I Have to Tell You About These Oysters
The oysters were the enormous ones I've only seen in Chinese restaurants. I don't know what they're called or where they're from, and I don't think I'd want to eat them raw, but they form the basis of some great Cantonese dishes. I've had them battered and fried, on a sizzling platter with black pepper sauce, steamed in the shell with black bean sauce, and in casseroles with ginger and scallion or roast pig. In fact, until this recent Imperial Palace oyster experience, my favorite Chinese oyster dish was the casserole with roast pig at midtown's Phoenix Garden.
These oysters at Imperial Palace were works of art. Each shell had a bath of savory X.O. sauce surrounding an oyster that was topped with a perfectly complimentary combination of minced crispy bacon and scallions. The sheer luxuriance of these beauteous bivalves, along with the supporting flavors, sent most of my fellow diners into paroxysms of ecstasy. As a matter of fact, I might not have thought to use the word "bath" in my description if Holly had not exclaimed, in her unbridled enthusiasm over this dish, "I want to bathe in this sauce!"
X.O. sauce, by the way, is a relatively recent addition to Chinese cuisine. It is named in homage to X.O. Cognac, which is an extremely popular drink among Chinese people (indeed, it is often consumed as a beverage during meals), but the sauce doesn't actually contain any Cognac. Developed in Hong Kong in the 1980s, it is a concentrated flavoring made of dried seafood cooked with chili, garlic, onions and oil.
136-13 37th Avenue, Flushing
Near the 7 train Main Street stop.