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Good american chinese food in Manhattan

Fredster Sep 3, 2006 02:10 AM

I love american and canadian chinese food. I am curious to compare the new york city to the ones I know ( I have tried the Montreal, Toronto and Boston versions, all very good with some subtle but substantial differences). Any one know of a good reliable place in Manhattan? My criteria are no buffet, clean and having on the menu the usual suspects: chop suey, chow menin, lo mein, fried rice and egg foo young.

Thanks for your recommendations!

  1. Brian S Oct 24, 2006 09:34 PM

    I passed by Jade Mountain, mentioned above, 197 Second Av. Neon sign with chopstick letters, a second neon sign boasting CHOW MEIN, 7 kinds of chop suey on the menu.

    There's also a thread on Outer Boroughs about places like this.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Brian S
      Peter Cherches Oct 25, 2006 02:09 PM

      Are they still open? I've actually been meaning to go for a retro meal. I never went when I lived in the neighborhood. I ask if they're open because the owner was killed in a traffic accident while making a delivery on his bike, about a month or two ago.

      1. re: Brian S
        janethepain Oct 25, 2006 02:46 PM

        Yeah, what's the deal with this place. I've grown up in the neighborhood and this place has been around FOREVER. It's a time warp inside, but I never see more than a few people there at a time. Sad to hear about the owner.

        1. re: janethepain
          Polecat Oct 26, 2006 12:35 PM

          Passed by this weekend: no neon sign, nothing. Lots of scaffolding, though. Doesn't look good for Jade Mountain. Good chow or not, that Chop Suey sign became a part of the landscape, as ingrained as brick, cement, brownstone, torn-up copies of the Voice atop garbage cylinders. It is hard to imagine walking out of the eye and ear clinic across the street, after a good ear cleaning, without seeing that place. Or the Nightingale Bar, for that matter.

      2. thievery Oct 20, 2006 04:30 PM

        Another hyphenated varietal you may want to try is Indian-Chinese food. The best are out in Queens, but 'Chinese Mirch' on Lexington & 28th is worth a shot. Though on a spicy scale, probably the opposite of american-chinese.

        1 Reply
        1. re: thievery
          Pan Oct 26, 2006 08:03 AM

          Based on my one experience there, I would say that Chinese Mirch is NOT worth a shot! Grand Sichuan is cheaper, tastier, and most importantly, uses better, fresher ingredients. I did not react well to the old-tasting lamb I had at Chinese Mirch last February or whenever it was.

        2. Spoony Bard Oct 20, 2006 04:25 PM

          Here's a good recent thread on Americanized Chinese, mostly outer boros, though:


          At one point someone suggested Shanghai Food in midtown for a real American-Chinese time warp (stick to the old fashioned stuff), though I haven't made it yet:

          SHANGHAI FOOD. 106 W. 32nd St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.) 212-564-4597

          UPDATE: Turns out Peter Cuce is a fan, though he says it leans toward authentic. Probably an even better thread than the one I linked to above:


          1 Reply
          1. re: Spoony Bard
            Peter Cherches Oct 25, 2006 02:07 PM

            I used to go to Shanghai Food when I worked at Penn Plaza. I love the old look of the place. It leans toward authentic, but it's not especially good. Also, beware that the nickname for the place in my office was "The rude Chinese."

          2. SunnysideUp Oct 19, 2006 08:28 PM

            Also get the baked roast pork buns at 9 Chatham Square.

            Someone mentioned Wo Hop above. I think that is perfect for an out-of-towner looking for old fashioned American Chinese food with the added fun of being in Chinatown.

            Regarding the Chino-Latino phenomenon, another one to try is Peruvian-Chinese called Chifa. A great place for that, and Peruvian food in general, is Flor de Mayo on Amsterdam between 83rd and 84th.

            1. Brian S Oct 19, 2006 04:12 PM

              The restaurant at 9 Chatham Square can prepare all the American Chinese classics, including 6 varieties of egg foo young, and can also turn out hearty renditions of authentic Chinese food from Taishan, a town east of Canton.

              Most of the restaurants discussed in my "Forgotten restaurants of Chinatown" post can do the same...especially Hop Lee, at 16 Mott.


              1. j
                jeanki Oct 17, 2006 08:40 PM

                Our Place also on the UES has decent American style Chinese. Chef Ho's and Pig Heaven aren't bad either.

                1. w
                  Wisco Oct 17, 2006 07:23 PM

                  I haven't eaten there in years, but Jade Mountain is a place in the East Village that serves very old-school Chinese-American food. I might just have to check it out again soon.

                  1. l
                    Lexie Sep 4, 2006 02:36 PM

                    You might want to try Chinatown Brasserie, a big new restaurant on Lafayette. The menu has some Chinese-American classics, well executed, in addition to more of-the-moment fusion dishes and passable dim sum. It's quite a scene, but might be just what you're looking for.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Lexie
                      jakew8 Oct 19, 2006 01:38 PM

                      I just went to Chinatown Brasserie last night for a business party. There was some Crispy Orange Beef that was delicious...and at $19, it better be!

                      The rest of the items weren't anything special, and are similarly overpriced.

                    2. csw Sep 4, 2006 01:39 PM

                      wo hop might be your liking.

                      1. Marge Sep 4, 2006 02:56 AM

                        Negative opinions of "classic Chinese-American cuisine" notwithstanding (I enjoy the "real thing" as well as the American stuff), Chef Ho's on the upper east side has good, reliable Chinese-American food. Check out their menu and reviews on menupages.com.

                        1. c
                          chloe.speaks Sep 4, 2006 12:17 AM

                          La Chinita Linda on 166 8th Avenue and 18th/19th. Yes, they have the menu side by side; not fusion cuisine, but the Chinese food is very "american" style. Still it's funny because you can order something from both menus. I like the Chopped Deep Fried Chicken - delicious and served with fresh lemon wedges (see it's like Asian style...) def. not Cuban.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chloe.speaks
                            kaci ducky Oct 16, 2006 09:39 PM

                            Chinita linda is no more.
                            La nueva rampa is the only cuban chin left in Chelsea. It is on the north side of 14th, a bit east of 7th ave. Some things are better, somethings are not the same.

                          2. f
                            Fredster Sep 3, 2006 03:57 PM

                            Cuban-chinese? Now that is something I will definitely check out! Thanks!

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Fredster
                              Midtown Jimmi Sep 3, 2006 06:14 PM

                              I used to love eating Cuban Chinese food as a kid in the 80s, especially a place called LaCaridad on the West Side. Was that the name? The weird thing I always found in Cuban-Chinese places, if I remember correctly, was that it was just two menus side-by-side: one with Chinese items, one with Cuban items. I don't remember any dish that mixed the two cuisines at all.


                              1. re: Midtown Jimmi
                                piccola Sep 3, 2006 11:35 PM

                                I was disappointed by that, actually. I was hoping to discover some cool combo like, er, cuban black beans with asian greens and sesame pancakes. Guess I'll have to come up with my own.

                                1. re: piccola
                                  Polecat Sep 4, 2006 03:45 AM

                                  As long as we're off on this tangent: along Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill, Queens, where you can get some great halal chicken, roti and bakes, there is a smattering of places that mix chinese-american influences and west indian staples. One place inparticular had "Jerk Chicken Fried Rice" on the menu.

                                2. re: Midtown Jimmi
                                  designerboy01 Sep 5, 2006 06:45 AM

                                  Yes its
                                  La Caridad.
                                  2199 Broadway
                                  New York, NY 10024-6611
                                  (212) 874-2780

                                  I recommend the beef stew over rice.

                                  1. re: designerboy01
                                    Manhattan4Life Oct 19, 2006 07:49 PM

                                    The last time I walked past Caridad a few weeks ago it was "closed for renovations". Hopefully they reopen.

                                    Another good Chinese-Spanish on the UWS is La Nueva Victoria on 95th and Broadway.

                                    Not quite as inventive as Caridad but very good.

                                3. re: Fredster
                                  asdf Sep 4, 2006 12:55 AM

                                  You might want to consider Asia de Cuba, which does a very eclectic menu of Asian and Cuban flavors. It's slightly costly, but worth the unique New York experience.

                                  1. re: Fredster
                                    Chandavkl Sep 4, 2006 03:33 PM

                                    There was an interesting thread a few weeks ago on the Los Angeles board about Cuban Chinese cuisine (which is almost nonexistent in Los Angeles). One of the posters provided a link to an interesting story on New York's Cuban Chinese restaurants.


                                  2. g
                                    gsw Sep 3, 2006 06:09 AM

                                    One phenomenon you might be intrigued by if you are interested in food that has been adapted culturally is Cuban-Chinese food. When I lived in NYC in the 70's, 8th Avenue in midtown was rife with restaurants that advertised Comidas Chinas y Criollas -- it was the food of Chinese people who'd immigrated to Cuba, and then after the revolution immigrated to the US. I don't know if those places are still around, but that was certainly an interesting cultural adaptation of Chinese food similar to the "chop suey" phenomenon.

                                    The strangest adaptation I've ever experienced was a sushi restaurant in Billings, Montana, that served canned tuna on warm rice.

                                    Altho, I suppose spam sushi is another cultural adaptation.


                                    1. designerboy01 Sep 3, 2006 04:18 AM

                                      Chop suey, chow mein, lo mein, fried rice and especially egg foo young does disgrace to chinese food. I think chop suey came from the words chop stew and was created when the railroad was being constructed. You don't know what you are missing in terms of chinese food in terms of the variety. If you spent your whole life eating chinese food you will only have a fraction of what exists.

                                      If you want Chinatown I would recommend
                                      Shanghai Cafe

                                      Give the soup dumplings with crab meat a try.
                                      Also, try the ka fu which is made out of gluten (no meat). Its a cold dish. Also, try the shanghai rice cakes made out of rice flour, stir fried with chicken. They got some noodle dishes there too. Bubble tea there is not the best, but still decent.

                                      If you want non-chinatown, try
                                      Sammy's Noodle Shop
                                      453 Ave of The Americas
                                      in the Village


                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: designerboy01
                                        Fredster Sep 3, 2006 05:48 AM

                                        Thanks for the recommendations! Actually, I live in Toronto and have been to many authentic chinese restaurants with chicken feet and the like. I was asking for "american chinese food" which is a type of cuisine on its own and has its own merits. i will check your recommendations though!

                                        1. re: designerboy01
                                          mr_fro2000 Sep 4, 2006 11:22 PM

                                          Snob alert!

                                          There's no shame in asking for good americanized chinese food... there's a time and taste for everything. Sometimes I want clams w/ black bean sauce, or Yu-Zhou chicken w/ sichuan peppercorns or shanghai soup dumplings. Other times I want good chicken lo mein or pork fried rice or bbq spareribs. It just depends.

                                          That being said Chef Ho's on UES is decent for this type of 'cuisine'

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