Hoosick Road (Route 7), Brunswick, 272-0036. Serving Mon-Thu
11-10, Fri-Sat 11-11, Sun noon-10. AE, D, MC. V.
price range: $9.25 (Kung Pao tofu) to $20 (Tsing Tao
airy and elegant
difficult not to begin with an appraisal of the decades-long
work-in-progress that is the Plum Blossom, but the superior
food quality—a constant over those many years—shone through
on a pair of recent visits, including a pre-Thanksgiving dinner
visit that found the place packed.
It was two nights before the big holiday, and a line of people
waited by the door. (“It will be even busier tomorrow,” owner
Steve Chang confided, “because people don’t want to cook on
these days.”) Mine was a party of six, but we were seated
fairly quickly. It was a lengthy wait after that, but once
we ordered, the wheels started turning—slowly, it’s true,
but not to a point of discomfort. To the restaurant’s credit,
they didn’t try to fill every seat and thus tax themselves
all the more.
My daughter and I returned the following week for lunch, and,
although the restaurant was thrumming, service was back to
the brisk and extremely friendly level we’ve grown to expect
over the years.
Twenty-five years is an eternity in restaurant years, yet
Chang not only has operated this place that long but also
put it through three different remodeling phases, the last,
and most ambitious one turning it into an elegant Chinese
courtyard inside—but a courtyard dressed with Moorish and
The interior woodwork is astonishing, wrought with beauty
and precision; the confluence of color and light, the artwork
adorning the walls, the bright parquet floors—all of it imparts
a sense of well-being even before you take your seat.
The menu, too, is a confluence of Asian cultures, the kind
of menu you’d find in contemporary Hong Kong. Recipes have
been gathered from throughout China; added to that are dishes
from Japan, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
The pupu platter, although taking its name from the Cantonese,
emerged during the Polynesian restaurant craze of the ’40s
and ’50s, when restaurants like Trader Vic’s invited you to
dine in thatched-hut booths. Plum Blossom’s version ($15)
is served on the traditional two-tiered platter with a sterno-fired
grate at its peak, over which you can reheat the honey-glazed
barbecued ribs and selected fried items, such as chicken wings,
spring rolls, and deep-fried bread. With excellent soups and
other terrific appetizers like the grilled satay skewers
($7) and shiu mai (fancy dumplings, $3.75), I’d go
pupu only with a large, hungry party.
I also sampled the lime shrimp salad ($9), described as featuring
“blushing fresh wild shrimp,” those little coquettes, with
lemongrass and lime juice setting off a minty mix of fresh
On another visit, we found the chicken coconut soup ($3.25;
$2.49 for lunch) to be an excellent meal in itself, if what
you seek is something light, sweet and refreshing, yet filled
with tasty chicken and garnished with peppers and mushrooms.
That also gave us a shot at the fried dumplings ($5; $3.45
for lunch), which were wrapped and filled as is usual, but
served with a tastier sauce than we expected, sparked by a
tangy hit of ginger.
The soup realm is typical: wonton (as expected), egg drop
(far too gelatinous), hot and sour (excellent!), with a tasty,
mushroom-and-tofu-enhanced miso soup borrowed from Japanese
From Thailand comes a curry bowl ($4) and pad Thai ($11),
among others; we sampled the latter, which combined noodles
and shrimp with a citrus-infused peanut topping. A classic
Char-grilled lemongrass pork chops ($15.85) suggest a meat
dish that should be more tender than what we received; I suspect
it fell victim to too long a wait, because the meat had subsided
to room temperature, also reflected in the state of the accompanying
green beans. Which means it probably was a victim of the busy-ness
of the day. And it certainly was tasty enough for us to keep
Indonesian beef randand ($13) is a cheery preparation
of flank steak that puts it in a coconut milk sauce with peppers
and sweet potatoes—an unlikely sounding combo, but a pleasing
Roasted duck “Chinatown style” ($17) proves to be an ambitious
platter of dark, crisp meat, somewhat challenging to negotiate
because it’s cleavered into pieces that still are fully bone-intact.
But the flavor is worth the effort.
Plenty of vegetarian choices are offered, from dishes based
on string beans or eggplant, to curries, stir-fries and a
toothsome array of fried bean curd and peanuts in the kung
pao tofu ($9.45).
At lunchtime, choices are smaller and less expensive, still
with a good variety. With a bowl of soup and a side of rice
completing the dish, the $6 to $8 entrées are a bargain. Pork
with Thai eggplant in a spicy garlic sauce ($7), for instance,
has an expansive flavor, dark and rich, to complement the
crispy pork and squishy eggplant.
If a restaurant works well under pressure, you’re usually
assured that it will present outstandingly on normal days.
We got to see Plum Blossom weather a gale and do fairly well;
we saw them at their typical best. And it remains one of the
high points of Asian dining in the Capital Region.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
the new year with New World Home Cooking Company’s
10th annual Champagne Dinner, which takes place
at 6:30 PM on Dec. 14. Chef Ric Orlando and Michael
Weiss, wine instructor at the Culinary Institute
of America, join forces to present a seven-course
meal paired with seven wines. Start with a clam
foursome—raw littlenecks with mustard sauce, cherrystone
ceviche with cilantro, razor clam spicy Asian
barbecue, and Manila clam paella with peas and
chorizo—and continue through a meal that includes
a trio of lamb (lamb filet mignon, sweetbreads
with strawberry-chipotle sauce, and crepinettes
with tomato jam) and much more. It’s $79 per person,
plus tax and tip, and you can reserve seats by
calling (845) 246-0900. The restaurant is at 1411
Route 212, Saugerties; check out newworldhomecooking.com
for more info. . . . Remember to pass your scraps
to Metroland (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
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very much enjoyed eating dinner at Daniel's
at Ogdens. You review described my dining
experience perfectly. This wasn't the case
with Pancho's. I much prefer Garcia's or
Lake View Tavern for Mexican fare. I agree
that a restaurant can have an off night
so I'll give the second unit on Central
Avenue a try.
yes I miss the star ratings, bring it back.
Second, I haven't had a chance to visit
Poncho's yet, but I especially like reading
would travel to Amsterdam to this restaurant
- it's not that far away. People traveled
from all over to eat at Ferrandi's in Amsterdam.
From his background, I'm sure the chef's
sauce is excellent and that is the most
important aspect of an Italian restaurant.
Sometimes your reviewer wastes words on
the negative aspects of a restaurant. I'm
looking forward to trying this restaurant
- I look forward to Metroland every Thursday
especially for the restaurant review. And
by the way Ferrandi's closed its Amsterdam
location and is opening a new bistro on
Saratoga Lake - Should be up and running
in May. It will be called Saratoga Lake
Bistro. It should be great!
comments about the Indian / Pakistani restaurants
being as "standardized as McDonald's"
shows either that you have eaten at only
a few Indian / Pakistani restaurants or
that you have some prejudices to work out.
That the physical appearances are not what
you would consider fancy dancy has no bearing
on the food. And after all, that is what
the main focus of the reviews should be.
Not the physical appearances, which is what
most of your reviews concentrate on.
A restaurant like The Shalimar, down on
Central Avenue, may not look the greatest,
but the food is excellent there. And the
menu has lots of variety - beef, lamb, vegetarian,
chicken, and more..