A Bib Gourmand rating means the restaurant is an inspector’s favorite for good value. For everyday New Yorkers, Bib Gourmand restaurants represent the best hidden culinary value that the city has to offer.
“Will definitely go back if I’m ever in NYC.”
When a bare-bones Chinatown restaurant gets regular visits from chefs like David Bouley, you know it’s doing something right. The raucous main dining room teems with waiters squeezing between tables and toting plates of exceptionally fresh seafood plucked from the restaurant’s fish tanks…
“The one thing that I order a lot at Oriental Garden is the Lobster Country Style over e-fu noodles. It’s a whole lobster that’s been chopped up and cooked with some egg, and some minced pork, and some vegetables… It’s one of my favorite things to eat in New York City right now.”
“It’s the best Cantonese banquet food — weddings, birthday parties, special occasions; you have to go here. It really has the best range of fresh seafood — a lot of high-ticket items that most other restaurants won’t even carry. Cantonese food is known for its exotic ingredients — and very few restaurants are able to deliver food of this quality. Everything is always fresh — they have live king crab, giant steamed oysters and other items you don’t usually see.”
“Possibly the best Cantonese in Chinatown”
Located in the bustling heart of Chinatown, Oriental Garden’s mid-block location is easily spotted by the large gold lettering on its stone facade. Inside, the slender windows make the dining room feel decidedly tucked away, amid pale walls simply lined with framed Chinese characters and gold dragons. Towards the front, tanks brimming with fish illustrate the expansive menu’s orientation toward seafood in dishes like braised abalone with oyster sauce, drunken live prawns, and sauteed cuttlefish with black bean and green pepper. There is also a hearty selection of dim sum, stir-fried meats as well as a variety of vibrant vegetable and tofu dishes.
Chosen as the best Chinese restaurant in New York by Zagat’s 2006 guide, Oriental Garden is known for its no frills approach to food. … Crabs, lobsters and other sea food are kept in tanks up front only to be plucked out and cooked fresh for you. Dig into dishes, such as the succulent Salt and Pepper Prawns or the Diced Seafood Soup, and the highly recommended Razor Clams in Black Bean Sauce.
Oriental Garden is about extremely fresh food – fish in particular – and a kind of no-nonsense preparation that defers to, and underscores, that freshness.
Cantonese in inclination, Oriental Garden opened two decades ago and has repeatedly been renovated, but the golden dragons on its walls and mauve cloths on its tables don’t make much of a statement.
Many of its dishes, however, do, and they support the estimation of some Chinese-Americans and food lovers that this is the best of Chinatown’s seafood restaurants.