Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Shun Lee Palace


Pan
 Share

Recommended Posts

The fact that someone posted a recommendation for Shun Lee West reminded me that I have yet to post here about my last - and final - meal at Shun Lee Palace. My experience in the past had been that Shun Lee West was overpriced and mediocre but Shun Lee Palace was expensive but delicious and worth it. My parents and I went back to Shun Lee Palace a couple of months ago and had steamed lobster that was so old that the little bit of it we ate before sending it back upset our stomachs. Lest you should think that was the only problem, nothing else tasted like much. Furthermore, our server was so surly he seemed like he was about to throw something at us. I think that the lack of Chinese clientele has finally tempted Shun Lee Palace to cook to the lowest common denominator. I will never return.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was definitely good at some point -- probably the best of its kind during an era. I've had many, many meals at each branch (and even more delivered to the law firms where I used to work, thanks to big fat expense-accounts) and most have been excellent. It's some of the only Chinese food I've had in New York that conforms to the standards of, say, a high-end hotel restaurant in Asia (where many of the most serious restaurants are in the grand hotels). At the same time, I've certainly noticed that the inconsistency factor has been more noticeable in the past few years and the degree of potential inconsistency/terribleness can really spike. So I don't eat there much anymore.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My two meals during the past year were excellent.  

compared to?

I don't have much in the way of a chinese restaurant model to compare it to. However, the dining experience (bar, coat check, greeting, table, service and food) was...well... excellent. I have to add that all the non-food marks were hit. I've never eaten veal in a chinese resto. I did here and it was very good.

and with a 7:00 res you can usually park on the street right outside the restaurant.

The place works for me and I'd go back.

Nick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

shun lee, to me, reeks, by design, of old-school midtown "high end" chinese.  loosely translated into "expensive shit."

i mean, was it ever really *good*?

Yes, it used to be really good, and dependably so.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My two meals during the past year were excellent. 

compared to?

I don't have much in the way of a chinese restaurant model to compare it to. However, the dining experience (bar, coat check, greeting, table, service and food) was...well... excellent.

I think that you may exemplify the target clientele of the Shun Lee restaurants: people who wouldn't want to eat in any restaurant that isn't fancy. I couldn't care less. Coat check, shmoat check. I'll put my coat on a hanger or on a chair myself, and do that happily, for good food. And if you're willing to dispense with such superficial luxuries, you could experience some real Chinese food in Flushing or Chinatown, at a small fraction of the cost of a meal at Shun Lee West, let alone Shun Lee Palace. Maybe Congee Village would be pleasant enough in terms of decor for you. Expect to pay about $15 per person for dinner, and expect delicious food you'd never get at Shun Lee.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suspect that this post illustrates that different people judge food by different criteria. While I don't know firsthand what "authentic" Chinese food is, let's say for argument's sake that Shun Lee is not authentic, while many of the Chinatown places are. Then, I could see why fans of authentic food might not like Shun Lee.

Personally, my criteria are simple. If it tastes good, I like it. Maybe that's because I have much less dining experience than many of the posters here. Based on taste alone, Shun Lee really impressed me when I went there about 2 years ago. The soft-shell crab might have been the best I've had, including NY Noodletown.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that you may exemplify the target clientele of the Shun Lee restaurants: people who wouldn't want to eat in any restaurant that isn't fancy. I couldn't care less. Coat check, shmoat check. I'll put my coat on a hangar or on a chair myself, and do that happily, for good food. And if you're willing to dispense with such superficial luxuries, you could experience some real Chinese food in Flushing or Chinatown, at a small fraction of the cost of a meal at Shun Lee West, let alone Shun Lee Palace. Maybe Congee Village would be pleasant enough in terms of decor for you. Expect to pay about $15 per person for dinner, and expect delicious food you'd never get at Shun Lee.

I've also been to Congee Village in the past year. I found the food merely edible, although a singular and interesting dining experience that I'm glad I experienced. I have an admittedly western palate. Perhaps that's what you meant when you were talking about the type of diner that Shun Lee Palace exemplifies (I have never been to Shun Lee West). My approach to Asian cuisines is quite an objective but inexperienced one. Having said that, I can only sample the flavors and textures without the cultural context that a "China Hand" would bring to the cuisine. However I like to think that my approach to flavors and textures within a broad culinary context is a quite an experienced, even a nuanced one. As is my ability to judge a *dining* experience within the context of that individual experience. That is to say that I as with most experienced diners have an ability to divorce food (flavor, texture, presentation) from table service, from bar service and from decor. By that definition, I stand by what I've said both for ShunLee Palace and for Congee Village. But yes, I do prefer the more luxe dining experience that Shun Lee Palace offers, and bottom line...my meals tasted good. I'm sorry that yours did not (and I don't dispute that they did not).

Nick

Edited by ngatti (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...