Today was the first day of the Chinese New Year and we wanted to welcome 4709 in with style. We had been wanting to go to a restaurant in Chinatown called R&G Lounge, which we saw featured on Anthony Bourdain‘s “No Reservations“. R&G opened in 1985 and has become quite popular – they began as a restaurant on the basement level of the building, and have since expanded to three dining room floors, including a full bar and special events spaces. They serve Cantonese food and pride themselves on their quality, using the freshest ingredients possible.
R&G is famous for their Salt & Pepper Crab, which is lightly battered and fried. We came especially to try this one.
Since it was a celebration, we wanted to indulge, as well as get a good sampling of their menu, so we ordered a few more dishes.
Peking Duck (Red for good luck – it IS Chinese New Year!):
Honey Walnut Prawns (Nick’s favorite):
R&G Special Beef (another signature dish):
and Chicken Chow Mein (long noodles for long life!):
Everything was delicious. The crab came first, and there was almost absolute silence as we devoured it. Eat first, talk later. It was pretty funny. The other dishes came out pretty quickly after, and we just enjoyed everything. Aaron scored the crab body, and it was an irresistible photo op (look at all that battered goodness!):
He also brilliantly noted, “Don’t let them take the dish away – we should sprinkle the remaining fried bits onto the chow mein!”. Slam dunk, Aaron. Good man.
After our delicious dinner, we headed over to Li Po, a cocktail lounge that is rumored to have been an opium den back in the day. The place is so old, I don’t really have a problem believing that. The decor is really cool – a mishmash of different things added over the many years. It supposedly gets really crazy on the weekends, but the crowd was pretty tame tonight, which was a good thing.
Li Po was also featured on a Tony Bourdain show, The Layover. They’re famous for their “Chinese Mai Tais” – a combination of four different liquors and a bit of juice – so of course we had to get those. Yum!
Since it was a school night, we didn’t want to stay out TOO late, so after hanging out for a bit, having fun listening to the surrounding games of Liar’s Dice and watching “Uncle” (our nickname for the bartender) work the crowd, I had one final beer, and we headed home. Happy Year of the Dragon!
R & G Lounge
Li Po Cocktail Lounge