Congee Village, NYC
Neighborhood: East Village
Price: $30-40 per person including drinks
Phone: (212) 941-1818
Address: 100 Allen Street, NY, NY 10002
Congee Village has been on Jen’s wish list for a while, so when a friend from Ohio was visiting and was craving a taste of Chinese good (apparently not many choices beyond Panda Express in Ohio), another friend and I instantly agreed on Congee Village as the go-to spot. Sorry, Jen, you will taste the goodness sometime soon, I am sure.
The outside facade of Congee Village is unassuming, but once you walk in the foyer is a mizture of kitschy Chinese items like red envelopes and tangerines on trees, jungle themed leafy fronts on the ceilings, Christmas lights, sailor-themed rope lettering of the restaurant name, and other strange juxtapositions of decorations. The upstairs, where we were seated, is a similar hodge podge of themes. In a typical Chinese banquet hall fashion, the space is brightly lit. There are round tables set with plates, chopsticks, tea cups, and rotating lazy Susans. But there are also exposed brick walls, bamboo ceilings, trees and plants and other decorations. The place is in no way, tacky, but rather randomly and pleasantly cozy.
We ordered family style and shared all the food, washing them down with a few refreshing TsingTaos. You will see some overlap in dishes with Shanghai Cafe. I don’t want to seem like I don’t try new things, but some of these dishes are repeat favorites, so we could not resist ordering them.
Hot and Sour Soup
This is a repeat favorite. I love the soft and slithery texture of the tofu and mushrooms and the sour tangy finish in every bite.
Xiao Long Bao
Another favorite. Cannot resist these little pouches of hot, savory, pork broth.
House Special Chicken
I don’t know what the restaurant put on this chicken: possibly crack, but potentially just loads of MSG, but this was out of this world. The skin was perfectly crispy (and Jen knows all-too-well how particular I am about crispy chicken skin, whereas she’s not discriminating at all), the chicken was juicy. There were pieces of garlic strewn everywhere. It was fowl heaven.
Beef Sauteed with Satay Sauce in Sizzling Hot Plate
The plate was sizzling, the beef was tender and the veggies nicely flavored and not overcooked.
“Snow Pea Shoots” is how my friend translated this awesome Chinese green. It’s softer and less chewy than most I’ve tried and tossed with some garlic, complemented our meat dishes well.
Razor Clam with Black Bean Sauce
My Hong Kong friend loves clams and mussels and recommended this dish. I had never tried razor clams, but loved the consistency and they came off the shell so easily! The black bean sauce and scallion toppings added amazing flavor.