2016-08-03 / Restaurant of the Week

Danny’s Szechuan Garden

Danny’s Szechuan Garden is legendary in Howard Beach and has been the ‘go to’ spot for excellent Chinese, Szechuan, and Hibachi cuisine since 1978. In fact, Danny himself is the real legend, drawing in customers and making friends for 38 years with his warmth, hospitality, and his wonderful sense of humor. “Danny is the consummate host,” said my friend, who lives nearby and has been coming to Danny’s for years. He knows his customers by name and their favorite dishes, and everyone gets a handshake or a hug. You can call for a take-out order too with free delivery, but then you wouldn’t see Danny.

The convenient location on Cross Bay Blvd, just south of the Belt Pkwy, offers plenty of parking behind the restaurant and on the street. The comfortable interior features tile walls accented by lavender hues and soft lighting. There’s a tidy bar up front with a virtual fish tank, where Danny mixes up a great Mai Tai, complete with fruit and umbrella garnish, which I loved, and serves all your favorite cocktails and beer.

We were lucky enough to have Danny set the menu for us so that we could try all the house favorites and specialties, including some of the spicier Szechuan dishes, which we loved. First came a bowl of soup made with chopped spinach and minced chicken that was creamy and delicious, followed by perfectly barbecued spare ribs. We made short order of these ribs, picking them up and devouring the meat right off the bone. You can also start with a crispy vegetable or shrimp roll, spring roll, beef dim sum, or shrimp dumplings with four to an order for sharing. Sure, Danny’s has the classics such as scallion pancakes, cold noodles with peanut sauce and even fried calamari, but we tried the Grand Marnier Shrimp and loved them for their crispy, crunchy coating and light, citrusy-creamy sauce ($8.95).

The list of entrées goes on and on with choices in seafood, chicken, beef, vegetables, and noodles. That goes for the hibachi table too. Danny’s Szechuan Garden has a unique, Japanese smokeless hibachi table along with an expert chef who is a 16-year veteran at Danny’s. This combination means that your chicken, shrimp, scallops, salmon, filet mignon, steak, and lobster tails will be cooked in front of your eyes like theater, then served with soup, appetizers and rice or noodles for a fair price. This is a great way to celebrate a birthday or family dinner, as you may have your own hibachi table and chef for your party.

The tangerine beef is tender, citrusy and has a kick of spice, but all dishes can be adjusted as everything is made fresh to order and nothing is ever greasy or salty. Next came the New York classic General Tso’s chicken, made light and fresh with fine ingredients so you can enjoy all the flavors. We offered special accolades to the black pepper scallops, made with big, juicy scallops and a rich, brown sauce flecked with ground black peppercorns. Mmmm - so good, and there was some left for lunch the next day. This black pepper sauce is also available with chicken and next time, we’ll try the Rainbow Chicken, another house specialty. Chung Quing Two Delight is a dish you won’t find anywhere else, featuring tender chicken and plump, juicy shrimp prepared in a slightly spicy sauce laced with verdant broccoli, pineapple, and red bell pepper, and there’s plenty for sharing ($16.75). No matter what entrée you choose, you ought to order a platter of Yung Chao fried rice, light and fluffy with shrimp, chicken, bits of roast pork, peas, and onions. My only regret was that I was so full, I couldn’t eat more of this delicious rice, but thankfully, our kind waitress packed it up to take home. If you’re a fan of noodles, Danny’s has lo mein, which are similar to spaghetti, chow fun, a wider, flat noodle, and mei fun, like angel hair, available with shrimp, roast pork, chicken, or vegetables. Again, they’re all made fresh to order and bursting with flavor.

Danny’s Szechuan Garden has great lunch specials too, from $6.95 to eat in or for delivery to your home or office. You can even have a business or family lunch at the Hibachi table from $9.95. Danny will host your private party or business event any day or evening, so call for reservations. They’re open seven days a week from 11:15am to 10:00pm on weekdays and from noon until 11pm on weekends.

For excellent Chinese food, Japanese Hibachi table, and teriyaki dishes; great drinks, service, and the warmth and hospitality from its host, you can’t top a visit to Danny’s Szechuan Garden in Howard Beach. Make it your stop to or from the beach, the airport, or anywhere.

156-40 Cross Bay Boulevard
Howard Beach  718.738.6500

www.dannyszechuangarden.com

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