REVIEW: Coco Palace
May 27, 2019 | Daily Bite
"Until now, Americans - including those who are Chinese-food lovers - have just scratched the surface. However, a new Chinese restaurant in Great Neck called "Coco’s Palace" offers one of those rarely-encountered Chinese eating experiences."
Review by Richard Scholem
Feature Photo Credit: Lingchao K., Yelp.
"Let’s have Chinese tonight" is an often heard comment in American homes. "Chinese" in this case usually means Cantonese or Szechwan. But China is a huge country. The cooking in its various regions is distinctive and differs greatly from area to area. Until now, Americans - including those who are Chinese-food lovers - have just scratched the surface. However, a new Chinese restaurant in Great Neck called Coco Palace offers one of those rarely-encountered Chinese eating experiences. Its Yunnnan cuisine from the Western Provinces bordering Vietnam, Laos and Myaramar is often influenced by its neighbors, all of which results in unique possibilities. I had never previously eaten any of the dishes sampled at Coco’s Palace.
At the center of this one-of-a-kind Long Island spot are rice (not wheat) noodles. The most promising of these rice dishes is the “Crossing the Bridge Noodles”. It has achieved nationwide popularity ever since its introduction in the Quing Dynasty. It involves a small burner brought to the table along with a case holding tiny dishes of Chicken, pork, mushrooms, squid, scallions, shrimp and chives - all of which are mixed into pork and chicken broth in the warming broth of the burner. They are followed by a bowl of rice noodles that, along with the other ingredients, cook for a few minutes before being consumed. Listed as Yunnan Oriental style rice noodles, they are on the rice section of the menu that also yields a number of other good regional picks.
Photo Credit: Victoria Y., Yelp
Among the ones we sampled were Jinpot chicken: a cold chicken and chopped peanut dish enlivened by lemon sauce, bland (yet strangely addictive) buckwheat chips, a good Kumming style eggplant appetizer and Yunnan style pork belly stew with rice noodles.
Photo Credit: Tina L., Yelp
Coco Palace has some charming touches including flowers, dolls, print textiles and embroidered pillows. Service is willing and pleasant but seemingly inexperienced. We had no sooner sat down before we were asked to order. Dishes came to our table one by one in a staggered sequence.
Richard Jay Scholem practically invented the Long Island restaurant culture through 800+ reviews of the region's eateries both on radio and in print over the last 30 years. He is a former New York Times Long Island Section restaurant reviewer, has contributed to the Great Restaurants of...magazines and Bon Vivant, authored a book, aired reviews on WGSM and WCTO radio stations, served on the board of countless community and food and beverage organizations, and received many accolades for his journalism in both print and broadcast media. He is currently available for restaurant consultation. Reach him at (631) 271-3227.