the food was that the non-Sichuan food was a little greasy, but still delicious. We will go back in a couple of months after they have a chance to settle down a bit. In the meantime, we'll try Golden Cantonese Seafood and Dim Sum Restaurant across the street as they have gotten some very good reviews.

                              1. With the also new excellent Golden Cantonese across the road from
                                Chengdu, We are dining once a week at both places, to see who has the better food....it's early, but now it's too close to call
                                ....will report later on the decision making process.....one thing tho'....lucky chinese food lovers in Union county for having TWO excellents in the same area.....competition will keep both restaurants serving their best.

                                1. Hey Guys,
                                  Sorry for my delay in yet another update.
                                  I have great news! Your truly has entered into a professional relationship with the Owners of Chengdu 1 Palace in Greenbrook! It has been agreed upon that I assume a temporary role as a Front of House consultant to address the service issues that many of us have experienced. It is a great honor to be trusted by this family to oversee the FOH staff on the busy weekend nights and to help in the success of their restaurant. I will also be helping their American clientele to feel less intimidated by Szechuan food and answer any questions they may have regarding the menu and close the communication gap that is so often present when the staff is less than fluent in English. When the issues are resolved I will simply return to being a family friend and one VERY satisfied customer.

                                  Thank you to those who have already visited CH1 Palace and for allowing the food to speak for itself while exercising patience during this critical time for the family and their livelihood.

                                  I hope to see you all there!

                                  A little FYI, they intend on having a focus on Hot Pots. To this end, every table is equipped with an induction burner at each seat on the smaller tables and a larger single burner on the bigger tables. Lien spared no expense on equipment here, in fact the entire kitchen is brand new.

                                  If you go to CH1 Palace and you see me, please introduce yourself to me. If I am not there, please let the young man named Hong (he is the son of Lien) that you know(of) me.

                                  Xiexie (pronounced Shey Shey) Thank You!

                                  Eric

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ejebud

                                    Congrats Eric, that's a great idea. The poor guy (the larger of the 2 men running the front of the house when I was there) was completely overwhelmed and gave me a big hug when I told him to try to stay calm.
                                    As I stated in my last post, as much as we want to go back, we were going to wait a month or two for things to settle. Looking forward to meeting you there.

                                    jon

                                    1. re: ejebud

                                      Eric-
                                      I'll preface this by saying that due to the considerable distance from where I live that I haven't been in yet, but I'm hoping to remedy that soon. I think it's great that you're working with Lien and family; hopefully you can relay some of the reports I've been hearing--that people love the food, but they're experiencing some of the worst service they've ever had in a restaurant.

                                      As a longtime customer of Lien's and as someone who has brought dozens of people (really!) to his previous restaurant over the years, I *know* the food isn't an issue--but if they can't figure out the service problems, that will send people running--especially those who aren't loyal to the chef/owner! I don't doubt that there are some cultural differences in the approach to service, but one friend told me he overhead a group of Chinese people at another table complaining to one another, so this isn't strictly about that...

                                      Here's hoping you can lend a hand, because those of us who know you know your passion for stellar Szechuan and for the restaurant business!

                                    2. Thanks Curlz!,

                                      I want to say that last night was a much better night service wise. There is more work to do, and I'm up for the challenge. Hong, the son of Lien, has taken a greet interest in my feedback and has begun ongoing conversations with Lien and is making extensive notes to share with the FOH staff.

                                      I believe, and many customers confided in me that my presence is a welcomed addition. Our goal is to reduce wait times in all areas. Obviously, if the restaurant is full, people will wait for a table,however that's where the waiting will end. I love the tag line of a local plumber in my area, it is "sudden service". This means to me that POOF, WE ARE THERE. I am hoping to assist the staff in adopting this way of thinking and to incorporate a more western approach to the service of Lien's stunning and sublime Szechuan Cuisine.

                                      I met a few Chowhownders last night and they were happy to share their thoughts with me. Just know that none of your feedback lands on deaf ears. I reiterate to you all, that if you come to Chengdu 1 Palace, and please do, please introduce yourself to me. I stick out like a sore thumb so I'll be easy to spot, lol!

                                      Thanks for your support Chow Hounders!

                                      Eric

                                      1. OUR REVIEW.....After having two dinners each, and two luncheons at both Chengdu, and Golden Cantonese across the road, our decision is that Golden Cantonese is the winner,...as good, if not better than Wonder Seafood in Edison and West Lake in Matawan....service, selection, preparation, presentation, and authentic quality of food is superior than Chengdu...not only was the food superior, but it was the little things also that counted.....Chengdu would be a good choice if they didn't have Golden Cantonese as a qualty competitor,

                                        1. How does Chendu compare to Four Seasons Thai food wise?

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Tapas52

                                            For starters, you won't get the Szechuan peppercorn 'buzz' from any Thai restaurant... <grin>

                                            The food at C1P is strictly Chinese, with the focus on Szechuan--is that what you're asking?

                                            1. re: Curlz

                                              Thanks Curlz ....."strictly Chinese, with the focus on Szechuan"....

                                              that's all I needed to know....... REAL Sichuan food is another level for my tastes,...... Four Seasons Thai was a very enjoyable authentic eating experience, as is one of my favorites Han Dynasty for Sichuan ,.....I needed a towel to wipe the sweat from my head, but it was so dam good!! can't wait to go back.

                                              1. re: Tapas52

                                                That's one of the things I love about good Szechuan food...for whatever reason, the spice level doesn't kill my taste buds in the process, and when I have that good lip-numbing 'buzz' I don't even care how much 'glow' I have! :-)