Monday, October 20, 2008

NYONYA - Grand St. branch

I've heard a lot about NYONYA, about how it's the more affordable version of the famous PENANG chain of restaurants and it also claims to serve authentic Malaysian food in the heart of Manhattan. "Affordable", "authentic Malaysian food" and "heart of Manhattan" don't usually come in the same sentence. Therefore, we decided to check that place out for dinner last weekend. It's located in the northern part of Chinatown, almost bordering Little Italy (between Mott & Mulberry St.). There are some parking garages on that street but street parking can be a problem. I would recommend that you take the subway and get off at the Canal St. station.

We arrived fairly early and the place was already getting pretty packed. Be prepared to wait for a table if you are planning to go during peak hours. The decor of the restaurant is nothing to shout about, mostly wood and bamboo with a few 'aquariums' with fresh live seafood. Not a place to go for a romantic date but more of a family oriented atmosphere. The staff were friendly and quick in sitting us at our table. From the looks of the menu, the prices ARE affordable and there is a wide range of Malaysian noodles, rice as well as dishes to choose from.

Kevin ordered his favourite, Char Koay Teow (of course) and I tried the Indian Mee Goreng. They both cost $6.50 each. We also shared a plate of popiah ($5.75) as an appetizer and I had soya bean cincau ($2.00) while he had a pepsi ($1.50). Chinese tea and water is on the house.

The popiah was a bit of a disappointment. It didn't really taste like the popiah I know and the popiah skin was wrapped too loosely, thus making most of the ingredients fall out when you pick a piece up. I would give it a 2 out of 10. Kevin's Char Koay Teow was pretty authentic. The portions were very large ( I think it was equivalent to 2 plates of the char koay teow we can get back in Malaysia). It had large prawns, squid and fish cakes, fried up with a little hint of spiciness. I think it deserves a 7 out of 10. My Indian Mee Goreng was out of this world! In my opinion, it taste better than some of the mee goreng I had back in Malaysia. It somewhat reminds me of the famous mee goreng in Tg Tokong, Penang. Soggy, a little bit sweet and not too spicy....just the way I like it. The portion was very large too. I only managed to finish half of it and I doggy bagged the rest for supper later on :D Rating? A whopping 9 out of 10 (if it had peanuts and sotong in it, then it would have been a 10/10)!

Overall, the food was good and the price was affordable. The whole meal for two came up to less than $25. They do not accept credit cards, so remember to bring cash. There was one tiny thing that left a sour note. After we paid, the waitress demanded for a tip, even told us how much is the minimum we need to give. I feel that we should be allowed to decide ourselves how much to give or to even give at all. We are not morons or creatures that lack social grace. I am sure most people know what to do when it comes to tipping and we wouldn't need somebody else to dictate how much we should give. Would we go back to Nyonya? Most probably, but maybe to another branch that doesn't have rude waitresses.

NYONYA - Grand St. branch
194 Grand St,
New York, NY 10013
Tel: (212) 334 3669
View map


tze chun said...

hey, too bad they doesn't have it over here in Oregon. Else, i will definately give it a try. :-0

Charlene said...

Check this out :

Looks like there are two Malaysian restaurants in Oregon. Dunno if you have tried them :D

tze chun said...

yeah, try the satay hut before. not too bad. the others one, not yet tested. but no need la, since i will be here for few months nia.:-), i can always try it when i go back to msia. hehehe