By Carol Brock
153-11 Union Turnpike
153-11 Union Turnpike
Lobsters are regal eating. Perhaps that's why they are the featured item on the Sunday menu at the Royal Chinese & Japanese Restaurant. At Royal, a whole lobster is served at price more favorable than any other day of the week.
It just so happened we went in on a Sunday and saw a waitress scooping live lobsters from a small pond display. The pond, strategically placed at the entrance, is proof positive that only live lobsters are used at Royal restaurant.
We noted the specials of the day posted on the menu, which features both Chinese and Japanese cuisine. The lobster soup was tempting, with its generous pieces of lobster and huge cubes of bean curd. A creation of Gary Chong, owner, and his partner Steven Cheung, it is just what is considered ultra healthy today. Both Gary and Steven hail from Hong Kong where the name Royal means a little bit of class. Lobster seaweed salad, another of our chosen appetizers, carried through the crustacean theme dining.
We sampled barbecued lamb (Chinese) another appetizer creation-sliced lamb, onion and green pepper brushed with oriental barbecue sauce and served on a demi skewer. We liked all three. And the score was: Two Japanese, one Chinese. And then we had sushi, my entree, from the small bar in the rear. The sushi was incredibly good. Have you had Buffalo sushi, another from the special of the day list? It's a must that I predict will challenge the California roll in popularity. It's spicy tuna on the inside and outside, fresh salmon draped over the wheel of white rice. The buffalo sushi stands up, and therefore has a hump; it's how it got its name. Amazing Rolls, another creation of the boys from Hong Kong, with tempura powder and seaweed powder on the outside remains to be tried by you and me.
My dining companion went Chinese for the main course with pan-fried noodles, a combination more exciting than its name: sea scallops, shrimp, lobster meat, chicken and mixed vegetables in a brown sauce. Noodles, pan fried, are served on the side. The noodles became crispy only to be softened by the sauce in eating.
All, was partaken in a royal setting reminiscent of Hong Kong style. The square tables are covered with purple cloths then topped with white cloths. Containing flaps on all sides , can be be expanded to serve larger parties. The high backed chairs with floral seats are from China. Lavender (the favorite color of Gary Chong and his wife) neon lights line the cove lighting track. The room is brightly lit yet not overpowering.You definitely will not need a magnifying glass to read the menu. Gary Chong, whose first restaurant this is, and Steven Cheung who has been in kitchens in New York restaurants for 20 years, have devised the Royal Special Obento with both Chinese and Japanese food in one box for $6.95. For soup there is a choice of wonton, hot and sour and egg drop. The rice is chicken fried, white or brown. The green salad comes with a ginger dressing. The Chinese part is a Chinese dish from the luncheon menu and the Japanese part is a choice of one of the sushi rolls.
I was intrigued with the Hong Kong specials on the luncheon menu. There are six Hong Kong style noodle soups with thin, chewy nest of long noodles. Each has a different kind of meat ball.
At luncheon, I also tried the congee. There are six variations and I went for the pork and preserved egg. The coarsely chopped eggs have a dark, gelatinous covering. Congee, a tasty, oatmeal like rice gruel, is a staple in China for breakfast and lunch, now becoming popular here as well. It is the ultimate comfort food. My take home doggie bag portion was breakfast next day. After all, ten million Chinese (who spoon into it each morning) can't be wrong.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Hong Kong style regal setting. Brightly lighted. Lobster Sundays. Obento box with both Chinese and Japanese in same box. Hong Kong style noodles and congees at luncheon. Inviting service.
Chinese: Crystal Shrimp Dumpling (6)…$3.75
Barbecued Lamb (demi kebabs)…$4.50
White Snow Princess (sliced white meat chicken, scallops, & shrimp, sauteed with snow peas and carrots, water chestnuts and tree ear mushrooms in fresh garlic and sweet rice wine sauce, garnished with snow white rice noodles)…$11.95
Empire Chicken (tender chicken breasts marinated and coated with crushed walnuts, carefully deep fried, creating a walnut coating) …$10.95
Japanese: Tempura (deep fried shrimps and vegetables) … $6.50
Goyza (pan fried dumplings) … $4.50.
Teriyaki (grilled chicken in a sauce) … $10.95
Salmon Teriyaki (broiled salmon with sauce) … $13.95
Royal Special Obento Box (in one box: soup, rice, green salad, Chinese luncheon dish, Japanese luncheon dish)…$6.95
Food: Chinese and Japanese
Location: Near Parsons
Credit cards: Diners & all major except Discover
Children: Menu to come
Private parties: To 110
Takeout: Yes and delivery
Noise level: Good (popping when tables opened)
Handicap access: Yes Private parties: Up to 125
Smoking: Bar area
Noise level: Acoustic ceiling
Handicap accessible: Yes