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Luna Garden review

Kung pao delight, made with chicken, beef, shrimp

Kung pao delight, made with chicken, beef, shrimp and peanuts, is from the list of chef's specialties at Luna Garden in Syosset. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Egg foo young isn't just a dish; it's a category on the menu at Luna Garden, a tastefully appointed little Chinese restaurant that transports you back to simpler times. Here, you won't find a sushi bar. Or neon accents. Just, oddly enough, a larger-than-life stuffed bear attired in an English bobby's uniform standing guard at the window. Owner Joanna Yuen says it was a gift from a customer.

Understandable. Yuen exudes lots of personal warmth, greeting diners as if they are guests in her home. "It's cold out there; how about some hot tea?" she asks. Throughout the meal, she checks back regularly, refilling empty cups and topping off half-full ones.

You might also want to warm up with a bowl of clean-tasting chicken corn soup, its golden broth lightly threaded with egg white. Wonton soup is filled with al dente dumplings; they're savory, if a little thick. Evoking childhood memories are the meaty BBQ spareribs, glazed and pleasingly sweet. Just steer clear of the steamed dumplings, which are weighty and oh so doughy.

You may find it hard to resist Luna Garden's egg foo young. Ordered with roast pork, it features puffy little meat-and-vegetable-laced omelets with brown gravy that's thoughtfully served on the side rather than on top. One night, shrimp chow fun carries a lovely smokiness. This is the kind of dish you may find yourself powerless to stop eating. Vegetable lo mein runs a close second.

From the list of chef's specialties comes kung pao delight. It's made not only with chicken, peanuts and peppers but also shrimp and beef. Ordered extra spicy, it delivers a sly kick. Somewhat milder is Mongolian beef, a savory-sweet stir-fry with vegetables in a brown soy-based sauce. Sesame chicken stars crunchy little sesame-coated fried chicken balls glossed with a sauce that's sweet but not cloying. Another magnet for your chopsticks: Hunan shrimp, plump shellfish in a spicy vegetable-studded brown sauce. A must-order is baby bok choy. The miniature Chinese cabbage heads, sauteed with garlic, come out crisp-tender and a striking emerald green.

For dessert, there's ice cream in flavors like red bean and green tea. With it come chocolate fortune cookies. An observant waitress takes note of what a hit they are and brings more. Clearly, Yuen has trained her well.

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