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Jason Perlow

China 46

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Anyone tried this place yet? I had been to Phoenix Garden for dimsum but was more impressed with Silver Pond and had not returned there.

88 US Hwy 46 W  Ridgefield, NJ (201)313-0088

I just spoke to the new owner, they are focusing on Shanghai cuisine however they still will have seafood and dimsum every day. But also he will have the Xiao Long Bao soup dumplings ... this could be a good sign.

Their web site is at: http://china46.com/

Edit: Fixed link.


Edited by Rachel Perlow (log)

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ELA   

I haven't tried it since the change over. Silver Pond is walking distance from my house - right around the corner.

I'll have to give this place a try.

Eric

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We ate here on Saturday afternoon -- very authentic Shanghainese food, but probably better for dinner than for lunch.<p>While the regular menu is quite large, The northern-stlye Dim Sum menu is extremely limited, theres about 10 items on that list, as well as about another dozen things on their "cold appetizer" list. we had the Xiao Long Bao pork soup dumplings, very good, served with a very vinegary soy sauce dip on the side. Do not miss the "cellaphane noodles with spicy capsicum" cold noodle dish. This is similar to Szechewan dan dan noodles, but more like a cold korean Jap Chae made by a thai chef. Its got shrimp and shredded chicken in it, as well as a lot of fresh cilantro and very, very spicy. All of the dishes on the cold and dim sum sections are avaliable at all hours.<p>We also had a hearts of bamboo shoot appetizer, very weird but yummy -- a large pile of cone-shaped bamboo hearts, served cold, marinated in peanut oil and soy sauce with a strong gingery flavor, had a consistency similar to cold asparagus salad. Looks like something the Klingons would eat on star trek, share this with a group of 4 people or more.<p>Scallion pancackes were good, thin and crispy, but were served with a sauce that was a bit too sweet, and we had to ask for it separately. <p>As a main dish we had their beef chow fun, excellent example of a classic noodle dish. Noodles were fresh and not soggy, had perfect chow fun texture, and was not bland, seasoned properly. next time we want to try their "shanghai style" noodles.<p>Theres a lot of very authentic stuff on the menu, with a heavy focus on seafood and noodle soup dishes (one that caught my eye was a curry beef noodle soup) and hot pots, as well as an american chinese favorites section, which we didnt try. I'd recommend this place for dinner or early bird -- they have a Ű.95 dinner special which starts at 4pm and ends at 6:30. <p>I'd say we've barely scratched the surface of this place.

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erico   

What can anyone tell me about China 46 in Ridgefield, on the site of the former Phoenix Garden Too? A user of Chowhound.com says the food has declined sharply since it opened.

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Rosie   

Haven't been but you must be the third person who has asked me about this restaurant this week. There are two other postings on the NJ board about China 46. Scroll down. One was 9/30. If you go there be sure to give us a report. And--welcome to eGullet.

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Fat Guy   

I don't know anything about the place, but I'm immediately suspicious of anything that declares itself to be authentic. Almost without exception, if you have to say you're authentic, you're not!

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Its a solid shanghainese seafood joint. Stick with the shrimp, lobster and fish and you'll be in good shape. The noodle soups are good too.

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Fat Guy   

But are they "authentic Chinatown?" That's the key issue here as I see it.

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Frankly, I think Chinatown for the most part sucks compared to some places we have here in NJ, but thats another argument entirely.

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Rosie   

Someone has to go to this restaurant ASAP so we know what the story is!

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Well, Rachel and I went tonight -again- cause you twisted our arm.

The food, as usual, was awesome. And better than chinatown.

I can certainly see where a diner can go wrong, however. If you get there before 6:30PM, they have a "early dinner" menu (yikes.. shades of south Florida!) which is the same old american chinese crap, which they obviously sell as a revenue generator during these rough times. However, I urge you to bypass this and go straight to their REGULAR MENU which is full of all kinds of authentic stuff.  We got there at 7:15 and the place was deserted as the early birders had just high tailed out of the joint.

We started with two appetizers: a huge plate of small snails sauteed in a light soy gravy (perhaps this had oyster sauce and a few other seasonings in it) with scallions -- these were a blast to eat, and we only finished half of them because it was such a large appetizer -- this is better for 4 people. You really gotta suck these things outta their shells, but the payoff is good. Our second appetizer was the pan-fried Shanghai dumplings, which are sort of the shanghainese equivalent to the cantonese ones you get at dim sum or at regular takeout places and served with a simiar soy/sugar/scallion dipping sauce, except these are like Xiao Long Bao that have been pan fried and have a fluffier dough texture, and have sesame seeds on the top. These were awesome.

For our main dishes we went with the Shanghai Spicy and Tangy Jumbo Prawns, which are large battered shrimp in a very light sweet sauce with generous slices of raw garlic and flecks of chili pepper and slices of raw capsicum in it. You could say it was the proto-dish for the "Sweet and Sour" dishes you get in Cantonese takeout places, except the sweetness was not cloying and the sauce was -very- light. Really a very good dish.

The second entree was also very good -- Shanghai Stir Fry Noodles (notice I am staying with the Shanghai theme, and for good reason... its the specialty of the restaurant) , which were homemade flat egg noodles similar to linguine that are stir fried in soy sauce, and tossed with fresh spinach, mushrooms and shredded pork. I've never seen spinach used in a chinese stir fry dish before, especially with noodles, but this was really good.

So the answer to the question is: YES. The place is still good. But stick to the native dishes.

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jhlurie   

This is the place where I had something called Capsicum

Transparent Noodle.  Think of the Korean cellophane rice noodle dish Jap Che and you're half way there.  Make it much spicier, and add lots of fresh cilantro.

It's odd to think of the food declining--I mean the place has only been open for about six months, right?  Perhaps the person in question simply went at an off time.

(Edited by jhlurie at 10:24 pm on Nov. 29, 2001)

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Actually its called Spicy Capsicum Noodle and its a cold noodle dish.. but yes its quite similar to Jap Chae. With a lot of cilantro and very hot.

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Quote: from Fat Guy on 2:23 pm on Nov. 28, 2001

I don't know anything about the place, but I'm immediately suspicious of anything that declares itself to be authentic. Almost without exception, if you have to say you're authentic, you're not!

Steven,

I think that the person originating this thread said, in the subject line, "authentic Chinatown food." I haven't seen the restaurant itself billing itself that way.

That being said, we've eaten there at least four times in the past six months, are usually impressed by the food, and this inspires us to try dishes we haven't had before (such as the sauteed snails).

Rachel

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yeah but these are smaller.. and you gotta suck them out of their shells, which results in loud slurping an funny noises. Not a hoity-toity thing like in French restaurants.

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tommy   

Capsicum is a word for pepper, as far as i know.  it is indeed on the menu at china 46 several times.  in fact, i was there this week, and my guest asked "what's Capsicum?"  after a few moments it came to me, correctly or not.

at any rate, the important part here is that i found this place and went to it and enjoyed it immensely.

had the "soupy dumplings", or soup dumplings.  a great dumpling filled with pork/shrimp and broth.  a bit tricky to eat, but well worth it.  china 46's version was delicate, with a very thin dumpling.  i've seen these dumplings heavy and doughy.  these were spot on.

also had a dungeness crab.  this was wonderful.  a huge crab, broken up into legs/claws and body, over rice noodle with a garlic/ginger/cilantro/scallion sauce.  it was really quite good.  and huge.  also had kung po chicken, which was very good.

i like that they offer a separate part of the menu labeled "rich tradition in america", which consisted of egg rolls, wonton soup, et al.  this gave me a feeling that i was being somewhat "authentic" when ordering from the regular menu.  hey what can i say, i'm a sucker for that kind of thing.

i assumed this place was on rt 46 west of the turnpike, but it's actually a bit east of the TP, on the westbound side of 46.  it is byo, and there is a liquor store the exit before headed west (grand ave?) in case you forget. the liquor store had a decent enough selection of cold whites at reasonable prices.

my favorite chinese used to be Marco Polo in Glen Rock (and for those of you who know me, you know i've hated chinese food for years, and have just recently "discovered" marco polo).  but i think now china 46 has taken that distinction.

they have a website

thanks to all here who piqued my interest.  

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jhlurie   

Incredible.  They make the place look like a million bucks on that website.  

In truth, the place looks like a Truck stop.  That doesn't change the fact that the food is great, but... the fact that it is located immediately in front of a hotel which appears to rent rooms by the hour certainly gives the place some, um... flavor, not indicated by the website.

Of course the food is all that is important there.  Tommy's well-publicized disgust at most Americanized Chinese food must have been given a real workout at China 46.

And personally I don't blame the owners for the big sign declaring how authentic they are--they have to try and disguish themselves from the huge pack of crappy Chinese restaurants that the area is plagued by.  The only problem with that is that sceptics like Mr. Shaw are so jaded from all of the false claims of authenticity that the sign may have backfired and kept away as many people as the sleazy hotel behind the restaurant. :)

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tommy   
Quote: from jhlurie on 1:11 pm on Dec. 27, 2001

Incredible.  They make the place look like a million bucks on that website.  

In truth, the place looks like a Truck stop.  That doesn't change the fact that the food is great, but... the fact that it is located immediately in front of a hotel which appears to rent rooms by the hour certainly gives the place some, um... flavor, not indicated by the website.

they've got a set of, nerves, putting a photo gallery on their site, i'll say that much!  it's obvious outside and in, even in the photos, that it was a diner at one point.  which kind of adds to the charm i think.  it seems like they just needed any place with a kitchen and tables to get their food out, and they found one!

the h--, um, motel behind it is undergoing some remodeling.  should be quite a looker when it's done.

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jhlurie   

Ah yes.  The whole hotel/motel thing.  I wasn't thinking...

I've driven past that place for years.  As motels go, it looked pretty sleazy.  I noticed the renovation as well, but I'm wondering why they are bothering--it's not exactly a prime location EXCEPT for ehem... hourly rentals.

Geez.  This is a family website.  I'll shut up.  "Go to China 46".  That's all this needs to be about. :)

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Wow! Now that you've given that place such a rave, I think we'll have to reconsider it for a future eGullet dinner! Tommy, when you went there, was it at all busy? Too many times we've been one of only two or three occupied tables. Please people, support this place before it goes the way of other restaurants trying to produce quality in the face of overwhelming pressure to sell slop!

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tommy   

####, i'm considering going back tonite!!!

we went during the week at about 3 PM.  we were the only ones there for sure.  maybe tonite will be different.

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Tommy,

Guess i won't be seeing you at "Big Chef" or "Off the Wall" anymore... NOT that either of us frequented those places anyway!

Glad to see you've found decent Chinese, for living without Chinese food would be a sin.

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tommy   
Quote: from thereuare on 7:35 pm on Dec. 27, 2001

Guess i won't be seeing you at "Big Chef" or "Off the Wall" anymore... NOT that either of us frequented those places anyway!

you sure said something there.  we were just discussing that fact last night while we were eating venison and lobster at marco polo.  quite a difference.  

now i'm torn.  marco polo and china 46 are both very good.  i'm so confused. and i hate chinese food!??!?!?!!

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