I was pretty hungry so went with the Mrs. to Lee Garden. I remember several people reporting favorable experiences there so we thought we'd give it a try. We drove past 54th going east and didn't see the any signs. We saw Lucky Star and King Garden as we passed it so we made a U-turn near the Church's chicken.
On the way back we were going to start looking for another restaurant when I saw some Chinese characters on an unlit sign. I thought it was closed until I saw the security guard standing next to the sign. These were my first clues that maybe we should go elsewhere
We get in and I tell the guy (speaking in Chinese) who is either the owner or manager that we'd like a table for two. He replies in English, my second clue we had possibly made mistake. They sit us in the very back corner where the air is warm and dank. The waitress yelled for the A/C to be turned on while taking our order.
We asked her what the chef's best dishes were and she replied: "lobster" (our third clue). We decided to pass on lobster. My wife at this point was too apathetic to decide on the food. I was famished so I ordered the Ong Choy with shrimp paste, ma po tofu, and garlic chicken.
The rice came out followed by the ong choy then the garlic chicken. I quickly scarf down a bowl or rice with some of the chicken and ong choy. It wasn't until the second bowl that I realized how much oil there was in the two dishes. There must have been a quarter inch of oil in the ong choy. We commented that we should have ordered the fried item dishes as they would have less oil. In addition to the oil in the chickend dish, the mushroom and water chestnut were from cans, a really chemical can. The only time I remember having a worst version of this dish was where the chicken was used in a soup stock then fished out and stir fried. The ma po tofu came out and it's lack of flavor was dramatic. Absolutely no distinguishable flavors that this dish should have in it.
By this time we were talking about places we would go for a late night snack. As we listen to all the conversations in Vietnamese we decided to go home and make some banh cuon.