Oriental Garden, NYC

September 2, 2010

Oriental Garden is one of the top six NYC Chinese restaurants in Zagat and easily the top for dim sum, which it features during the day while seafood dishes are served in the evening. There are tanks with live fish along the front of the big dining room. Allison, Blair, Linda and I went midday on Sunday, August 15, 2010. We took a number and waited outside in busy Chinatown until it was called.

We were seated at a table by the kitchen door, which had the advantage that many dim sum dishes were presented to us first. Turnip cakes, always one of the highlights of dim sum, arrived right after we sat down. They were excellent.

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We ordered four beers. We didn’t order anything from the menu, but waited until the dim sum dishes were offered to us. We took almost everything that came by.

 
 

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These were steamed dumplings with a seasoned minced shrimp and pork filling and a shrimp on top. Excellent.

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These were called Hong Kong fried dumplings; they were crisper than most dum sum dishes as they were deep fried. The filling was ground meat and vegetables, maybe cabbage. The Chinese mustard and red hot sauce were used carefully during the meal as they had a lot of power.

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Everyone was having a good time, particularly the table of eight young people in front of us. There were also three tables of eight for a party, which explained why the restaurant was already full when we arrived before noon.

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These tasted of garlic chives. Excellent.

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There was a shrimp filling in these.

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These were steamed pork ribs; they had a surprisingly spicy marinade. The chit in the background was used to record what dishes we took in what price categories, an evolution of the old system of stacking up the color coded plates.

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These sticky buns were filled with barbecued pork. Very good.

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These buns had a sprinkling of sugar. They also had a bbq inside. I didn’t like them as much, but Blair did.

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These white dumplings were quite bland despite the bit of barbecue pork inside. The dough was like wonder bread, fluffy but without substance.

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These flat, fried dumplings were filled with a shrimp mixture and were very good.

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Sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf, which added flavor without dominating; the inside had seasoned meat. Excellent.

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These crispy fried balls had a taro filling which was slightly sweet. Allison wrote: “While I thought the sticky rice, garlic chive and pan fried shrimp dumplings were incredibly good, my favorite was the crispy taro with pork at the end of the meal.  The starch plus meat with crunch was a perfect bite, very satisfying.”

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These slightly sweet confections ended our meal. Some custardy desserts were starting to be passed, but we declined.

This was a very good dim sum lunch in an appropriate atmosphere. We had a good time.

14 Elizabeth St. (between Bayard & Canal Sts.)

212-619-0085

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