Every Christmas a bunch of pals and I head down to Chinatown for Christmas dinner. Not only because we love Chinese food, but because we’ve had enough of Christmas by that time, and need an escape. Chinatown provides a religion-neutral, anti-holiday setting, and accommodating big groups is a natural for them. What’s more, Chinese food requires communal dining (though eating off each other’s plates is something we do all the time anyway).
For years, our Christmas-day standby was Danny Ng (pronounced “Eng”) on Pell Street, but it went out of business over a year ago. Luckily, a new version of the restaurant popped up at 52 Bowery on the ground floor, below what was once the Silver Palace. The restaurant specializes in old-guard Cantonese food, but adds some modern Hong Kong and Lower East Side fusion twists.
Starting at 4pm, our party of 11 plowed through a total of 12 dishes, not pushing back from the table till around 5:30. Here are some of the highlights:
Fried tofu with black mushrooms and snow peas was a delight,
and so was the beef chow fun, “with gravy.”
The cubed flounder with salt and pepper did not seem nearly as greasy as it looks in the picture, and it disappeared in short order,
and so did the “salty fish and chicken fried rice,” a Hong Kong-style staple.
Wisely, I think, we skipped the fusion-ey “house special baked lobster with cheese, but sheer curiosity caused us to order sliced pastrami with spinach. It was a mistake.
An obligatory order was Danny Ng’s most famous invention–“short rib beef in pumpkin.” The waiter dramatically slashes it open with a dangerous looking knife, and this is the result:
So, with the dragons’ eyes blinking red and green above us, that was how we ended our meal. See you next Xmas!