2017-10-04 / Restaurant of the Week

Danny’s Szechuan Garden WOK & GRILL

Very few restaurants survive, let alone thrive like Danny’s Szechuan Garden Wok & Grill, at 156-40B Cross Bay Blvd. in Howard Beach. Since 1978 Danny Chan has guided this restaurant to new heights, year in and year out. He began in 1978 a few blocks away, at 164-14 Cross Bay Blvd, and since 2012 Danny’s has been in the current location. Danny himself is a gracious host with a delightful sense of humor. His staff is professional and courteous. They get their patrons what is needed before they have to ask. In 1991 Danny introduced the first Japanese hibachi grill in Howard Beach. The present Japanese smokeless hibachi grill forms a fabulous synergy with the fine gourmet Chinese cuisine this special restaurant serves. Combined with the relaxing bar and lounge where one can have a superb assortment of drinks, wine or beer, coming here is a win-win experience.

We started our meal with a spinach and minced chicken soup, with carrots and egg whites. It is hot and tasty, similar, as Danny pointed out, to Italian wedding soup with a decidedly Asian flair. Everything one orders is made right on the spot! Nothing is sitting in a fridge waiting to be warmed up or worse, frozen and waiting to be microwaved. It is all fresh and prepared individually, table by table, dish by dish. Our next large appetizer was Grand Marnier Chicken, consisting of a crispy chicken with a sweet taste on a bed of even crispier noodles with two orange slices to round out this colorful, tasty dish that is also available in a shrimp variation. This is a great value and worth a trip just to try it.

Vegetable dumplings were next. Tender, fluffy vegetables that included chopped spinach in a spinach-noodle dumpling that was as close to soft and tender as a dumpling gets.

Egg rolls rolled onto our table after the dumplings, and wow! Full, tasty egg rolls with crispy skin, full of pork, cabbage, and celery. It was a tasteful, perfect egg roll to dip into the variety of sauces on our table.

While we were enjoying our delicious appetizers, our eyes wondered over to the hibachi table section of the spacious restaurant. By the way, every table in this establishment is comfortable and roomy and far from the next table. One can enjoy the privacy afforded if one wants. Back to the hibachi section, the Danny Hana, as it is referred to by regulars, is a great hibachi show, entertaining and fun dining. We did not experience the hibachi first-hand, but vicariously it seemed awesome. This gives us a reason to return even sooner – to try the tantalizing hibachi with the Danny Hana chef show accompaniment.

As we were marveling at the hibachi table, our main courses came out and all eyes focused on the feast to follow. Sizzling beef with scallops came out first. This is a combination of beef and scallops in a rich brown sauce served on a sizzling platter with seasonal vegetables, including snow pea pods and straw mushrooms. The oyster sauce brings out the best flavors in this dish. The full, round scallops are tender and large, and they melt in your mouth. The beef is tender and tasty, a perfect combo. This dish is also available with shrimp instead of scallops, if you desire.

Changqing Shrimp came out next. This is shrimp in a spicy and sweet red sauce created by Danny’s chef from Changqing China. The sweet taste is accentuated by the pineapples and red peppers on the spicy side. The large shrimp are surrounded by firm broccoli. The shrimp is crispy, moist, and firm. If you add rice to the dish, it takes some of the heat off the spicy sauce. We chose to have it straight up. This is a dynamite dish of explosive flavors to say the least.

General Tso came to the table next. This is a 5-star general if we ever saw one. It is beyond review. It is in an orange sauce with chicken that is not afraid to jump out of the dish. It beckons you to taste it: crispy chicken coated in a sweet honey sauce with hot Szechuan pepper. It can be ordered with white meat only or dark meat. Whatever way you have it, this is a must-order dish.

Young Chow fried rice accompanied our main courses. This is a main course in and of itself. It is fried rice al dente style if you will, with pork, shredded chicken, peas, onions, small shrimp, and eggs. It is a superb variation on a well-known dish.

We mentioned that when we sat down we were served the classic crispy noodles that we put in our soup with all the great dipping sauces. But we did not say how good the tea was. This also greets you upon being seated at your table. This is oolong tea, which is made from the leaves, buds, and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant, a great way to start your meal and end it. It brings you full circle. It seems to open up your appetite at the start of the meal and upon conclusion it helps soothe and relax you after an exciting meal.

We were too full for dessert, but we have no doubt that Danny’s would have great desserts to bring to your table. We are anxious to go back and try the hibachi table, and this time leave room for dessert. But we would also want all the great dishes that we had again too. These are good problems to have. Our fortune cookies at the end of the meal should have said, “come back soon and enjoy more again.”

156-40B Cross Bay Blvd., Howard Beach
718.738.6500  718.848.2828


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