Seafood Empire

Seafood Empire in North Brunswick is one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in Central Jersey. It may not be the most authentic place, but the modern twist on “traditional” American Chinese food is well executed. 

 When entering this strip-mall eatery you may first take notice to the slightly outdated decor and the 1980’s fish tank, but don’t let that distract you from the real reason you’re here….the food.  Seafood Empire is a BYOB establishment, so dust off that bottle of wine you have been saving as this may be your chance to put it to good use.

The menu consists of an extensive collection of eclectic Chinese dishes that all have a rather distinct taste.  The Lettuce Cups tops the list of appetizers with its combination of diced chicken, sweet hoisin sauce, and pine nuts, served in a leaf of lettuce. The contrast in temperature works well in this dish as the chilled lettuce provides a refreshing crunch to each bite. However the pine nuts are what sets this starter apart from the rest, as it brings a nutty flavor as well as a creamy texture to one of the healthier choices.

The Scallion Pancakes I found to be slightly better than average, with the pancake not being overly greasy, yet still lacking some depth.

Hands down best entrée in my opinion is not seafood as this restaurant’s name may imply, but instead the Duck with Black Bean and Ginger Sauce.  This dish has it all….. presentation, aromatic flavors, and freshness. This house signature dish is a boneless duck breast delicately braised in a light black bean sauce with fresh ginger and served sizzling on a hot plate.  The best part of this dish is the crispy duck skin that is placed on top of the meat adding both texture and temptation.

Another dish that should not be over looked is The Sesame Delight.  This is not your ordinary Sesame Chicken dish; in fact there is nothing ordinary about this dish.  The Sesame Delight consists of chicken and beef, both shredded but in tender twists that melt in your mouth like a fine piece of filet mignon.  The sauce is a light garlic based sauce with a touch of white wine which adds a nice sweetness.  I am not a big fan of your traditional Sesame Chicken as most restaurants have a tendency to drench the clumped random pieces of over battered chicken in an excess of thick sauce that tastes like a sweeter version of a General Tso’s sauce.  This is clearly not the case as this subtle sesame flavored sauce perfectly complements the tenderness of the meat only to be topped with sesame seeds.

Now for all you herbivores out there not too worry, Seafood Empire has plenty of selections including their Chef’s Specialty Harvest Delight. This vegetarian entrée consist of a hearty collection of fresh veggies prepared in a fresh basil and lemon grass sauce.  If Tofu or Bean curd is your desire, then there is much to choose from including the Fried Bean Curd Home Style and the Bean Curd Szechuan Style, both served with assorted vegetables in a light brown sauce.

If seafood is what you crave then I highly recommend any dish with scallops, as they don’t come fresher, cleaner, or larger for that matter.  These mollusks are the size of hockey pucks, yet lighter than the thinnest crêpe you have ever eaten.  Surely this restaurant lives up to its name.

So remember if you are hungry and in the North Brunswick area grab your favorite bottle of wine and stop at Seafood Empire (no reservations required).

Food: 4 stars

Service: 4 stars                        

Value:   4 Stars

2205 U.S. 1

North Brunswick, NJ 08902-4402

(732) 398-9090

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Published on 10/22/2009 at 11:58 am  Leave a Comment  

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