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Mon Kee--after Hugh Lipton

Dbird | Oct 6, 200401:07 AM

I am sure we all want to think our posts stimulating but I must say (and hope) that even unanswered posts may be remarked and appreciated. I know that this has been the case in at least one instance.

As a downtown resident I was very interested in Hugh Lipton's recent post about Mon Kee. My regular Chinatown places are Empress Pavilion, Golden City, and when I am in dire straits, Full House and Yang Chow.

Following his review I phoned in an order for double fried scallops and shrimp with ginger and scallions a few nights back. I don't know what I was expecting with the double fried scallops, but they were in fact large, dryish scallops encased in an orb of crust, sort of like a dim sum sesame ball, minus interior dough, plus scallop. The scallops themselves did not have much flavor and I think the point of the dish was more the hot oil puff preparation and mild dipping sauce. I thought was probably good for what it was but not my thing. The shrimp were large, fresh and fine but the dish was not compelling.

I don't demand compelling within the general neighborhood though and was impressed enough to phone tonight to ask about whole fish. Was steered decisively toward rock cod, and yielded against my better judgment to a recommendation for kung pao squid when the man on the line assured me that their chef was well trained in other regional cuisines.

While the kung pao was not as thoroughly populated with chiles as Fu Shing's (however moderated, this is my local Szechwan standard--would love other recommendations) it was surprisingly good-- chunks of water chestnuts, peanuts, onions, tender(ized) squid, with a light (not gloppy or dark) sauce. And frankly, plenty enough chiles for me. The rock cod was probably 2 lbs, astonishingly well cooked and carefully packaged for takeaway. In a light ginger scallion sauce. Tonight's total with two orders of steamed rice was just over $30.

I am very happy to have made this discovery (with Hugh Lipton's help) and look forward to trying more of the menu.

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