By Sally Deering
Ten years ago, David Ng, converted an old bank building on Montgomery Street in Downtown Jersey City into a restaurant, cocktail lounge and sushi bar known to neighborhood residents and business professionals as Grand Banks. Located two blocks from the Exchange Place station on the PATH and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, Grand Banks serves some of the tastiest Sushi, Chinese, Japanese and Fusion Cuisine in Hudson.
Ng, who has been in the restaurant business for 40 years, has created a diverse menu featuring popular dishes like Pad Thai ($8.95), General Tso’s Chicken ($8.95) and Cajun Blackened Salmon ($10.95), Sushi and Sashimi ($2-$7) and exotic fusion dishes like Asparagus, Mushroom & Crab Meat soup ($5) Grilled Vietnamese Style Pork Loin ($8.95) Malaysian Style Noodles with Mixed Seafood ($9.95) and Singapore Rice Noodles stir-fried with Chicken, Shrimp and Curry ($8.95.) Ng also mixes things up by offering pasta dishes like Blackened Chicken Linguini in Alfredo Sauce ($8.95) and Seafood Linguini with Shrimp, Scallops and Squid in a light tomato sauce ($10.95.)
And although the fusion dishes are as popular as the traditional dishes on the menu, Ng says some things never change.
“Our Wonton Soup is our biggest seller when it comes to our soups,” Ng says. “That’s because we use genuine chicken stock. And we don’t use MSG in any of our dishes.”
Ng also purchases chemical-free shrimp imported from Mexico and the Far East.
“It has to be chemical free or I won’t use it,” Ng says.
He gets his produce locally and buys only what’s in season. He says, “Everything must be fresh.”
A sampling of Grand Banks appetizers include Chicken Satay ($4.25) Honey Glazed Roast Pork ($5.50) and Roticanai, a Malaysian style pancake with curry dipping sauce ($3.50.) Seafood dishes feature Moo Shu Shrimp ($8.95) Grilled Salmon with Korean BBQ Sauce ($10.95) and Eggplant and Seafood in Garlic Sauce ($12.95.) Meat dishes like Kung Pao Chicken ($8.95) Orange Beef ($11.95) and Peking Duck ($14.50 half; $26 whole) are hearty offerings and for vegetarians, the Vegetarian Delight Rolls, shredded mixed vegetables wrapped in bean curd and sautéed in soy sauce ($8.95) and Stir-Fried Eggplant and Tofu ($8.95) are popular highlights.
The restaurant, which is available for private parties, seats 150 and during lunches, the place fills up fast with nearby office workers who don’t have a lot of time for lunch.
“We sometimes have to serve 100 people in 15 minutes,” Ng says.
Grand Banks is casual and friendly, just like Ng, whose calm demeanor doesn’t reveal the anxiety that can come from running a restaurant. There’s no dress code, and customers can order takeout online at www.seamlessweb.com.
During these tough economic times, Ng lowered his prices, but he keeps his outlook upbeat.
“I enjoy creating new dishes,” Ng says, “and the challenge of beating inflation.”
Grand Banks – Sushi, Chinese, Japanese and Fusion Cuisine
75 Montgomery Street
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11 am-10 pm
Fri & Sat 11 am-10:30 pm
Sun: 11 am-10 pm
Orders taken online: www.seamlessweb.com