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New Green Bo


Fat Guy
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Would somebody please run down the list of all the dishes one should order at New Green Bo, aside from the dumplings?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I will list all the dishes I have tried there that I consider worth ordering. Understand that some of them have not been ordered in over a year, but most have been:

Apps

Seafood Dumplings

Vegetable Dumplings

Pork Soup Dumplings

Crab & Pork Soup Dumplings

Scallion Pancake

Turnip Cakes

Kau Fu

Mock Duck

Crispy Eel

Bean Noodle soup with Fish Balls

Sea Cucumber and Yellowfish Soup

Mains

Pork Ball with Vegetable

Pork Ball Casserole

Sea Cucumber in Brown Sauce

Fried Yellow Fish

Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Seafood Rice Cakes

Shanghai Pan Fried Noodles

Stuffed Bean Curd Skin with Pork Casserole

The vegetable that accompanies the Pork Ball is that delicious Chinese squash whose name eludes me now (anyone?) All of the sea cucumber dishes are good, but the brown sauced one is my fave. The eggplant has a particulary slimey texture at New Green Bo, but I mean that in a good way. It is a bit sweet, which I don't mind since it's also spicy. I didn't list them, because I don't remember what they are called, but you will see several dishes in the soup section that are all priced over $10. These are over-sized main dish one pot meals containing fish, as I recall. I have tasted more than one of these, and they have never dissapointed.

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Thanks Haggis. Were I to narrow the field to, say, four apps and four entrees, what would be the best of the best in your opinion?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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If you want me to think of the four in each category that taste the best, and not necessarily in terms of putting together a dinner where the dishes play off each other in concert, I'd go with the crab & pork soup dumplings, the scallion pancake, the kau fu and the mock duck for the starters. Then the four tastiest of the mains I listed would probably be sea cucumber, fried yellowfish, seafood rice cakes, and porkball with vegetable. You have to appreciate the very glutenous feel of the rice cakes to enjoy them as much as I do, so if you don't, then go with the stuffed bean curd skin with pork casserole as your fourth dish. If you choose any of my suggestions, please post if you loved or hated any, I will want to know either way.

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Haggis certainly has the place sussed. On my only visit several weeks ago I had the crab/shrimp soup dumplings and scallion pancakes, both winners. I also loved the Crispy Whole Fish and Pea Shoots with Garlic.

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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I usually go by myself, so I don't often get big dishes, but I'd recommend the following:

Cold Dishes:

Seaweed

Spicy Cabbage

Aromatic Sliced Beef

I think the Kau Fu is better at the places across the street.

NGB makes a pretty good Noodles with Meat Sauce. I also like their Smoked Fish Noodle Soup, their Aromatic Beef Noodle Soup, and various other noodle soups.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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So wait a second. Nobody is including the fried pork dumplings -- which are my entire list -- on his or her short list? I think they're the best in the city and perhaps the best I've ever had.

Noodles with meat sauce: is this the ground pork in brown sauce over noodles dish?

What's the deal with the scallion pancake? Is it something unusual/non-generic or just a really good rendition of the standard scallion pancake?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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FG:

I tend to get steamed rather than fried dumplings, so I don't think I've tried the fried pork dumplings at NGB.

Yes on the Noodles with Meat Sauce. Ground pork, tofu skin, scallions, etc. Very pleasant dish.

The scallion pancakes are good in all of the good Shanghainese places I've been to, which includes all 3 places on Bayard St. between Mott and the Bowery (at least, I think I've tried the scallion pancakes in all three).

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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What's the deal with the scallion pancake? Is it something unusual/non-generic or just a really good rendition of the standard scallion pancake?

The latter.

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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  • 7 months later...

Went to New Green Bo recently with a friend. For whatever reason just had never been a place I went into in the past but I thought I'd give it a shot based on comment here. In a word, feh! The soup dumplings looked and tasted like they had been left out for a while after they were made, and then they were frozen. The component parts were there for a good dumpling but the care in the handling was not. So the crab roe on the top was really hard and kind of a turn off. The wintermelon soup we had had no real body to the broth, and was just okay at best. The service was inattentive despite the fact that we were virtually the only customers there. Not an auspicious meal at all, and not real hot to return.

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Service often sucks there, but the low quality of the food you had surprises me. Be that as it may, try Yeah Shanghai Deluxe across the street next time. You'll have better service and better food. And even better decor, as a bonus.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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We went to NGB just this monday and the soup dumplings were as delicious as ever.

Our server was a lady I haven't seen before, and she gave us the biggest smiles I've seen in NGB (after she came from the kitchen with a whole sea cucumber to show us that this is what we ordered and to ask if that's ok :biggrin: - when we approved the smile came and stayed with her until we left)

Dumpling, it must have been an off night, who knows. I've never been disappointed by their soup dumplings yet.

Funny thing about YSD - every time we intend to try it, there's something - either they have a private party, or they're closed for the night (we're late diners). On Monday they closed at 8 pm for a "New Year's private gathering".

The human mouth is called a pie hole. The human being is called a couch potato... They drive the food, they wear the food... That keeps the food hot, that keeps the food cold. That is the altar where they worship the food, that's what they eat when they've eaten too much food, that gets rid of the guilt triggered by eating more food. Food, food, food... Over the Hedge
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Mistinguett, that's just because this is New Year's week. I've probably been to YSD at least 50-odd times and have yet to be turned away. I think they're open until 11 P.M.; is that incorrect? Is it 10 on weekdays?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 1 year later...

From THE BEST: Chinese Dumplings:

Other than dumplings, what other items would you recommend I order on my second visit to New Green Bo?

Aside from the fried pork dumplings, soup dumplings and boiled pork and leek dumplings, an absolute must-have is the scallion pancake. Best in the city, I think. We also very much like the rice cake dishes and usually get the mushroom rice cake. Last time out I think we had spinach and mushroom Shanghai lo mein, which was very good.

Moderator's note: Two threads were merged starting with the following post.

Edited by Pan (log)

--

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  • 6 months later...

Future Choices New York City Entry #19

I have been eating at Chinese restaurants for a half century: every Jewish child's birthrite, our mess of pottage. There are many mysteries in eating Chinese food for those who are not restaurant brats, the offspring of the owners and staff. One that I have puzzled about for decades is what I describe as "menu excess." The question is one of how and why.

A group of us ate tonight at Green Bo Restaurant in Chinatown (most guides call the restaurant New Green Bo, but the menu has dropped the "New." Perhaps they have noticed that years have passed.)

The Green Bo, a highly regarded Shanghai restaurant, has 284 items on its menu, and this figure does not include the off-menu items that are available. Yes, if one ate every meal at the Green Bo for a year (by no means a torture), one would be able to determine one's favorite dish. Each Chinese restaurant provides Future Shock, Alvin Toffler's term for a surfeit of choice. However, unlike Toffler's vision of corporate options, Chinese restaurants provided these abundant options without the prodding of a head office.

Would a restaurant with 117 or 89 choices be scorned as pathetically limited? And how can one select between "Fish Head Casserole," "Duck with Part Tendon in Brown Sauce," or "King Sea Cucumber in Shrimp Seed Sauce." Well, we always do choose, but I often feel buyer's remorse, speculating that the truly heavenly dish was precisely the one that when the moment came to order I decided to skip. Aside from the question of how the cooks produce all these choices (an explanation that many a chef can provide to an ignorant diner), the other question is what a menu of this size is supposed to do for a restaurant. Does the size of a menu correlate with quality? Government funding is required.

This came to mind as I was instructed to make menu choices for our group of six. Eventually I selected nine dishes (five appetizers, four main courses), some selected through the welcome advice of The Chowhound's Guide to New York Tristate Area, a guide with all of the literary charm, organizational efficiency, and quality control of the website from which it takes its name. I appreciate the suggestions, but wonder if I might have done as well using a menu and set of darts.

At its best Green Bo is superb. I found three of our nine dishes memorable. Green Bo is properly known for its soup dumplings. We ordered the dumplings with crab and pork, and they were splendid. Opening each dumpling the enclosed soup exploded with an aromatic tingle. We agreed that these dumplings were the pinnacle of the evening. Also excellent was the plate of crispy eel, looking for the world like a purple haystack of shoestring potatoes - an architectural achievement that any fusion chef might have envied. The hoisin sauce (perhaps with some plum sauce as well) added a sweetness that was quite unexpected in coating the eel. The deep frying of the eel strips made the taste less aquatic than might be imagined, subtle, and perhaps slightly overwhelmed. Our scallion pancake was certainly tasty, although few Chicagoans would choose these crispy pancakes over the canonical feathery version at Ed's Potsticker House.

Less appealing was a cool Preserved Duck. The dish tasted more like cold duck than a dish that had been preserved with aromatic spices. The remaining skin made the dish disappointingly fatty without a distinctive taste. Our aromatic beef was rather tough and less aromatic than I had expected, although the sweet and hot sauce was pleasant enough.

My favorite main course was "Shredded Pork and Preserved Cabbage Rice Cake." Not everyone at the table enjoyed the somewhat gelatinous rice cakes, but I did. However, it was the sauteed preserved cabbage that tied the dish together both texturally and in taste. Also very good was the "Yellowfish with Dried Seaweed," astonishingly light fish sticks that could float away on their own juices. This dish challenges a very few Southern fried chickens for entry in the Deep-Fryer Hall of Fame.

Our Braised Pork Meatballs (Lion's Head) with Shanghai Cabbage was pleasant enough, although lacked a distinctive taste: an inflated sphere of ground pork in a rather bland and thickened sauce. The whole fish Szechuan Style (I didn't catch the species, perhaps it was yellowfish) was mushy with a thick layer of peppery hot sauce. It was prepared with a heavy hand, never a good sign for a delciate white fish.

Every restaurant has its specialities and each diner has favorites, the problem - particularly acute in conditions of menu excess - is one of matching. Eating out is a dating game. But now I have my favorites at Green Bo, and upon my return I know what to order, allowing my partners to explore the remaining 275 options.

Green Bo

66 Bayard Street

Manhattan (Chinatown)

212-625-2359

My Webpage: Vealcheeks

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I enjoyed that report, and clearly, you did hit some good dishes. But I would suggest that, along with trying some more of New (or old, or whatever) Green Bo's menu items, you also go across the street and try Yeah Shanghai. Moon House is also probably still worth a visit, though I've stuck with Yeah for some time, partly because the decor in the back room is so much more pleasant than the harsh fluorescent lighting in the single dining room in Moon House.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I enjoyed that report, and clearly, you did hit some good dishes. But I would suggest that, along with trying some more of New (or old, or whatever) Green Bo's menu items, you also go across the street and try Yeah Shanghai. Moon House is also probably still worth a visit, though I've stuck with Yeah for some time, partly because the decor in the back room is so much more pleasant than the harsh fluorescent lighting in the single dining room in Moon House.

I have to second the suggestion to try Yeah Shanghai. A few weeks ago a friend of mine innocently asked "what makes a good dumpling". Rather than giving him a verbal answer this led to a weekend long exploration of Chinese and Korean dumpling places in the city so he could come to his own conclusion. For soup dumplings we went to New Green Bo, Moon House, and Yeah Shanghai (in that order). Of the three we both concluded that the best was Yeah Shanghai. Their dumpling skins were perfect, not too thick or thin, cooked though but al dente in texture, and not a single one that was prematurely broken either in the steamer or when picked up. Also the consistency of their filling and the savory broth inside were the best. New Green Bo came in as a close second with a thicker skin, saltier broth and firmer meat filling. Moon House was disappointing compared to the other two, most of the dumplings had already ruptured in the steamer or fell apart when picked up. The dumplings were overcooked to the point the skins had gotten saturated with the broth on the bottom. Also they really cut corners on the cabbage they used to line the steamer. There wasn't enough so the dumplings would stick to the bottom in places and the little cabbage they used was on the brink of spoiling. The only thing I could really say in their favor is that they're open later than the other two, so if you get a soup dumpling craving at 10:30pm they're you're only option.

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The only good part of jury duty - I had lunch at New Green Bo yesterday.

Scallion pancakes (duh!), fried pork dumplings and a diet coke.

I am still full. It probably doesn't help that I topped it off with a ginger ice cream cone from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (well, it was RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET).

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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Interesting stuff, donbert, but I'm not sure if any of those places (or Joe's Shanghai on Pell) are fully consistent on their xiaolongbao.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

Very strange experience at New Green Bo this evening:

We asked for water. Less than a minute later, water appeared.

I consumed about 1/5 of my glass of water. Within a few moments, a server topped it off.

Ellen consumed about 1/5 of her glass of water. Within a few moments, another server topped it off.

I drained my glass. It was refilled promptly.

This continued throughout the evening. I've never had so much water at New Green Bo. It prompted a visit to the restroom for a viewing of my favorite sign: "Do not put ANYTHING in toilet."

We were sharing a table for 8 with a Chinese couple (man they had some skillz with the chopsticks, but they weren't drinking water) and a kid who was probably living in the nearby NYU dorms and obviously eats there a lot. The first time our water got refilled, he commented: "Incredible! Without asking." By the third time our water glasses got refilled, he was just shaking his head, as were we. It was surreal. We were glad someone was there as a witness.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Fat Guy!

i read your post and laughed soooo hard!!!

my husband and i ate at new green bo for our last dinner in manhattan (we took off for california the next morning at the butt crack of dawn :sad: )...

same thing happened to us! we were shocked and actually commented on it also. it was so unusual. the server who often serves us (the very tall guy with the short haircut) was also cheerful and pleasant...he actually often is, but that doesn't mean he'll refill our water!

but after it happened a couple of times, we were agape...it certainly made for a great "good-bye" dinner in new york!

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