Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oriental Garden (福临门): New York

I had been in a bit of a rush before coming to New York, so was unable to do my usual research in finding recommended restaurants. In any case, even if I had done my due diligence, with the suspected food-poisoning mishap with Big Wong earlier in the morning, we might have scratched any earlier plans. My parents wanted a place that seemed higher quality and cleaner, for lack of a better word, since my Dad, while feeling better, still wasn't 100%.

We ended up settling on Oriental Garden in Chinatown, which fit out constraint. But which we didn't really enjoy.

My Mom really railed against this one, while I just thought this was mediocre.  I'll give her critiques in addition to mine below.

Lamb & Bean Curd Clay-Pot Stew (Jee Juk Yerng Yuk Bou)

This is lamb meat and tendons, bean-curds and some other stuff slow-cooked.
Mom: The lamb was not tender enough and the stew was overly salty.
Me: Agree that the lamb could have been much more tender and surprisingly thought the stew was okay, if not being boring and nothing inspirational.

Seasonal Vegetables with Fish Fillet (See Choy Chao Ban Kao)

Mom: The vegetables were not tender, both an error in not cooking fresh vegetables and poor cooking.   My Dad and Mom were spitting out unchewable vegetables from this and the next dish onto their plates.
Me: I munched right through the vegies.  I did notice they weren't as crisp as I would have liked, but what I more took offense at was the over-usage of oil in this and the next dish, which overly rounded-out the natural flavors of the ingredients and made the two dishes taste creepily similar on some level, when the ingredients should have such distinct tastes...

Chives w/ fried fishes  (gao choy fa)
The white strips are small, but whole battered fishes.
- See the dish above and apply the same critiques of this.  My Mom and Dad were also spitting out unchewable pieces of chives.

My Mom was complaining about this place the rest of the night and I think it was mainly because my Mom was closer to the bill :P and as a result, was very sensitive to the disproportionately high prices.

We did see a number of larger parties there for banquet-style dinners and when I asked why people would come here for banquets if the food was this bad, my Mom mentioned that a lot of the Chinese-style banquet dishes require specialized cooking techniques for the unusual ingredients.  So it was possible that the chefs were good specialists, at the expense of the basic dishes.

In any case, this particular day was not such a good one from a dining perspective.

Oriental Garden  (福临门)
14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013
(212) 619-0085
($Chinese, $NYC)

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