Everyone loves lobster in Chinatown, but I still haven’t found a great lobster spot. My recent favorite was the house special baked lobster with cheese at Danny Ng’s Place, which sounds weird, but was really tender with a thin, salty cheese crust. Unfortunately, that restaurant recently folded. According to Danny at Food in Mouth, it was due to asbestos (the secret menu featured cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis), but according to Bowery Boogie, a mixed-use building being built in its place may be the cause. In any case, while the perfect lobster in Chinatown is yet to be found, good fried flounder is easier to find. A few months ago, I had a flounder at Fuleen Seafood, and last month at Oriental Garden. Both were good, but one was much better.
The fried flounder with ginger and scallion ($29.95; pictured at top) at Oriental Garden was one of the largest flounders I’ve had to date, but I wouldn’t say it was the best. Because it was so large, I assume they had to cook it longer, and as a result, the meat was tougher. And again, because of the size, the sauce hadn’t penetrated the thicker center pieces which were on the bland side. In general, more ginger would have been preferred, even for the edge pieces which were wonderfully crunchy and fatty but still very light on the ginger flavor.
The fried flounder with ginger and scallion ($25.95) at Fuleen was smaller, but much more flavorful with tender, fatty meat. In terms of cooking, the fish may have been a bit too fried (if that’s possible), but not so much that the meat was overcooked. And speaking of lobster, Fuleen’s lobster was okay, but a little too corn starch coated for my liking.
For flounder, the winner of the two is Fuleen Seafood, but my favorite fried flounder with ginger and scallion is still the one at Hop Kee. It’s always the perfect size and just fried enough with lots of ginger. And while I’ve never had the lobster there (what’s wrong with me?!), the crabs Cantonese more than makes up for it.
11 Division Street (b/n Catherine & Market St; map)
New York, NY 10002