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Manhattan Chinese

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mark grossman Oct 17, 2000 08:34 PM

I am looking for nominations for the best Chineserestaurants in Manhattan. Any neighborhood.Any price range. Any style of Cuisine.

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    Fred Chien RE: mark grossman Oct 17, 2000 09:26 PM

    Shun Lee by Lincoln Center. If you go for lunch, it won't be insanely crowded. The clam soup is excellent (has a healthy dose of white pepper); the peking duck is unrivaled; the seafood panfried noodles is crispy and more substantial since it's made with homemade noodles. Also, the dim sum is cute and perfectly al dente. It may be a little steep for chinese food, but it's good and actually quite authentic.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Fred Chien
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      Seth Ditchik RE: Fred Chien Oct 18, 2000 10:22 AM

      Not to be confrontational, but I always cringe when I hear someone say "It may be a little steep for chinese food"; my wife and I had a valentine's day dinner here a few years ago and it was one of the most elegant meals we ever ate in New York. A fine restaurant is a fine restaurant, regardless of cusine, and you should expect to pay for it.

      1. re: Seth Ditchik
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        Jim Leff RE: Seth Ditchik Oct 18, 2000 11:11 AM

        Seth, a restaurant discussion where people are afraid to disagree out of fear of being confrontational wouldn't work at all!

        I definitely agree with you. A restaurant serving great food (regardless of other factors!) deserves to charge for it. Many years ago, I liked to hunt for bargains. Then I noticed that the good bargain places I found tended to use fairly ordinary meat, couldn't afford real saffron to use where it was needed, etc. I realized that the good chefs in these places were badly hampered by ho-hum ingredients (most transcended their ingredients, but it's a shame they HAD to!). And that they were poor. And they tended to go out of business because they couldn't make a living. Or just get discouraged.

        It's now become one of the rallying cries of this site: great restaurants deserve to charge serious prices. We want them happy, energized, and using great ingredients... regardless of their ethnicity, the size of their restaurant, whether their napkins are linen or paper, etc. It's a corollary of our assertion that all delicious food is worthy of respect and admiration. We'd be hypocritical to disagree: if the entire spectrum of deliciousness is indeed worthy of our full respect, it's also worthy of financial renumeration!

        Every great restaurant where people are eking out a living and are hampered with low-shelf provisions is a restaurant that 1. is not able to cook its best and 2. is more likely to go out of business. Both are bad.

        The Arepa Lady should charge $10 for her arepas. But we have to fight for this to happen, because Adam Smith's invisible hand reaches for inferior food every single time. It's one of the defects of capitalism.

        So while I can still appreciate (and sometimes need!) bargains, I prefer them to be places serving ok food, not really good food.

        1. re: Jim Leff
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          AHR RE: Jim Leff Oct 18, 2000 10:50 PM

          "The Arepa Lady should charge $10 for her arepas. But we have to fight for this to happen, because Adam Smith's invisible hand reaches for inferior food every single time. It's one of the defects of capitalism."

          I agree completely. We should be required to eat only in restaurants selected for us by our betters. Up the Revolution!

          1. re: AHR
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            Jim Leff RE: AHR Oct 18, 2000 11:37 PM

            Huh?!?

            Dude, you annually post a (savvy and entertaining) rundown of your attempts to find the best fried clams in the Northeast. If you find my disappointment with many of the sort of restaurants that garner ubiquity and success via wide mass market preference to be so elitest, why don't you yourself stick with Red Lobster? Go with the flow; lord knows it's a LOT easier than shlepping all over New England!

            And who on earth is talking about "betters" or "selecting" for people?!? I can't even begin to imagine how you possibly got that message from what I wrote.

            1. re: Jim Leff
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              AHR RE: Jim Leff Oct 18, 2000 11:48 PM

              Hi, Jim-

              "And who on earth is talking about 'betters' or 'selecting' for people?!? I can't even begin to imagine how you possibly got that message from what I wrote."

              Here's what you said:

              "Adam Smith's invisible hand reaches for inferior food every single time. It's one of the defects of capitalism."

              A system of free choice gives us the Arepa Lady and Le Bernardin as well as McDonald's; each thrives because it represents a particular balance of quality-vs.-price that pleases a significant number of customers.

              Here's the part you left unsaid: What's the alternative to letting the free market choose restaurant winners and losers?

              --------------
              BTW, This year's clam results were pretty disappointing, but you may yet shame me into filing a full report.

              1. re: AHR
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                Jim Leff RE: AHR Oct 19, 2000 12:04 AM

                "Here's the part you left unsaid: What's the alternative to letting the free market choose restaurant winners and losers?"

                Evangelize as passionately as you can to persuade people to not settle for the usual crap. Swim as hard as possible against the current and hope it's contagious. Maybe build a website where thousands of those who share this dissatisfaction can compare notes, thereby helping everyone eat better and aiding the Good Guys by providing a forum for them to be pointed out (in as honest and objective and non-commercial a way possible) to potentially appreciative eaters.

                On the other hand, tyranny IS always right around the corner, so I for one appreciate your vigilence.

                1. re: Jim Leff
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                  AHR RE: Jim Leff Oct 19, 2000 12:23 AM

                  In other words, then, we should all become active, vocal participants in that much-maligned free market.

                  Amen to that, and thanks, seriously, for your own extraordinary contributions.

                  1. re: AHR
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                    Jim Leff RE: AHR Oct 19, 2000 12:31 AM

                    "thanks, seriously, for your own extraordinary contributions."

                    and thank YOU for all the support, encouragement and positive good vibes you can possibly send my way as I do my damndest to keep this all going.

                    1. re: Jim Leff
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                      matt RE: Jim Leff Oct 23, 2000 10:35 PM

                      you guys are out there, man. it's just a food site.
                      where can I take my wife and 4 friends for a decent meal this saturday night?

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      Patrick A. RE: mark grossman Oct 17, 2000 09:49 PM

      You're crazy to go anywhere but Chinatown -- I would not echo the other poster's recommendation for Shun Lee.

      In Chinatown, my faves are:

      -- Village Congee, Allen just south of Delancey, for rich congees with all kinds of ingredients

      -- Sweet & Tart Cafe, Mott just south of Canal, for dim sum

      -- Peking Duck House, Mott between Mosco and Bowery, for one thing only, Peking Duck

      -- Joe's Shanghai, Pell between Bowery and Doyers, for Shanghai crab steamed soup buns and a few other dishes (haven't been there for a while, Queens branches said to be more consistent)

      -- New York Noodletown, corner of Bowery and Bayard; do a search on the name to see the many posts about this establishment

      -- Banquet-style dining at Golden Unicorn, Jing Fong and New Silver Palace can be quite good -- do not under any circumstances go to Nice Restaurant however

      If you must dine in midtown, then check out:

      -- Wu Liang Ye, 48th St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves. (other locations are not as good) for real Szechuan food, quite different from what's served in suburban Szechuan locations. A bit more expensive than the Chinatown places, as you might expect

      Happy eating -- there are TONS of good places.

      Patrick

      5 Replies
      1. re: Patrick A.
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        Fred Chien RE: Patrick A. Oct 17, 2000 10:35 PM

        My bad, I made 2 assumptions when posting my reply:

        1) He was asking for best chinese and not best one-hit wonder.
        2) He lives in NYC so he's already done the Chinatown thing.

        Mark, if you're visiting, then I would agree with Patrick. Do Chinatown for the experience. Joe's Shanghai has amazing crab soup dumplings, but the rest of the menu is lacking. Afterwards, go to St. Alps Teahouse for a tapioca pearl drink.

        1. re: Fred Chien
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          sibbell RE: Fred Chien Oct 18, 2000 09:14 AM

          My vote for Chin Chin, 49th Street between 2nd and 3rd. Always have the dumplings!

        2. re: Patrick A.
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          George Lynch RE: Patrick A. Oct 18, 2000 05:22 PM

          I like most of the restaurants you named as well, but I'd like to suggest Goody's for their "steamed pork buns" which are the same soup-type dumplings served at Joe's Shanghai. The only difference that I can discern is that the dumplings at Goody's are only $2 per order (yup, I said $2 per order), with a limit of one order per person. There are 8 dumplings in the order and I have always found them to be the match of Joe's Shanghai.

          Goody's is sometimes inconsistent with other dishes, but I have found that most of the time their food is very, very good.

          If you try Goody's, I'd be curious to hear your review.

          1. re: George Lynch
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            Patrick A. RE: George Lynch Oct 19, 2000 03:50 AM

            I was thinking about putting in Goody's -- you're right, they have very good steamed Shanghai buns for much less hassle and cost than Joe's Shanghai.

            Nonetheless, they don't quite have the tang and rich mouth-filling flavor of the Joe's ones, and I agree with you that the other dishes aren't perfect.

            Still, I've definitely chosen Goody's over Joe's when there's a line, and rarely regretted it.

            Patrick

            1. re: George Lynch
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              keith k RE: George Lynch Oct 19, 2000 06:03 PM

              I've gone to Goody's two times, based on recommendations (from this site? I forget) and BOTH times they screwed up my order.

              Two out of two times is pretty serious. I would not go back.

              Anyone else experience lousy service at Goody's?

              -Keith

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