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May 11, 2005 08:03 PM

chance on smith - lunchboxes

  • m

i picked up a lunchbox at chance today - they each come w/ hot & sour soup, 2 fried dumplings, salad w/ carrot orange dressing, and rice. i had general tso's chicken - it was pretty good, not too much batter, lots of chicken. it was sweet chinese food, but good sweet chinese food! $7 for the lot, served in a nice takeout box. there are other entrees - scallops w/ xo saunce, salmon w/ chili sauce, steak w/ black bean sauce, and some others - all between $6 and $8. for the price it is great, and a much better option than the chinese takeouts in the area in terms of the food itself. i'd tried chance for the first time last week - it's good, though didn't see much of the "france" part of their concept represented. maybe they're going more chinese. the worst thing about the place is the exterior, which i hate.

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  1. I've been defending this place for months against people who are put off by the ugly exterior (which seemed somewhat un-houndish to me) and have never even given it a try.

    Is it a culinary nirvana? No. But they deliver consistent pleasing dishes, with a menu that is a refreshing change for Smith Street. (Not to complain, but there seems to be plenty of French bistro, casual Italian and run-of-the-mill Thai in the area.) Especially considering the vomitous Chinese choices in our hood, Chance is my only option when I need my Chinese fix. Plus they have a small but tasty dimsum menu, which is great when I'm in the mood for some soup dumplings ASAP.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Pupster

      Agreed on all counts. It is the best Chinese in this part of Brooklyn. (As in Downtown Brooklyn, when you don't feel like jumping on the subway to Manhattan or Sunset Park...) I was one of the naysayers in the beginning, based on the facade. For shame. But I haven't seen soup dumplings on the menu in a while. Am I missing something? Because they were mighty tasty.

      1. re: Dipsy

        No, you're right. They revamped the dimsum menu so that you can't order them individually, but only as a package. It sucks, but I understand their reasoning. Nevertheless, I think during future visits I will let my demands for soup dumplings be known (perhaps they're just on hiatus for the warm months) and if there are enough of us, our demands will be met!

      2. re: Pupster

        Oh, alright. I'll try them this weekend...

      3. thanks for the tip. i've only eaten at Chance once, for dinner, and really enjoyed it. but working in downtown brooklyn i am completely bored by my lunch options and happy to know of a new one (and cheap, too!)

        1. I too scorned this place since opening day based on a) the dreadful facade and more importantly, b) the name, which I assumed was some unbearably pretentious person's conceptual brainchild -- might as well name your restaurant "Destination", or "Time", or "Presence" or "Ideation"... In short, I swore to myself I'd never eat there and looked forward to watching it fail and close.

          Thus I was shocked to see it praised on I decided to betray my principles and try it. Like other folks I was pleasantly surprised (& sheepish about my superficial reaction). Not only is the food solid -- not phenomenal, but as others said, the best Chinese option in the area -- but it's a nice, air-conditioned (if kitschy) place to sit. How about that?

          And that lunch special is indeed an outstanding deal...the other day I had excellent classic hot & sour soup, 2 pork dumplings, a good sized main dish of sliced breaded chicken and broccoli (in radioactive green, sweet but inoffensive lemon-lime sauce) and rice for $7. Can't beat that.

          I still think the name's bad, but knowing it's the product of miscalculation, not pretentiousness makes it far more forgivable--maybe even endearing!

          1 Reply
          1. re: jls

            The name is a mash-up of China and France, the two influences of the menu (you can tell by the graphics on the website).

            The lunchboxes are just about the best deal in the area. Plenty of food for a modest amount ($6-8) that can be supplemented with the better dimsum menu. Not everything on the menu is good, but at least they're also not grease bombs like in the other neighborhood Chinese joints. A few of the dishes are really good. I personally prefer the dimsum menu; not at the level of the best in Chinatown but tasty nonetheless.

            PS. You can order soup dumplings ala carte again!