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THE BEST: Chinese in Chinatown, any style


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I haven't eaten out extensively in Chinatown for dinner; I've been more of a snack and dim sum guy. Despite this, I'm trying to change my habits so I recruited a handful of Asian friends with more experience in Chinese dining than I and went to Congee Village last night.

Thankfully we were able to make a reservation, which they still honored nearly 30 minutes past our appointed time due to some members of my party being late. It was very busy, and this isn't a pretty restaurant, but the food made up for it. For about $25 each, including a Tsing Tao for each of us, we enjoyed a ton of food.

My favorites included the Peking style pork chops, snail and chicken congee, and crispy roast chicken. These were seriously delicious. Other items included salt and pepper shrimp, shrimp paste pork ribs, and mixed seafood casserole. We finished the meal with seafood fried rice baked into a pumpkin. Very subtle and perfect for the season. They got us out of there in just over an hour with all that food so we could make our next reservation for drinks nearby. Really enjoyed my meal. Relatively simple food but completely delicious.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Bryan, were you in the big dining room, the small one, or downstairs in a party room? I ask because I actually like the look of the big dining room. Of course, the food is more important, and I'm glad you share my appreciation of the place.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Related question: if we go to Congee Village (I'd like to do Ping's but the kids don't do fish) is it a mob scene all night Saturday night, or will showing up a little later than usual allow us to avoid the crush (and how late is that?).  Also, no Sichuan or Hunan?

It's a mob scene - till pretty late...but you can try and make a reservation and see if that helps (I've used reservations there a couple of times, and they seem to work).

Hunan - I wish. Grand Sichuan Int'l. - everyone else can chime in on what their favorite branch is!

The original 24th St./9th Av. branch is the best. Szechuan Gourmet is better, but no Hunanese dishes there.

When I'm having a banquet at Congee Village (I mean, like 4-5 or more people), I always get (or try to get) reservations, but even then, if they're out-of-control slammed, forget it. Never go there around Chinese New Year's, but a Saturday night with reservations still might work and could be worth chancing, though I actually haven't gone there on a Saturday night for probably a year and a half. I eat there most any other day except Saturday - or Friday night, which is also bad there.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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my recs:

Shanghai style: Shanghai Cafe (it's better than Yeah or New Green Bo)

Cantonese seafood: Oriental Garden (I need to check out Ping's)

general Cantonese: NY Noodletown

I don't have any faves for Fujanese or Formosan or dim sum...but I'd like to hear some.

I've been patronizing Shanghai Cafe lately and enjoying it. I actually do think that some of their dishes are better than Yeah, but it's a matter of taste and not a slam dunk. I much prefer SC's Kao Fu, for example, but prefer Yeah's Ja Zhang Mian. I'll have to go back with my girlfriend or some other person/people to try some bigger dishes at SC.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Nice Green Bo (formerly New Green Bo) will serve you up some excellent dumplings and not break the bank.

At the Fried Dumpling on Eldridge St., in addition to the dumplings, I really like the sesame pancake sandwiches, which will set you back about $2.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Our experience at Fuleen was that we made reservations for 24 people and when we arrived we were the only ones in the restaurant.  We had two big tables in the back and the person who seated us was very nice.  We looked over the menu and ordered soup for both tables, dumplings to share as well as main dishes to share.  We probably ordered 9 main dishes for each table.  The dumplings came up pretty fast, then the soup, but it took almost 2 hours to be served our main dishes.  We were in a bind because there were so many of us and on Mother's Day where else could we go.  The manager would not come anywhere near us and when he saw anyone from our table get up to inquire about our food he would run away.  The worst part was that the entire restaurant filled up and we were the only table of non-Asians in the place.  Everyone got served well before us and a few tables even turned over.  We were outraged and WILL NEVER GO BACK!!!  It is too bad for them because we go to Chinatown a lot and we would have brought them business.

The kitchen was filthy - there was garbage all over and one man walked out of the bathroom without washing his hands and walked right back into the kitchen.

I have to agree with your general impressions of Fuleen. I tried to give the place at least two tries but came back disappointed each time. One time the whole restaurant just wasn't the freshest smelling place, a trip to the bathroom downstairs reveals exactly the sort of situation you speak of regarding cleanliness and at the end of the day the food really wasn't that great either time. I finally decided that Kam Chueh on Bowery was just better overall even if it may not be thought of as better by some. Too bad it closed down.

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Has anyone been to Kam Chueh (on Bowery) lately?  I had a number of good meals there a few years ago (including many interesting off-menu items), but haven't been back in a while.

Funny you should mention Kam Chueh, I hadn't read your post when I composed mone above. The place no longer exists unfortunately. The place next door was not bad for some of the fresh seafood dishes but Kam Chueh hot and sour soup is the best I've had personally. The new place simply does keep up in that regard. Of late I haven't seen it open either at later hours.

Kam Chueh was always a safe bet for me in Chinatown very consistent and very good.

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[...]The place next door was not bad for some of the fresh seafood dishes but Kam Chueh hot and sour soup is the best I've had personally. The new place simply does keep up in that regard.[...]

Does or doesn't keep up?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Anyone have any thoughts on what the best place might be for a large group/banquet kind of thing anywhere in Chinatown? I've done this type of dinner at Kam Chueh with pretty good success, but as just discussed, it's now closed. Have had mixed experiences at both Fulleen and Congee Village. Maybe Oriental Garden? Mandarin Court? Anyone?

To be more specific, we'll be a group of somewhere between 10 and 30 people. We'll order a wide variety of dishes, probably in advance. We'll do it family style, as is appropriate, not each person ordering.

Edited by LPShanet (log)
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Does anyone remember when you could go on a friday or saturday to somewhere like H.S.F and pick out items from a HUGE buffet and then cook them in hot pots? they also had stationary items too...it was like 25 bucks a person...

Does anyone still do this????

somehow I doubt it...

but I dream...

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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Roasted Delights at 5 Catherine St. (right off Bowery) has gotten a bit of food board and blog play in recent weeks. Serious Eats gave it a strong review, but it was "Legacy Participant" Daniel who actually piqued my interest to this place. I stopped by on Friday afternoon for a quick bite and found the restaurant empty, but the man I assume to be the owner quickly sat me and brought me some tea with a smile. Perhaps I'm use to gruff C-town service now, but this simple gesture was enough to put me in the right mood. I quickly ordered and received a three-meat combo over rice. The meats were red-cooked pork, crispy pork belly, and soy-garlic chicken.

All in all, I thought that the care in cooking each of these meats was apparent. The chicken was not overcooked and dry but moist and tender. The pork, much the same, and not too sweet either. The highlight of the plate was the crispy bits of fat that adorned the belly slices. Boldly underseasoned, this was all about pure porky goodness. I'm not sure Roasted Delights offers the same variety as some of the better known spots, but what they do have seemed to me to be a half-step above the other roasted items I've had in Chinatown.

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  • 3 weeks later...
my recs:

Shanghai style: Shanghai Cafe (it's better than Yeah or New Green Bo)

Cantonese seafood: Oriental Garden (I need to check out Ping's)

general Cantonese: NY Noodletown

I don't have any faves for Fujanese or Formosan or dim sum...but I'd like to hear some.

I've been patronizing Shanghai Cafe lately and enjoying it. I actually do think that some of their dishes are better than Yeah, but it's a matter of taste and not a slam dunk. I much prefer SC's Kao Fu, for example, but prefer Yeah's Ja Zhang Mian. I'll have to go back with my girlfriend or some other person/people to try some bigger dishes at SC.

What are the addresses for Shanghai Cafe and Yeah Shanghai (lol at the name; love it)? Do they have good xiao long baos? What else is recommended? I was just in NY yesterday but will be back in a weeks time to eatttttt.

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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What are the addresses for Shanghai Cafe and Yeah Shanghai (lol at the name; love it)? Do they have good xiao long baos? What else is recommended? I was just in NY yesterday but will be back in a weeks time to eatttttt.

The xiao long bao are OK but somewhat inconsistent at Yeah, and I haven't gotten them yet at Shanghai Cafe, but they're very popular (I keep seeing them being delivered to one table after another). Shanghai Cafe's clientele is very largely Chinese people, if that means anything to you.

For addresses and some other stuff (reasonably reliable hours of operation, phone numbers), menupages.com is a good resource, but don't pay any attention to the anonymous "reviews" of restaurants there. From menupages, the addresses:

New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe

65 Bayard St. (between Bowery/Elizabeth and Mott)

Shanghai Cafe

100 Mott St. (between Canal & Hester)

I'll get back to you with some recommended items later.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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What are the addresses for Shanghai Cafe and Yeah Shanghai (lol at the name; love it)? Do they have good xiao long baos? What else is recommended? I was just in NY yesterday but will be back in a weeks time to eatttttt.

The xiao long bao are OK but somewhat inconsistent at Yeah, and I haven't gotten them yet at Shanghai Cafe, but they're very popular (I keep seeing them being delivered to one table after another). Shanghai Cafe's clientele is very largely Chinese people, if that means anything to you.

For addresses and some other stuff (reasonably reliable hours of operation, phone numbers), menupages.com is a good resource, but don't pay any attention to the anonymous "reviews" of restaurants there. From menupages, the addresses:

New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe

65 Bayard St. (between Bowery/Elizabeth and Mott)

Shanghai Cafe

100 Mott St. (between Canal & Hester)

I'll get back to you with some recommended items later.

Ahh thank you! I think I'll head to Shanghai Cafe then...that's close/in Manhattan?

Yeah I don't really know my way around quite yet...

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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Yeah, Mott St. is in Manhattan. Both restaurants are in Chinatown.

OK, for recommendations. So far, I've been to Shanghai Cafe by myself only, so I haven't gotten any of the bigger dishes. I've really liked their kao fu, though, and some of their other small dishes, and their noodle soups.

There are some recommendations for Yeah in this Chowhound thread:

New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe - what to order

In that thread, I also linked to this earlier (2006) thread:

Yeah Shanghai Help

Specifically, this post contains recommendations from me.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I'll be back in NYC briefly for the first time in a long time at the end of the month.

So, two questions.

One, just how insane is Chinatown going to be on the 25th?

Two, back in the 1980s, two of my favorite restaurants were the Dim Sum place at the bend in Mott street, and 51 Bayard. I believe the Dim Sum place is long since gone, but is 51 Bayard still around?

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I'll be back in NYC briefly for the first time in a long time at the end of the month.

So, two questions.

One, just how insane is Chinatown going to be on the 25th?

Two, back in the 1980s, two of my favorite restaurants were the Dim Sum place at the bend in Mott street, and 51 Bayard. I believe the Dim Sum place is long since gone, but is 51 Bayard still around?

Is that "Sun Tong Gong" the place you are referring to that was on Pell St. in the 80's & 90's ? I loved that place as well back in it's heyday.

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ha, considering this thread is 4 years old... almost 5... i dunno why people are still trying to answer this question... but i am from singapore... and the most authenthic food i have had in chinatown thus far, on my many excursions.

New Malaysian is great, its almost like being home which is off of Elizabeth, down that hallway/walkway its hard to miss.=. My second choice would be Sansur, its on pell street, its just as you turn right on the first side street, its right on your left. Theres a small storefront in which they sell food(scoop and serve) left of their storefront is a stairwell that looks very shady, but opens into a small hole in the wall restaurant.

Both restaurants are very good, the first being more expensive, but cheap none the less.

**********************************************

I may be in the gutter, but I am still staring at the stars.

**********************************************

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Sean, have you been to Skyway?

I'm gonna have to give New Malaysian another try. I haven't been there for years and wasn't that impressed the last time I went.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 6 months later...
[...]The place next door was not bad for some of the fresh seafood dishes but Kam Chueh hot and sour soup is the best I've had personally. The new place simply does keep up in that regard.[...]

Does or doesn't keep up?

Sorry I wasn't clear, it does not when it comes to Hot and Sour soup - not even in the same league unfortunately.

However, the seafood I had there was good. The lobster in Cantonese sauce was very nice. My personal preference is lobster in ginger and scallion at Jumbo Seafood in Boston, but that's an unfair comparison. The Cantonese sauce was a nice surprise considering it has egg in it, but it was very nice.

Anyway it's all moot now since even the place next to Kam Cheuh is closed.

I lament the loss of Kam Cheuh, I can't seem to find a place quite like it anymore.

Edited by sxr71 (log)
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