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Chinese/Japanese combination restaurants

  • j
  • Josh Mittleman Apr 27, 1999 11:57 AM
  • 5

There's a trend in Westchester for Chinese restaurants
to add a sushi bar and Japanese menu. My impression is
that the result is usually a restaurant that does two
cuisines badly, and I wonder why they bother. Any
observations?

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  1. f
    Frank :Language

    I've noticed quite a few such pan-asian restaurants in
    the city as well; my guess is that a lot of people are
    not very discriminating in their tastes for Asian food;
    combine this with the owners' wanting to be all things
    to all people.

    The Chinese/Japanese hybrid (Taipei and Tokyo,
    University and 13th) near where I work is an example;
    they have sushi and tempura as well as fried rice and
    hot-and-sour soup. It's clearly the profit motive that
    drives them, which is sad but not surprising, and for
    my money I'd go to any of the sushi restaurants in the
    area first if I wanted Japanese. The Chinese is
    bearable, provided you avoid the lunch special (the
    soup is gross, and the portion of the main course you
    get is tiny), but again, the only reason I ever go
    there is it's cheap and fast and a block away from
    work.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Frank :Language

      Without passing any judgment on the merits of particular restaurants, since I haven't tried any of them, I feel I should point out that there's nothing inherently implausible about a Taiwan-based Chinese/Japanese place (as I presume Taipei and Tokyo to be). Taiwan was under Japanese rule for fifty years, and although the rule itself was resented, many aspects of Japanese culture were absorbed (e.g. the education system; also, the Taiwanese, unlike other Chinese, remove their shoes before entering a house), and the Taiwanese tend to be quite fond of Japanese food. So in this case it's not necessarily about perceived Western lack of discrimination.

      1. re: steve d.

        I also noticed such a combo place opening in Chinatown
        (I think on lower Chrystie St), presumably for a
        Chinese clientele. Would think quality of sushi would
        be an issue in such places, though.

        1. re: jen kalb
          j
          jonathan gold

          The Chinese diaspora is vast, and
          most Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese,
          Peruvian restaurants in the U.S. are
          in fact run by Chinese. The best handmade
          noodles are found at Chinese restaurants
          catering to the Korean trade. And one of my
          favorite sushi bars (in San Gabriel, unfortunately)
          caters almost exclusively to elderly Taiwanese
          who learned to eat sushi during the occupation.

          That being said, however, unless the Japanese-
          Chinese place in question specializes in things
          like steamed geoduck, miso-grilled fish and turtle
          gut casseroles, it is unlikely to be aiming at
          the Taiwanese-nostalgia crowd.

          1. re: jonathan gold

            >unless the Japanese-
            Chinese place in question specializes in things
            like steamed geoduck, miso-grilled fish and turtle
            gut casseroles

            Thanks for the nostalgic blast! Ah, I can almost get a whiff of the smelly-tofu stands on every other corner... (After I got back from Taiwan, I didn't eat Chinese food for a year -- the comedown was just too great. Of course, this was 1979, and I returned to New Haven, not New York, where I might not have had such a letdown...)