New Green no-no.

It’s always a delicate task to review restaurants to which friends have enthusiastically taken you.  I’ll admit: I dislike raining on people’s parade, particularly in the food category, where tastes and perceptions of quality differ greatly from person to person.  However, I’ve got to be honest in this case: I didn’t think New Green Bo (Bayard between Mott and Elizabeth) was all that great.

The atmosphere is certainly different than what I had been used to – the only table available to seat us was half of a communal table, so I was a little embarrassed when the topic of conversation turned to New Year’s parties gone awry.  I guess this was my comeuppance for complaining about the brahs at La Taza De Oro last week, because the conversation across the table stopped every time a vomit story was related (frequently – New Year’s parties apparently being a good occasion for chundering).  Yes, I died a little inside last night – but on to the food!

The recommending friend suggested we order several things from the dim sum menu, and left it to me to select a dish from the normal menu.  She elected an order of the steamed vegetable dumplings, the pork soup dumplings, and a scallion pancake.  The steamed vegetable dumplings ($4.25) were interesting – I thought I detected a slight flavor of mustard, but I’m not really sure what exactly was contained therein.  It’s hard to vouch for their freshness, too – or am I confusing the pleasing greasiness of the pork soup dumplings (which, I believe, are on the menu as “tiny buns” at $4.25) with the veggie dumplings?

The soup dumplings, I thought, were not at the same level as the best batch I’d had at Grand Sichuan in Chelsea.  I’m willing to grant, though, that they were tasty, grease-laden, and the most satisfying item of the evening.  Not so pleasingly grease-laden was the scallion pancake ($1.50), of which I have yet to taste a version good enough to make me want another one.  Much like the thousand-layer pancake in a Malaysian restaurant, I’m not sure that the category is something that will ever yield something that is, to me, tasty.  It’s just greasy, flaky dough, right?  Am I missing something, or do the Indians really make Poori with some kind of magical power?

Anyway, the dish that I ordered was the Sietsema-recommended stewed pork with bean curd skins at $9 (he’s quoted on the front of the restaurant along with seemingly all other press on the restaurant – this place must have been open for a while).  The bean curd skin was the revelation of the evening – pasta-like in consistency, yet chewier and, well, less like a wet noodle.  The pork that accompanied the skins was also chewy, with a layer of fat on the outside that I found delicious and my girlfriend found excessive.  Unfortunately, the thick brown sauce didn’t help matters – a little too sweet, perhaps, and it tasted like it came from a bottle.

After hearing it talked up, New Green Bo was a great disappointment to me.  I guess I can’t expect every Chinese restaurant to crank out great food, and this one didn’t, for the most part.  A further strike against the Canal St.-area of Chinatown, culinarily – I can only blame myself, though, that I wasn’t even hungry enough afterwards to try the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory after dinner.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “New Green no-no.

  1. Mike, you didn’t try the ice cream at the factory? Jesus, man, that would have at least salvaged the evening. Black sesame ice cream can save any day.

  2. I like New Green Bo, but I don’t expect anything especially…great from Chinatown. But I expect good food that’s better than a lot of other places, especially for the price.I’ve been to New Green Bo three times, although the first time I had never heard of it before. My friend insisted we get beef noodle soup, which was really good! I thought. No one ever seems to talk about the beef noodle soup, haha.And of course, I’ve had the scallion pancakes and soup dumplings. I liked both, as I am a big fan of greasy scallion pancakes (yup, it’s just greasy flaky dough). 😉 I still remember one of the tastiest scallion pancakes I had, also the most grease laden one I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It was from a street vendor in Taiwan and the pancake totally transluscent-ified the paper bag it was wrapped in. …wow, that sounds gross.

  3. We loved New Green Bo when we went and reviewed it a few months ago– but we also didn’t eat any of the things that you did. If you can muster up the courage, go back and try the crispy eel and the fried fish.

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