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Congee Village


Pan
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I haven't tried the Lamb Chops in Black Bean Sauce, so I don't know if it's as good or better than the breaded/fried ones, but I like some of their other black bean sauce dishes a lot, so I'm sure it's good.

Aside from the special menu dishes I've recommended upthread, I recommend the following (from their regular menu online):

Sliced Beef with Black Bean Sauce Chow Fun Noodles

Most flavors of congee (to your taste). I like these in particular:

Fresh Squid with Ginger Sauce Porridge

Chicken W. Black Mushroom Porridge

Sliced Fish and Lettuce Porridge

Roast Duck and Meat Ball Porridge

Sliced Beef & Fish Porridge

Seafood Porridge

Sauteed Lotus Root with Special Bean Paste Sauce (mentioned upthread)

Steamed Bean Curd W. mixed Veg. (but get the special version mentioned above)

House Special Chicken

Steamed Chicken with Black Mushroom

Rice Baked with Chicken and Black Mushroom

Rice Baked with Two kinds of Chinese Sausage

I know I'm missing some of the dishes I've had and liked before, and keep in mind, too, that I most often get stuff for just myself, so I have limited opportunities to explore the menu. A typical meal for me is congee or one main dish (if I'm really hungry, both, with part of the main dish taken home).

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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They have two really good steamed chicken dishes. One is steamed in a bamboo "log" and the other is steamed in a bigger thingy. The bigger one has lily buds and dried (reconstituted) Chinese dates in it, while the one in the bamboo has rice and black mushrooms. (Rice Baked with Chicken and Black Mushroom?? But it's steamed.) I always confuse them a little, but I think it's the one that is made in a bigger pot that has the sausages in it. It's kind of salty, but very good. To make things more confusing, I think both steamed chicken dishes have mushrooms or at least fungus in them.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 4 months later...

Anyone have any idea what the private rooms at Congee go for, and how many people they can accommodate? Is it still just a minimum purchase, or do you actually pay for the rooms plus the food? I called, but was told "Talk to manager - he not in." I figure I'll stop by there in the next couple of days, but for the mean time I was wondering if anyone else had this info. Thanks!

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There is a minimum charge for all the private rooms. The one that seats 20 was going for $600 last year, as I recall. There are also rooms that seat 50 and 10, I think. Yes, talk to the manager. There are different rates, as you can choose to pay more than the minimum, depending on your menu.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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OK, what's up with the fried dumplings at CV? I would say there were more like "warmed pork-filled dough balls in oil." Good thing we were really hungry because I thought these to be the weakest dumplings I've had in NY to date. Not fried long enough? Filling not spiced enough? What went wrong?? :sad:

Anyone care to defend them?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, Peter. I don't think I've ever ordered fried dumplings at Congee Village, and I don't think of dim sum items as their forte, so I usually avoid them.

I had a delightful dinner at Congee Village tonight with mascarpone, gaf, and gaf's friend Shirley who he knows from the LTHforum. I'm sure a report will be forthcoming from gaf, but I took pictures. Not all of them came out great, but on the basis that some documentation is better than none, here they are.

This is crab congee:

gallery_786_2090_53634.jpg

My only problem with this congee is that it takes some time to eat the crab meat and it's kind of messy. Three of us enjoyed this, but Shirley, who's Cantonese, said that having congee at dinner is like eating a bagel with dinner. I can definitely see where she's coming from.

This is called Lotus Root with Special Bean Sauce:

gallery_786_2090_39645.jpg

As you can see, the special bean sauce is made with generous helpings of red bean paste. The dish is one of my longtime favorites at Congee Village.

I can never remember what name is given to this steamed chicken on the menu, but it includes some lap cheung (sausage), black mushrooms, tree ears, lily buds, dried salted jujubes, and ginger, and it's another of my longtime favorites:

gallery_786_2090_106861.jpg

This razor clam dish was wonderful and is likely to be a new favorite dish of mine:

gallery_786_2090_44421.jpg

It was full of scallions, onions, and delicious snap beans, and made with a tasty red sauce. Thank you for ordering this, Shirley!

One of the unusual things that Congee Village specializes in (unusual for a Cantonese restaurant, that is) is lamb chops. This dish, which I don't believe is on the regular menu, is called Lamb Chops with Onions:

gallery_786_2090_53593.jpg

The lamb chops were really moist and succulent, and the dish had a very nice sort of fragrance to it. Accompanying the lamb chops were plenty of onions, small branches of celery, and some broccoli spears.

Finally, we got a freebie for dessert:

gallery_786_2090_18513.jpg

Those of you who know Malaysian food may recognize this dessert soup as Bubur Chacha! I seem to remember a waitress telling me years ago that the chef at Congee Village is from Ipoh, that lovely Malaysian city that's known for its great food and depressingly devoid of jobs. I think another one contradicted that later. But in any case, this was a really excellent rendition. The flavor of the soup was moderately smokey! And the isi (solid ingredients), other than tapioca pearls, included slices of sweet potato and taro.

Great food, great company. And a great time was had by all.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Congee Village might be the most fun place in Chinatown. Not the most serious, but the food is good. House special chicken is really fine. Ditto lotus root. Still, I continue to think that Noodletown is unbeatable for suckling pig, wonton soup and fried softshell crabs.

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Wow, a seal of approval from Ruth Reichl. Cool! :biggrin:

My parents and I love the House Special Chicken, and when I get takeout dinner to bring them from Congee Village, that chicken is always one of the dishes.

Ms. Reichl, what do you consider the most serious restaurant in Chinatown, and what would be your criteria for seriousness?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 3 months later...

I ordered takeout from Congee Village for dinner with my parents tonight plus plenty of leftovers. I got Chicken with Black Mushroom Congee, a whole House Special Chicken, Lamb Chops with Onions, and a great vegetable dish that was new to me -- Eggplants Vegetables [sic] with Bean Curd. It had excellent puffy bean curd which constituted most of the dish, Chinese eggplants including peel, a good deal of lettuce, bamboo pith, scallions, and I believe a little ginger. My father thought that one of the ingredients in the sauce was the remains of some kind of liqueur whose alcohol had been burned off, but I'm not sure. What I would say is that the sauce had a complex and very satisfying taste that I couldn't pin down. I definitely recommend this dish.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 1 year later...

Bumping this thread to see if anyone's got anything new to add. I just got handed responsibility for finding a reservation for 8 of my friends this Saturday -- being Thursday afternoon, I'm scrambling. Congee Village had a spot at 6:30, so I took it. Never been there before. The rez is earlier that I would have liked -- what time do you think we'll actually sit?

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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I got reservations for a large group at their sister restaurant, Congee Bowery, on a Saturday night on Chinese New Year's week last year, and an hour after our 8 o'clock reservations, we were still at least 30 minutes from being seated, probably more. We cut out and went to Katz's. This is a sucky time of year to have reservations anywhere in Chinatown, I should think. Good luck!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 11 months later...

My mother had a bad experience at Congee Village at lunch today, but my mother is not me.

She ordered Scallop and Winter Melon soup. It took 30 minutes, strange for Chinese given the usual expediency, anything over 20 minutes involves rearing and plucking... they kept telling her that they were "steaming the melons" which takes a while... Her friend had ordered Chicken Corn Soup, and BBQ ribs over rice, and asked them to bring things when done. Well they were brought it all out at once, the Corn soup and BBQ ribs were cold and they had to ask them to nuke them... and what's worse, the scallop and melon soup had no trace of scallop, and chicken instead. Cost-cutting or slid off the map?

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I've been getting delivery from Congee Village lately, and it's all been good (though it can take a long time, especially on weekends and, of course, around Chinese New Year), but I did have one mixed experience the last time I ate there, about a month ago. Their Hot and Sour soup was totally excellent - better than it's ever been, truly hot and sour and without sweetness. But the Five Spices Duck tasted very strongly of cod liver oil, which is a problem I don't think I've ever experienced except in chicken. It was really disturbing. But that isn't a service problem. Your mother's experience is really weird.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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My mother had a bad experience at Congee Village at lunch today, but my mother is not me.

She ordered Scallop and Winter Melon soup. It took 30 minutes, strange for Chinese given the usual expediency, anything over 20 minutes involves rearing and plucking... they kept telling her that they were "steaming the melons" which takes a while... Her friend had ordered Chicken Corn Soup, and BBQ ribs over rice, and asked them to bring things when done. Well they were brought it all out at once, the Corn soup and BBQ ribs were cold and they had to ask them to nuke them... and what's worse, the scallop and melon soup had no trace of scallop, and chicken instead. Cost-cutting or slid off the map?

Yeah, Congee Village, when dining there, can be hit or miss. I just think their sheer volume leads to crappy cooking - so I have a couple of safe dishes that I order again and again.

As far as ordering ANY dish with scallops in a Chinese restaurant, unless I know for sure that they're working with real scallops, I avoid those dishes like the plague - there's no way that high-quality scallops are being used, if they're using scallops at all.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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