December 2, 2012
Ollie’s Noodle Shop & Grille, New York NY
Roast Duck (火鸭)
Shrimp Lo Mein (虾捞面)
Pepper Steak (青椒牛肉)
Broccoli, Zucchini, Eggplant in Garlic Sauce (紫兰三素)
Before getting the whole team to pile into a Megabus and head back to Philly, most of us crowded into a local westernized Chinese restaurant often populated by Columbia students – Ollie’s Noodle Shop & Grille. Apparently, our team came here last year too. It is much like Sang Kee and other casual Chinese establishments. The atmosphere was light and cheery, with large windows and casual yet simple tables and chairs.
Our first dish was the Roast Duck (火鸭). The duck was mediocre. The skin was crispy enough but not the crispiest I have had. The meat was not tough but not particularly fatty and juicy either. It definitely was not melt-in-your-mouth duck meat. I did like the cabbage and spinach under the meat, though, soaking up a little flavour. The rice that had soaked up some of the duck broth also had a light, savoury taste that made it decent.
The Shrimp Lo Mein (虾捞面) was too salty. The noodles were okay; they were not overcooked but could have been more al dente with more of a chew. The shrimp were also a little overcooked. I would have liked more vegetables in this dish. Also, it was quite greasy and just tasted of soy sauce and salt.
The Pepper Steak (青椒牛肉) was actually the best of the four dishes. The beef was succulent and the bell peppers and onions still had some crispiness to them while coated in the same sweet and spicy sauce. This went really well with the steamed rice.
Finally, the Broccoli, Zucchini, Eggplant in Garlic Sauce (紫兰三素) was way too greasy. There was about a layer of oil over the entire dish, hiding the flavourful sauce underneath. The sauce was spicy but not sweet and aromatic enough. Also, because there was so much oil, the sauce did not coat and get into the eggplant, broccoli, and zucchini. While all three vegetables are my favourites, I do not like them bland and drenched in grease.
Ollie’s definitely need to cut back on the oil and salt. The prices are reasonable and the service was extremely fast and quite friendly. The atmosphere was light and uplifting. However, overly greasy food seemed to wipe all the pros away.