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Manhattan Jook

Congee Village...fine, authentic, but blah.


Restaurants & Bars 12

Congee Village...fine, authentic, but blah.

Jim Leff | Feb 11, 2007 09:46 AM

Just injecting my two cents, fwiw...

Went to Congee Village with a group last night for first time in a few years. Quite the ambiance....this is not, if you're an American-born Chinese, your father's Chinese restaurant.

We had a decent survey of a bunch of standbys.

My impressions were extraordinarily consistent across all ten or so dishes. All were fine and competent and within the bounds of that slippery term "authentic". If this were Duluth or Spokane, I'd be thrilled to have this restaurant around. And, in sharp contrast to trend, the check was a pleasant surprise (usually I wonder how such cheap items could have aggregated so high; here, I wondered how such expensive items could have aggregated so low....$21/person with tax and tip). But nothing was great and nothing had real soul. Every single dish would have been twice as good if we'd eaten it, instead, at Fulleen's Seafood on Division Street.

The congee (we got it with ginger and squid...and, yes, I know it's a silly order at dinner) was the best item. Deep fried frog also nice. Rice pot with sausage dismayingly cursory and blah. Snowpea leaves very nice and fresh. XO Sauce with Sea Clams and Snap Peas surprisingly dull. Short rib sizzling platter was hasty (and skimpy meat portion amid lots of greasy stir fried vegs). Steamed bread app with condenses milk for dipping was luxurious. Scallion pancake texturally intriguing. Beef chow fun shiny, rubbery, unexciting. House special roast chicken just not quite there (especially stark contrast to Fulleen's). Nothing was all the way quite there. It was a pretty frustrating dinner....again, competent, but never quite cresting into deliciousness. The only really botched dish was that XO Sauce with Sea Clams and Snap Peas, which was "XO Lite". Like everything else here, a lack of integration was the main criticism.

Oh, and no House Soup. Unforgivable. I live for House Soup (no, it wasn't cuz we'd had congee...the congee was just one serving for one person in our party who insisted he wanted they owed us House Soup!).


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