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Congee on the Bowery


weinoo
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Went down to Congee on the Bowery last night - after both EA and GG raved, I figured it was time. We had an excellent crab congee (beware - it's a whole crab cracked in it's shell), and the congees are served in bubbling little clay pot cauldrons. Gingery and delish, w/o a doubt. The scallion pancake was one of the best in recent memory - not a speck of grease. The fried chicken that Asimov loved was good, but certainly did not erase the memory of hacked chickens I've had at home or, for that matter, at Grand Sichunan Int'l. (from the "live" chicken menu on 9th Avenue) or Shanghai Cuisine - admittedly different styles. And a sweet dish of Chinese greens (yu choy) simply sauteed with tons of garlic and ginger. Lots of other interesting items on the menu to try - many more congees for sure, but since it was just the two of us, I guess we'll be making the trek back. As it was, I gave away 1/4 of a chicken to a "gent" outside.

Oh yeah, wear sunglasses - it may be "midnight on the Bowery" (thanks, Black 47!), but it's high noon at Congee!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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  • 1 year later...

I'm going to be part of a group of 13 (possibly 14) at Congee this Sunday night. My father, with his dietary restrictions for health reasons, is content to eat congee for dinner (perhaps having tiny tastes of some other stuff, I'm guessing). Can those of you who know and like this restaurant please recommend dishes some of the rest of us might want? I've been a customer of Congee Village for years but have yet to patronize Congee. One interesting tidbit: I spoke with the manager tonight, and he told me he used to work at Congee Village and now owns Congee, but otherwise, there's no connection, and the ownerships are different. Thanks in advance. I'm looking forward to the visit.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Merry Christmas, Anil! What dumplings do you like there? Also, are there any flavors of congee you particularly recommend? This question is for you too, Suzanne, because my father will be having congee for dinner tomorrow while the rest of us eat a variety of dishes.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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The Sampan Porridge is sort of a little bit of this and a little bit of that -- all of the items (meat, squid, etc.) well-flavored. That's the one I remember best. I also remember that the congee there stays hot a nice long time, which is great if the meal takes a while for everyone else.

Please give your parents my best regards.

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My favourite congee is frogs; or sometime chicken - A plain congee will do too. I did notice than they have red coin ? dumplings; the pancakes were not what I expected in terms of crispiness on the exterior.

I do like dough with condenced milk (I think its in the dumpling section)

anil

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[...]the pancakes were not what I expected in terms of crispiness on the exterior. [...]

That sounds like a negative remark. Is it?

Thanks for the recommendations.

Has anyone had a seafood dish other than congee at this place? My mother wants to order some shrimp dish or other.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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We turned out to be not the 13 I made reservations for but 15 plus a baby; there were people my parents knew about and I didn't. :huh::shock: Anyway, I profusely apologized to the manager, and four members of our group were accomodated at a separate table. I think actually that 13 would have been hard to fit at the table we were given, anyway, and there was but one table, it seemed, that could have fit all of us, but it was in the VIP room and of course had been reserved before we made our reservations.

Anyway, the food was good. I will evaluate only the items I had a chance to taste:

The crab congee was very good and possibly better than the congee at Congee Village. The lotus root with red bean sauce was also quite good. I started off liking the sea bass with black bean sauce (and lots of onion), but ultimately decided that there was some taste in it that was off to me. That "off" taste was definitely intentional, and certainly, there was nothing at all wrong with the fish; it's just that the sauce wasn't entirely to my taste, and therefore, there was too much of it. :laugh: A dish of pea shoots came with a good deal of garlic and was also quite pleasant. But I think the two knockouts tonight were soft shell crabs fried with a really tasty spice rub that to my palate included both cayenne and paprika, and a whole chicken (including the head, which I ate) fried with lots of garlic and hacked. I heard reports from the other table of a good lamb dish, and those who like such things liked a dish of shrimps with walnuts, a dish I do not like (the walnuts are glazed with large amounts of sugar and the dish is served with a white mayonnaise sauce). The vegetarian congee reportedly was just OK and not that interesting. With all the controlled chaos tonight, I'd say the dinner was a success, and my mother was saying that she would go to the restaurant again. I would, too, happily (as long as I'm not expected to eat shrimp with walnuts), even if it's not my top choice.

I didn't handle payment but lobbied for a good tip because the staff were very accomodating under the circumstances.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 1 year later...

I've been getting Cantonese takeout and bringing it uptown to my parents' place around once a week lately. After having gone to Congee Village and Great NY Noodletown repeatedly, I decided to branch out and try Congee. I'm glad I did. My order was as follows:

16. Roast Duck & Meat Ball Porridge

53. Sauteed (Dungeness) Crab with House Special Sauce (2 orders)

H07. Deep Fried Chicken w. Garlic and Scallion Sauce (Half)

H63. Live Shrimp w. Fish Sauce

99. Sha Cha Beef in Casserole

With 3 rices (more than necessary because they were large rices and Sha Cha Beef is made with noodles), the total cost was $74.30, and man was that heavy to carry on the subway!

The congee was not nearly as tasty as I've gotten at Congee Village and NY Noodletown.

The dungeness crabs were GREAT!!!! Get them! The tomalley was particularly wonderful!

The House Special Chicken (by any other name) was excellent and I believe it was superior to the versions I've had at both NY Noodletown and Congee Village, though I prefer Congee Village's version to Noodletown's, and both of those versions are also good. The garlic and scallion sauce really improves the dish, and for all of it being deep fried, it is not very fatty at all.

The live shrimp were also great, and better than Congee Village's rendition.

The Sha Cha Beef was a creditable rendition, and my mother particularly liked the unexpected use of small pieces of canned pineapple, but Congee Village's version, with more sauce, is much tastier.

I went there Sunday night, and the place was absolutely packed, with a bunch of people waiting on line for both tables and takeout. This place deserves its popularity, and I will definitely be back for some of the same dishes and some other ones.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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