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Xmas Dinner -- Chinatown, Jake

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).

Thanks!

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  1. 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.

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/234652

    1. 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

        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

          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

            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.)

            http://www.eatingchinese.org/

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

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            1. re: Brian S

              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

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

        2. You might want to try brooklyn.

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

            1. 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

                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

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

                  1. re: Brian S

                    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

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

                      1. re: Pan

                        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

                        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

                          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.