The Chinese are coming! The Chinese are coming! The great migration is happening and I am loving every minute of it! With two locations out east, Tao’s Peking Duck House has opened in Glen Cove. The new location is 188 Glen Cove Ave. The restaurant is sparsely decorated with mustard brown paint on the walls, and not much thought into the decor. Tao’s has about ten tables with two enclosed booths. Piped in Chinese music creates an authentic Chinese ambiance.
Our waiter for the evening is Howard Chu, a real pleasant guy who was extremely helpful with the ordering. With no liquor license, we had to scramble for some alcohol. Not a problem at this location with a beer distributor and a liquor store in a one block radius. Peroni’s were the pick of the night. Beer always compliments a good Chinese meal.
Our starters included Spare Ribs (our staple when available), and the Steamed Dumplings. The ribs were meaty with perhaps a little too much fat. The sauce on the ribs was perfect, not too much sweet, and more on the subtle side. Not the best ribs, but nicely done. The Steamed Dumplings were very disappointing. The inside meat was tasty enough, but the dumplings were way too doughy. Compared to many a dumpling that we tasted on this journey, these fell way flat.
We proceeded to order a lot of dishes. Our first dish was of course the Peking Duck. Peking Duck is one of China’s signature dishes with a royal lineage going back more than 700 years. It originated during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 to 1368), a time when mongol emperors ruled China. The chef comes out of the kitchen to operate on this beautiful bird-see video provided. With surgeon-like skills, the duck is ready for eating. From here on out, it is all self serve. Starting with a flat pancake, we begin to build the signature dish. Duck meat, crunchy skin, scallions, cucumbers, & hoisin sauce. I always love a good Peking Duck, and this one did not disappoint. Although I prefer the fuller, sweeter buns to the flat pancake variety, the duck was nicely done. With plenty of leftovers, Howard suggested one of two dishes, either duck soup or a duck sautee. We chose the latter, and it came back to the table sauteed with onions and peppers. At this point, I was a little “ducked” out, but it was still better than wasting the meat.
Other dishes that we ordered:
Shrimp with Garlic Sauce was surprisingly sweet, served with tree mushrooms in a garlic sauce.
Cumin Chicken was of course spicy, served with onions, green peppers, and a flat and very flavorful chicken.
Tofu Fish in Spicy Sauce was prepared with flounder and tofu in a spicy brown sauce. I am not a tofu lover, but the fish was excellent.
Double Sauteed Pork was my favorite dish of the evening. Pork with green and red peppers and black bean was a little spicy and really good.
In small print, the menu proclaims a 15% discount with orders over $50, and a 20% discount with orders over $100. This deal brought the check down to $30 per man, pretty good considering that we ate like we were sentenced to the electric chair! The menu is a nice mix of real deal Chinese, and Long Island Chinese. A banquet section of the menu that is all in Chinese has a “Chef’s Special” that will set you back $388, and Tao’s Celebrate with Guest meal for $588.
Tao’s Peking Duck House is a perfect example of what is happening to Chinese food in LI. With some self described sadness, the old Jewish Chinese is withering away, and making room for authentic and varied types of Chinese. Wow, what a time to be alive and Jewish on Long Island!!!!!
All for now,
Mee Tsu Yan