Long Island’s current wave of authentic Chinese restaurants has been dominated by the cooking of the North — lots of lamb and potatoes, cumin and red chilies, rustic dumplings and hand-pulled noodles. (See Splendid Noodle and China Sation in Stony Brook, LOL Kitchen & Grill in Centereach.)
Now, hot on the heels of, and across the street from, the 2½-star Northern Chinese New Fu Run in Great Neck, comes Saaho Village, a resolutely Cantonese restaurant owned by the Chinese impresario Spencer Chan.
Chan, who emigrated from Hong Kong in 1976, was a partner at three seminal Cantonese restaurants in Manhattan’s Chinatown: 20 Mott, Golden Unicorn and Sweet-n-Tart (whose Manhattan and Flushing locations are now both closed). His new venture derives its name from Saaho in Guangzhou (formerly Canton) in Southern China, a town famous for its delicate, translucent rice noodles.
Homemade rice noodles form the backbone of this small but elegant restaurant. Rather than relying on classic Cantonese dishes, Chan has created a menu full of originals, many of them using untraditional ingredients.
Starters include chicken wings with lemongrass with fermented tofu ($12), mountain yam salad with tahini and coconut milk dressing ($11).
Among the rice-noodle-skinned dim sum are filet mignon-asparagus dumplings topped with caviar, and barbecued eel-chayote dumplings (both $9 for 3). Ho fun (wide rice) noodles are served with eggplant, dried squid and cured duck ($18); cheong fun (even wider rice noodles) are rolled around roast duck and chayote ($16) or cured duck, chicken sausage, mozzarella and tomato sauce ($17). Non-rice-noodle dishes include poached lamb belly with tofu skin, goji berry and cumin sauce ($20) and osmanthus-honey-glazed smoked duck breast with sugar beets ($24).
Saaho Village is at 69 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-482-8866, saahovillage.com