By Carol Brock
The look? Elegant banquet hall with ballroom dancing (including the samba) on Monday nights when there's a beautiful buffet.
What a treat to have two knowledgeable friends do the ordering – especially since they had dined there before. With our fragrant cup of hot tea, we nibbled on red-skinned peanuts (the trick is to first place some with a fork on your plate and then use chopsticks) and tidbits of mango and cucumber, a fascinating taste combo (home cooks take note).
My guests, with due deliberation, decided on a shark fin soup opener. (Guest No. 2 remarked, “My mother only makes it on holidays.” It takes 48 hours for the shark fin stock, then the seafood (scallops, crab, shrimp) are added. The presentation at East Manor is stunning. A one-for-each chafing dish is set before you. It is marvelous and tastes more so eaten in this elegant manner directly from your individual brass chafing dish with a china soup spoon. For extra goodness, be sure to spoon some red rice wine vinegar (made only in one province, Jichong) onto the soup and swirl it in.
Next we had Korean ribs, Chinese style, with special Chinese seasonings. The ribs are cut delicately thin and may be picked up with chop sticks or fingers. “We Chinese like to eat with our fingers,” I was told. “And after every two courses a new hot towel is presented to you. And, since this service is banquet style, a clean plate is set before you with each course. The Chinese use small plates.”(i.e. salad size)
Now came the most incredible lobster dish, Hong Kong lobster on noodles. Guest No. 2, “likes the noodles best.” The juices from the lobster make them very special. And I noted that the noodles were special as well. The waitress places noodles, then lobster in shell in a small bowl – easy to pick up and eat with chop sticks.
Guest No. 1, on the way to East Manor, kept talking of the abalone he enjoyed there. But it “wasn't abalone but braised slices of mushroom served on pea pod greens, which must be harvested before the first blossom appears,” I was told. Delectable. Amazing looking. The texture is utterly convincing. Here's a must try for every non-vegetarian and even some vegetarians.
In Manor's barbecue shop out front, hang glistening, dark roasted ducks. For a small portion, half a duck is carved table side, Peking duck style. Crisp skin and a cluster of slivered scallion are placed in a doily from the wooden steamer basket and topped with their own special sauce. “Sauces and seasonings are well kept secrets,” added Guest No. 1, “usually hidden in a pocket and added surreptitiously” Maybe that's what makes it taste so great.
“One more dish,” decided Guest No. 1. And No. 2 sought out a consultation. Oysters, it was decided, but only one apiece. This must be seen to be believed. A giant oyster, dipped in a tempura-like batter, deep fried to a puffy, golden delectable avocado-sized morsel of deliciousness. Then the final touch, a wonderful, clear red sauce is spooned on.
Our two “on the house” conclusions were a small bowl of the traditional, slightly sweet, red bean soup and fruit, which at East Manor is a plate of chunked cantaloupe and honey dew slices topped with a scattering of huge red grapes. Because this was a special dinner, a mini bowl of cool mango pudding, that just slipped down, arrived.
A fragrant tea was poured throughout dinner and for those so inclined, preceded by a glass of honey and lemon or bubble tea with “fish eye” tapioca sipped through an oversized straw.
Blissful eating for the American palate. Keung (translates to “strong” but known here as “Roger”) from Hong Kong's Mirimar Hotel, is the chef. Go to East Manor but don't change a thing (unless you choose the hot pot, a two-hour participation meal for two-to-four and only $19.99 each.)
The Bottom Line
Elegant 800-seat Hong Kong banquet hall restaurant. Dinner served banquet style, course by course, with fresh plates for each plus a hot towel. Also features hot pots, a two-hour participation meal for two-to-four. American dancing (including samba) on Monday night, $20 dollar minimum. Barbecue and drink shop at entrance.
46-45 Kissena Blvd.
Braised mixed seafood shark's fin soup…$10
Fresh abalone with oyster sauce…$18
Stir fried sliced conch with prince mushroom…$18
Snow pea leaves with fresh garlic sauce…$12.95
Lobsters with ginger scallion on braised yea noodle…$22.95
House special steak cubes with Hawaiian nuts and green vegetable…$16.95
House special BBQ veal ribs…$14.95
Fried rice with minced dried scallop with egg white…$12.95
Cuisine: Hong Kong banquet. Also hot pots
Setting: Elegant, 800 seat, banquet hall/restaurant
Service: Banquet style, course-by-course on individual fresh plate
Hours: Seven days L&D
Parking: Own lot
Location: LIE exit 24. N 8 blocks (E side)
Children: Own menu
Private parties: Four rooms (To 400, 250, 150 and VIP room for 40)
Off-premise catering: Yes
Credit cards: All major. No Discover
Dancing: DJ. Mon night. (Minimum $20)
Noise level: Fri & Sat moderate
Handicap access: Yes