Lai Yuen-4th Avenue Brooklyn-is it worth the money?
Neighbors told us they had the best Chinese food ever-Americanized-at this place but expensive, very. Any comments?
4th Ave & 104th St. It is fun and just a little silly. Decor is like a "nice" hotel restaurant with all wood paneling, a big fish tank, etc. Waiters come and plate the food for you - no chopsticks here.
We are talking ca. $20 entrees.
Generally the dishes use really nice ingredients (nice large shrimp, lobster, steak), and seem to tend toward the sweet side. Lobster in a very sweet sauce seemed like a waste, but Grand Marnier shrimp, some sushi, a side of chinese broccoli were all winners.
So, I'd say try it if you are in a decadent mood. If you are a "serious" Chinese food fan, forget about it.
Another, slightly more fusiony option a few blocks away is Nouvelle. You lose the luxe atmosphere, though.
Writing about Lai Yuen made my wife and I miss the place, so we headed back this evening. For the most part I stand by my assessment except for the word "luxe" to describe the decor (which, like I said, it kind of like a hotel restaurant or roomy "nice" suburban place.) The vibe was a bit on the tacky side, like Embers up the street, and everybody was dressed quite casually (including us.) Service was classy and attentive, though.
My crispy whole sea bass was a bit disappointing (sweet sauce was a bit too much, and a "whole fish" is smaller than you expect; it's the same at Grand Szechuan.) Wife's filet mignon in black pepper sauce was fine, bananas flambee for dessert was totally worth it.
Over all, I wish it was 30% cheaper, but it was laid-back and silly fun.
They do have a really great "Lai Yuen" won ton soup with lots of yummy stuff in it, and amazing spareribs.
Lai Yuen has very nice decor. Service is always first rate. It also has the best Chinese food in Brooklyn. Everything is delicious. They are a little on the expensive side, but well worth the price. Enjoy
We have eaten here once- just once. Food was average at best. Did not see the quality ingredients that others have mentioned. Way too expensive for ho hum food.