I so wanted to like this Chinese restaurant. Newly opened in Frankin Square where Jani’s was for many years. I was never a fan of Jani’s, and Cheng Du came with the promise of authentic Chinese food. And Szechuan at that. My taste buds were drooling. Another authentic Chinese restaurant opening close to me. We even planned a Chinese Quest there. But, we aborted that trip when some of Mee Tsu Yan’s Asian friends said they tried it and panned it. I should have listened.
Cheng Du is located at 947 Hempstead Tpke., Franklin Square, NY 11010. It’s listed as 947-949 Hempstead Tpke., but that’s only going to throw off your GPS. There is free parking in the back. I went there on a Friday night with a friend. It had been over a decade since they were there yet they immediately recognized Helen, a holdover from Jani days. Helen became our waitress by default and made my Mai Tai extra strong. It’s all about who you know and not what you know I guess! The Mai Tai was strong; The food wasn’t.
Espying Soup Dumplings on the menu, we just had to start with that. An inauspicious start at that it was. While the soup was steaming hot, the soup had kind of a metallic flavor. The dumpling was thick, and the pork, umm, not so great. A sad way to start this meal off with.
We ordered two main entrees:
Shrimp with Black Bean Sauce – a winner!! But, not Szechuan, but we wanted something for sure we would both like. And, we did. The Shrimp were a nice size, cooked perfectly, seasoned just right, and tasted great! Perhaps we were back on track?
Three Cup Chicken – A Szechuan staple. Sadly, they left off the spicy and the moist cups (bad pun). The chicken was dry (Helen even tried it after we left more than half of it over, and she agreed), and the spices? Nowhere to be found.
Closing time was apparently 10:00 pm, and were made clear of that as the requisite non-English speaking waitress started to clean our table and then sprayed Windex on it and wiped it down while we were still sitting there. We got the message. We got up, paid, and left. And I am not coming back.
I had high hopes, but they were dashed. While a dash of spice might have saved the day.
Please check out our ratings of other Chinese restaurants on Long Island and Queens, and I think you might find a better choice.
Sadly submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)