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Xmas Dinner -- Chinatown, Jake

Silverlaker Nov 28, 2006 07:56 PM

I've done the research and am still confused as to where to go (I have a long list of restaurants and they're all starting to look/sound the same). Husband and I are looking for a mid-priced restaurant that preferably takes reservations.

At the risk of offending, we're looking for classic "New York Chinese" -- meaning good won-ton soup, egg rolls, spare-ribs, mo shu pork, lo mein, etc. Authenticity not as important. I'm an LA Chowhounder and we have Monterey Park closeby.

Looking for a "Jewish Christmas" experience, preferably in Chinatown, that won't break the bank ($100 or less for two people, sans alchohol).


  1. s
    Silverlaker Nov 30, 2006 04:20 PM

    Oops, I forgot to thank everyone's suggestions, I now have a good list going!

    1. s
      Silverlaker Nov 30, 2006 04:19 PM

      Brian -- I understand the overall pass at my initial queary, but unlike the common poster, I did do a lot of research -- not just on this board but in the new york magazine website, etc. -- and I just wasn't finding what I was looking for. In L.A. we have a hard time coming up with a really good Americanized Chinese place so I was looking forward to that experinece in NYC... I thought I'd have an easier time here.

      Next time "you're all" in L.A. and want an authentic experience for Chinese cuisine (preferably in Monterey Park), please post and I promise to deliver!

      1. Brian S Nov 30, 2006 02:12 AM

        What about Mr Tang on Mott St? It does do rigorously authentic Cantonese stuff for those who want it, but it is a branch of a Brooklyn restaurant and I'm sure they do lots of American Chinese stuff to draw the tourists in. In fact when I was there they gave me an egg roll and later charged for it.

        I'm sorry I was so slow to reply. Yours was a valid question but it sounded so much like questions we get just about every day, like... imagine you got posts like the following on your California boards several times a day, from all over the world.

        "I want an experiance that screams "California!" so please tell me which shopping mall has a food court crowded with typical Californians. I am not interested in any other food recommendations because any possible food or cuisine you have to offer, I can get on every street corner of my home town prepared far better than anything you will ever taste in your life."

        Anyway that's the posts that we get on the Manhattan board. We send 'em to Katz's for pastrami.

        1. l
          Low_Fat Nov 29, 2006 08:28 PM

          Hi Silverlake,

          Big Wong on Mott is a safe bet for very good won ton, lo mein and spare ribs. I don't think they do egg rolls as BBQ is their forte. They speak English and you definitely won't break the bank there!

          1. s
            Silverlaker Nov 29, 2006 05:14 PM

            Btw, my husband just looked at my posting and laughed, informing me that I spelled "boroughs" wrong... we don't have these in L.A., we have suburbs! Thanks for your thoughts -- I'll check into them.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Silverlaker
              Polecat Nov 29, 2006 05:42 PM

              Silverlaker, check out various posts above - there have been recommendations. Apparently, Jade Mountain is indeed still open.
              It's in the East Village, a half block or so south of 14th on 2nd.

              Also, if you don't mind going out to Queens, King Yum Polynesian
              is like walking into 1955, not retro but the real deal. Tikis,
              Mai Tais and egg foo yung. It's on Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows.

            2. csw Nov 29, 2006 04:43 PM

              Gee, I'm stumped. Buddha Bodai is Kosher on mott..I'm not sure if thats impportant. Not in chinatown but try Sammys noodle shop by west 11th. I see alot of Americans in there.


              1. s
                Silverlaker Nov 29, 2006 04:16 PM

                Hey, guys -- my point was this: we can get terrific authentic Chinese food twenty minutes from where I live in Los Angeles (i.e. Monterey Park). I have a Chinese step-mother, I know authentic Chinese food and -- I don't want it!

                We want to experience NYC Chinatown and have won ton freakin' soup and yummy eggrolls like true, red-blooded Americans! (I'm saying all this with a grin).

                I know these restaurants are out there -- I can recommend some in L.A., every city has them and I know NYC does! Come on, guys -- to be blunt (and admittedly a bit of a pain) -- give me a few options for good ol' fashion Americanized Chinese food in NYC Chinatown -- we ain't going to the burrows. I know you can do it -- reach within.

                I'm off to therapy now -- (half kidding).

                1. s
                  Silverlaker Nov 28, 2006 11:55 PM

                  Wow -- thanks for my responses, but really the "New York Chinese" queary has more to do with Americanized Chinese -- like I said at the top, good won-ton soup, lo mein, egg rolls, spare ribs, mo-shu. The stuff you really wouldn't dare order at a more authentic/regional Chinese restaurant. Not looking for a dive, looking for mid-price restaurant. On second thought, maybe we should just be looking for a good Chinese restaurant in Chinatown -- but that doesn't narrow it down much. (want to stick to the city)

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Silverlaker
                    Chandavkl Nov 29, 2006 12:07 AM

                    Can't think of anything in New York Chinatown that's better than what you're used to in the San Gabriel Valley. Jing Fong does have a really neat escalator going up to the second floor dining room.

                    1. re: Chandavkl
                      Brian S Nov 29, 2006 02:53 AM

                      Et tu, Brute? I thought you were the one Californian on Chowhound who respected -- and truly appreciated -- our Chinatown.

                      1. re: Brian S
                        Chandavkl Nov 29, 2006 06:14 AM

                        I certainly do enjoy eating my way through so many good restaurants in New York Chinatown. But on an absolute comparison basis, there aren't a lot of places in New York Chinatown, or for that matter any historic American Chinatown, Los Angeles and San Francisco included, that compares favorably with what you can get in the new middle class, suburban Chinatowns, such as the San Gabriel Valley in the Los Angeles area, Millbrae in the Bay area, and other similar locales. New York Chinatown food is better than both San Francisco and Los Angeles Chinatown, but the real action has been in the suburbs for at least the last 20 years.

                        1. re: Chandavkl
                          Pan Nov 29, 2006 06:47 AM

                          What's the comparable area in the New York area to the suburban Chinatowns in California? Is there one?

                          1. re: Pan
                            Chandavkl Nov 29, 2006 04:01 PM

                            It's not suburban, but Flushing would be the closest thing to a Monterey Park equivalent in New York. It does fit the description of not being an older core Chinatown,having a more middle class population base than the core Chinatown, and producing better food than the core Chinatown. On my most recent visit to New York a few weeks ago I made my first tour of Chinese restaurants in the Central New Jersey area (primarily Edison and East Brunswick) to see if the food was better than New York Chinatown, but while pretty decent it wasn't better.

                          2. re: Chandavkl
                            Brian S Nov 29, 2006 04:18 PM

                            It's different in New York. People who work their way up and out of Manhattan Chinatown come back to celebrate, sometimes to shop, always to eat. Have you noticed all the barber shops on Doyers Street? Chinese people who live in, say, Pennsylvania, come to have their hair cut. While there, they eat. Try to get into 6 Chatham Square, and chances are you cant, because there's a wedding going on. (When I told the people there that, they told me that you can usually eat in a downstairs room if there's a banquet upstairs.) Important stuff gets celebrated in Chinatown.

                            And the best food? Nobody can say, because for all we know the best chef is working in a luxury restaurant concealed behind a noodle shop, or offering a secret menu in what looks like a tourist trap. But be assured that when a community leader goes to the best chefand says, my eldest son is getting married, and I want to give the best banquet, don't worry about expense -- he will GET the best banquet.

                            1. re: Brian S
                              Chandavkl Nov 29, 2006 04:41 PM

                              Yes, that's why I rate New York Chinatown food higher than San Francisco or Los Angeles, since Chinese in the latter two cities can get along perfectly well without going to Chinatown. My office is a five minute drive from Los Angeles Chinatown, but I only go there to eat a handful of times a year because Monterey Park is only 15 minutes away.

                    2. MaspethMaven Nov 28, 2006 11:25 PM

                      Must it be chinatown? Also, not sure if OP specified Kosher.
                      Maybe try joe's shanghai in Midtown.

                      1. csw Nov 28, 2006 11:08 PM

                        You might want to try brooklyn.

                        1. s
                          Silverlaker Nov 28, 2006 10:12 PM

                          Thank you for responding, Chandavkl. On the LA board, there was a thread a few months back for "New York Chinese" in Los Angeles and there were many hits. This is my third posting for "New York Chinese" ont this board and you're my only response. I'm a little confused here... is Wo Hop my only option. Anything a little more upscale -- not really looking for greasy spoon. Thanks again --

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Silverlaker
                            Chandavkl Nov 28, 2006 10:27 PM

                            There was once a Chinese restaurant on Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills called Shanghai Garden that proclaimed it served "New York style Chinese food." When I asked what this meant he indicated merely this was the type of Chinese food they served in the Jewish neighborhoods of New York. With this in mind, I'm wondering if there are any Chinese restaurants in Chinatown that would fit this bill. Actually, there might be, particularly on Mott St. or Pell St., which were the historic tourist thoroughfares in Chinatown, but you'd probably have the same problem as Wo Hop in that it'd be a restaurant that had been continuously at that location since 1938 without an interim remodel. As such maybe you'd have better luck finding a nicer place outside of Chinatown.

                            1. re: Chandavkl
                              Brian S Nov 28, 2006 10:33 PM

                              Bernstein on Essex closed years ago, and so did China Shalom Glatt Kosher Restaurant. I've been using Google to hunt around, because I just am not certain what you mean by "New York style Chinese food"

                              Hey what about Jade Mountain, with the big neon Chow Mein sign? Also way out in Queens there are places, check that board.

                              1. re: Brian S
                                Chandavkl Nov 28, 2006 11:11 PM

                                New York style Chinese food probably refers to food you get (or maybe used to get) in neighborhood Chinese restaurants in Brooklyn. It certainly doesn't have to be Kosher, due to the Chinese restaurant exception to the Kosher dietary laws. (See the link on the webpage of San Francisco area Chowhound Gary Soup, middle of page next to the black and white photo, for a discussion of the exception.)


                                Also, here's an older thread that touches on the New York style Chinese food topic and the Kosher exception.


                                1. re: Chandavkl
                                  Brian S Nov 28, 2006 11:24 PM

                                  Here's an Outer Boroughs thread that may help.


                                2. re: Brian S
                                  Polecat Nov 29, 2006 12:18 AM

                                  Brian, I'm pretty sure Jade Mountain closed. I passed by a month ago, and it had been cleared out for renovating and/or new tenants. Even though I've never been there, that neon Chow Mein sign was to the East Village landscape what a buoy is to a shoreline sighting. It was always there, reassuring me that I had landed back in a good place. How strange to find it no longer jutting out into the scenery.

                                  As for Queens, the place to go is probably King Yum Polynesian, the oldest Chinese American tiki house in the borough.

                                  1. re: Polecat
                                    Pan Nov 29, 2006 04:19 AM

                                    As of last week, the sign and lights were on again at Jade Mountain.

                            2. c
                              Chandavkl Nov 28, 2006 10:00 PM

                              Sounds you might be looking for a place like Wo Hop, which is otherwise the scourge of this board. Given that you're familiar with Monterey Park food and yours is a special request, you're entitled to a free pass! One of my Jewish friends back here in L.A. who is otherwise fairly sophisticated about Chinese food also likes this place, too.


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