Yee Li restaurant, on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Bayard, used do business under the much more amusing name New Big Wang. A few years ago they changed the name, but thankfully the ownership and the menu remained intact. As you enter this friendly Cantonese restaurant, you'll notice the huge roast ducks, roast and steamed chicken, and pig's head hanging in the window; beyond the door, giant fish tanks are stocked with soon-to-be-dinner. Once inside, a balding waiter with a beautifully oversized melon greets your party with a smile and leads you to one of the circular tables that fill the single-room restaurant. The place is nothing much to look at, but one dish in particular is worth writing home about.
The menu (peruse it here) consists of well-executed standards like Sweet and Sour Pork ($10.95), Cantonese Fried Chicken ($13 for half, $25 for whole), and BBQ Spare Ribs ($6.75). They usually have a good lobster deal, with two lobsters for around $15 as well. These are all fine options, but there's one menu item in particular that keeps us coming back: the Pan Fried Stuffed Triple Delight. Such is our lust for this dish that, despite frequenting the
New Big Wang Yee Li for years, it's all we ever order.
The Triple Delight is prepared in a rich black bean sauce and consists of eggplant, green pepper, and tofu stuffed with shrimp balls. It's unclear exactly what makes the Delight Cubed such an addictive dish— for one thing, discovering the shrimp nestled inside the tofu and vegetables is a perpetual thrill for the palate—but over the years it's proven to be consistently scrumptious. Ask the waiter for a complimentary side of their salty ginger scallion sauce, spoon it out generously over plate, and see how it quadruples the Delight. The dish costs $16.50 and is enough to share, but a certain someone's been known to greedily inhale it all by himself. Don't judge until you've tried it.
1 Elizabeth Street, (212) 219-3686, Cash Only