MORRIS COUNTY — As usual, my hungry foodie group and I were in search mode for our next visit to one of the area’s great arrays of ethnic eateries. The consensus led us to the highly rated and well respected, Bill & Harry Chinese Cuisine in East Hanover. This small, unassuming, storefront, with a simple sign, is situated right on Route 10 East in one of those small highway strip malls which are scattered throughout New Jersey, right next to McDonald’s. I suggest you stay alert, or you might drive right by it without even noticing, and that would be a shame because you would be missing out on some of the best ethnic Chinese food in Morris County, if not in all of New Jersey.
Considering the large population of people of Chinese descent in our area, not to forget the significant number of Chinese American commuters who work in and pass through our area on a regular basis, it seems only logical that it would not prove difficult to find some outstanding Chinese eateries. In Parsippany alone, the Chinese population numbers approximately 7 percent, the highest of any Morris County municipality. Bill & Harry fits the bill as one of those eateries. Originally opening in 1985 in Livingston, and shortly thereafter moving to East Hanover, two Chinese gentleman, who used their Americanized names, Bill, and Harry, created one of Morris County’s most admired authentic Chinese cuisine locations. Jason Long, the personable, current, and longtime proprietor was kind enough to sit down with me and discuss the establishments history. You cannot help but love these small, strip mall, independently and family-owned gems. New Jersey would not be New Jersey without them. And, in case you were wondering, this restaurant is not affiliated with the Bill & Harry’s in West Orange, Maplewood, or Livingston.
A cute, clean, bright, simple, pleasant, low-key ambiance greets you as you enter the restaurant. We were warmly welcomed by Mr. Long and offered a table of our choice, as our prompt and friendly servers immediately addressed our needs. About fifteen tables nicely spaced throughout the interior, covered neatly with white linen tablecloths, silverware, and embroidered red rose cloth napkins carefully placed at every seating. The interior is bright, warm, and well-lit with natural lighting for the daytime, and track lighting for the evening. The painted walls are a calming white color, adding to the sense of brightness, with simulated wood tile floors, and limited artwork, (original lithograph prints from the original Bill & Harry), adorning the walls, along with an Asian themed wooden partition separating the dining room from the kitchen area. Light music plays in the background all creating a very casual, comfortable, relaxing environment.
In fact, Bill and Harry, has been recognized as one of the best Chinese restaurants in New Jersey by such notable publications as the New York Times, Daily Record, and NJ.com; as well as receiving accolades from several well-respected food critics, including northjersey.com’s Chinese Food Crawl, and the Star Ledger’s Peter Genovese.
The large, double sided, paper menu is quite extensive, and is divided into an array of selections of appetizers, soups, delectable meat, chicken, and seafood entrees, along with plenty of noodle and rice dishes. Hot and spicy selections are noted with a star, but they will be happy to alter your dish to your taste. There is also the option to choose from a section called Bill and Harry’s Gourmet, where you will find a tantalizing choice of traditional and authentic Chinese specialties, including a whole or half Peking Duck, and it is not necessary to order this in advance.
The menu also offers Sizzling Platters, Spa Platter (Steamed and Vegetable dishes), as well as other Side Orders. The Lunch Menu (Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) also looked very appealing and reasonable but we were told it was only available as a takeout only option. Not for us that day, but something to consider. Finally, there is the Party Package (Take Out Only) which provides an ample meal for ten people at $150.00. If I did not mention it, Bill & Harry is BYOB.
Our group started with Hot and Sour Soup, along with a few shared appetizers, including Egg Rolls, Scallion Pancakes, and Fried Pork Dumplings. The generously sized, well filled Egg rolls were some of the tastiest I have had in quite some time. These deep-fried, savory, treats were a mouth-watering delight. The nicely seasoned, aromatic, brothy, Hot and Sour soup looked and smelled delicious. Our ample Scallion Pancake was crispy and flakey, and received rave reviews from the group. The contrasting taste and texture of our traditional well stuffed, and fluffy Fried Pork Dumplings made for the perfect selection for our shared appetizers. I would be remiss if I did not mention the accompanying choice of brown or white fluffy rice, and the assorted Duck, Mustard, and Hot Oil dipping sauces that perfectly complemented each appetizer. Personally, I would have liked to have tried their Barbequed Spareribs, but there were still entrees to be devoured, and I can only eat so much. So many great choices, next time!
For an entrée I went with the Lake Tung Ting Shrimp (jumbo shrimp, stir-fried with broccoli, snow peas, baby corn, and red peppers, in white wine sauce). This is one of their highly rated dishes on-line and it lived up to expectations. A generous amount of large, and I mean large, shrimp, stir fried together with fresh, crispy, and crunchy vegetables, in a wine sauce. Tasty as it sounds! The shrimp were firm, yet had a soft texture, cooked al dente. Perfectly prepared, delicious dish, and it could not have been fresher tasting! I would certainly order this again over and over.
Others in the group decided on Hot Spicy Jumbo Shrimp (jumbo shrimp, stir-fried with the chef’s hot, spicy red sauce, chopped fresh onions, and garnished with fresh broccoli). Orange Flavored Chicken, which can also be ordered with beef or shrimp (choice is deep fried and sauteed, with orange flavored, tangy brown sauce, and garnished with fresh broccoli. Hunan Pork (sliced pork, sauteed with seasonal vegetables in a hot spicy brown sauce). Beef Szechuan Style (sliced beef, sauteed with shredded carrots, celery, and scallions, in a hot spicy sauce), and finally Shrimp with Garlic Sauce (jumbo shrimp, stir fried with broccoli, water chestnuts, green & red peppers, in a garlic flavored chili brown sauce. For Dessert, each person at our table received a Fortune Cookie. Consensus was that everyone thoroughly enjoyed all their selections.
We all left with our stomachs full, satisfied, and with a smile on our faces. Another great dining experience right here in our own backyard. If you have not been to Bill and Harry Chinese Cuisine, I would recommend putting it on your calendar. I am confident you will enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you to Jason Long, and his staff, for their wonderful hospitality.
Bill & Harry Chinese Cuisine is located at 319 Route 10 East, East Hanover, NJ 07936 (Next to McDonald’s) Phone: (973) 887-6001. www.BillandHarrytRt10.com
Dine In – Take Out – Delivery (Grubhub) – BYOB. Off Road Private Parking Lot (Front and Rear). Office & Home Party Catering