Beef teriyaki, Pu Pu Platters and egg rolls are familiar appetizers on any Chinese restaurant in New England. But what about tuna tartare, lobster rangoon and frog legs? The new Jade Dragon location in downtown Manchester serves popular Chinese food favorites, but owner Lam Cheung has added a few other uncommon appetizers and plates.
The new restaurant on Elm Street features a menu that reflects a Japanese, Chinese and New England cuisine fusion, with sashimi and sushi rolls, Peking duck and prime rib.
“We make it with a twist. Try a prime rib with a Chinese flair with sauteed vegetable,” Cheung said. “It’s probably unheard of in this culinary space, so we’re very excited.”
Cheung, a Manchester native, is familiar with the downtown food scene. With two Jade Dragon locations in Milford and Merrimack, he wanted to bring something to the Manchester area.
“When it became available there was an instant interest for a classy, nicer place for people to enjoy Chinese food,” he said.
The new location is located on the corner of Elm and Lowell streets in the space occupied previously by Blu and The Black Brimmer before that.
“Pretty much we brought out the glamourous and the prime of The Black Brimmer,” Cheung said. “[The chandeliers are] the original; the person that originally put them up in 1975 … he came in on the day we put them up and he was in tears, because they were put away. … It’s almost like anything else is just unfit.”
The interior of the restaurant does not reflect a traditional Chinese restaurant found in New England, but the menu includes Chinese cuisine favorites and more, like French lamb rack with red wine sauce, salmon with miso soup, filet mignon and sea scallops with shrimp.
“It’s a draw for classic Chinese food. I call it classic, I mean the New England favorites — the Pu Pu Platters, the lo mein, the rice,” Cheung said. “I believe it becomes a mainstream food.”
Currently, Cheung said that the menu is almost the same as the menus in the Milford and Merrimack locations, but that will probably change before the holiday season.
“The first two months are like a soft opening, almost three months now. It’s like that the last few months are like a test market, and now I want to reset the menu,” he said. “Now we know what’s popular and what’s not — what’s acceptable to Manchester.”
Cheung said that the lettuce wrap, General Gau’s chicken and sushi rolls, like the California roll, spicy tuna and salmon, are all very popular.
“The appetizers are always the favorite in New England,” he said.
The menu is divided between combination plates, a full sushi and sashimi menu and the main menu, which includes appetizers, steaks and familiar Chinese food options.
“More hip sushi becomes one of the staple foods in the Chinese/Japanese category, and that’s what we try to capture. Make sure we have the variety people are looking for,” Cheung said.
For sushi lovers, Cheung recommends the fiery dragon roll (with shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, avocado, hot lobster on top with a sauce) or the spider roll (served with crunchy soft shell crab tempura, cucumber and avocado). There are familiar maki rolls and sashimi choices, but also options like the prime rib roll, the N.H. roll (with shrimp tempura, crab meat, lobster and caviar) and an Oh My God Roll (BBQ eel, cucumber and avocado inside with spicy tuna, butter fish and crunchy onion on top).
Jade Dragon will feature live music on Friday nights and DJs on Saturday nights, as well as piano during dinner hours.