Danny Ng’s Place – In Search of a Replacement For South China Garden (Part 3)
**THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED**
I’ve tried two other places trying to find a good Manhattan-based replacement for South China Garden, which you can see here and here. Although I liked both, I didn’t think either of them were replacements. However, I found a decent replacement in Danny Ng’s.
Danny Ng is a somewhat well known Chinatown Cantonese chef / restaurant owner that used to run Danny Ng’s on Pell Street, which closed and then later re-opened at its current location on Bowery just south of Canal. Amazing 66 and Sing Kee have some affiliation as well although I’m not sure if it’s actual ownership or the chefs just used to work at Danny Ng’s.
The restaurant is located on the ground floor in a weird space below the now defunct Golden Bridge, which was located above it on the 2nd floor. It’s set back between two staircases and the restaurant has no windows, so keep your eyes peeled as it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking. It’s typical Chinatown décor in that there isn’t much although it seems relatively clean. The clientele was almost strictly Cantonese Chinatown local type families. The servers were reasonably nice and seemed to speak Chinese and English, so I don’t think communication should be much of a problem.
Here’s what we got:
Pork Bone Soup:
This was given as complementary soup. It was a simple soup made from boiling pork bones with seasonings, but it was executed nicely as you could tell they didn’t cut corners and the soup was boiled properly so that you could taste the pork flavor. It was clean, light and not too salty. 7.75/10
Roast Chicken with Preserved Cabbage:
This was typical Cantonese style chicken although I believe it is fried and not roasted as the English name says. The skin was perfectly crispy and the meat was tender and juicy. They topped it with minced preserved cabbage (mei cai 梅菜), which was very good, giving the chicken a nice salty and pickled flavor. It all went together very well and I thought they did a really good job on this dish. 8.5/10
Sauteed String Bean with Minced Pork:
This was a standard version with string beans sautéed in oil with minced ground pork, but it ended up being the only weak dish of the night. I prefer this dish with black bean in it, I also like my string beans a little more tender and thought it wasn’t dry enough and therefore didn’t get the good wok hay that you get when you make this dish well. Wok hay is the somewhat smoky flavor you get from cooking in a wok at a very high temperature, which good Chinese chefs get. 6.75/10
Baked Lobster with Cheese:
This is a house specialty that sounds kind of weird, but I heard that it’s good from some friends and the waiter also recommended it. Its fried pieces of lobster in a light cheese batter. The result looks sort of ugly actually, but tastes pretty good. The cheese is mild tasting and goes pretty well with the lobster which was nicely fresh. It’s little hard to explain, but everyone thought it came out pretty decent. 8/10
Pan Fried Chilean Sea Bass:
I asked the waiter for a fish recommendation and he recommended this. It’s a filet of Chilean sea bass that was breaded, fried and then topped with a thicker sweet soy sauce. The outside was very crispy, but the meat was very tender. The sauce on top was almost like a teriyaki sauce, but not quite as sweet or thick. It was different than I was expecting, but everyone at the table thought this was quite good. They also gave you French fries with the dish, which was kind of weird. 8.25/10
Peking Pork Chops:
This is an old school Cantonese classic that I really like. It’s simply fried pork chops in a sweet and sour sauce. The downfall of this dish is either the batter is too thick and oily or the sauce is too gloppy or too watery. However, the version here was one of the better versions I’ve had in a while as it had none of the downfalls that I just mentioned and was really pretty addictive. 8.25/10
Steamed Dungeness Crab with Sticky Rice:
This is the dish that I always get at Imperial Palace / East Lake, which you can see here. I was quite interested to try it since I barely see it in the city. The flavor of the rice was pretty decent with a nice crab flavor. However, the texture was definitely not as good as Imperial Palace / East Lake where it’s very al dente; it was mushier here. Also, they didn’t put enough of the fried garlic and scallions on top so while it tasted good it wasn’t quite as flavorful as Imperial Palace / East Lake. Overall though I thought it was tasty and worth ordering, but a notch below Imperial Palace / East Lake’s version. 7.75/10
Green Bean Soup:
This was complementary dessert soup. It was the typical sweet green bean soup with tapioca in it. It was pretty decent. 7.5/10
Overall, this was a very satisfying meal as the execution on the food is definitely a notch up from other restaurants in Chinatown and this is a good replacement for South China Garden.
52 Bowery, Ground Floor (between Bayard St & Canal St)
New York, NY 10013
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