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NY Noodletown, New Green Bo, Yeah Shanghai, or ...?

I should preface this by saying that I tend to be partial to New Green Bo and went there for dinner last night. We had crab and pork soup dumplings (amazing as always), pan-fried pork dumplings (really good), and the eggplant in garlic sauce (also amazing). Then, at the recommendation of many here and elsewhere we got the yellow fish in seaweed (ie. fish sticks)-- they were definitely good, nice subtle seaweed-y flavor, but way too oily. We also got the Shanghai pan fried noodles-- they were good, but no great. They lacked flavor and were sitting in a kind of non descript brown sauce, although texture was good, a little chewy and a little crunchy and they came with all sorts of veggies, meat, shrimp, etc.. Again, good, but not great. Overall the meal was still terrific. And for all that plus a couple beers we spent about $45.

Now, on to this posting. I have a cousin coming in from out of town in May and wants "really good Chinese food". Since he isn't here that much I want to make sure to take him to the best of Chinatown. My immediate reaction was New Green Bo, but I know that there are definitely some people that would disagree. Since I haven't seen any postings about this recently...
where should I take him? NGB, Noodletown, Yeah Shanghai or something else altogether? Oh, and what should we order there too? Fancy/atmosphere is not important--

Thanks in advance.

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  1. HI jdream,

    Are you interested more in Shanghainese food or are you open to other Chinese cuisine (like Cantonese)? New Green Bo and Yeah Shanghai are Shanghaiese food and NY noodletown is completely different as it is a Cantonese styled noodle joints for quick fixes and stir fries. There are many Cantonese restaurants, more high-end or causal that also serve excellent Chinese food. Do you have a preference?

    1 Reply
    1. re: kobetobiko

      I'm open to anything-- I think I've had more Shanghaiese than Catonese, but as long as its great we'll be happy to try it!

    2. Where is New Green Bo? It sounds great.

      2 Replies
      1. re: traumachef

        You'll find mixed reviews on this board, I personally love it. It's on Bayard and Mott. The service is not the best and the place isn't pretty... BUT the food terrific and the prices can't be beat. If you go you must try the crab and pork soup dumplings, scallion pancakes, and eggplants with garlic sauce. Some things are better than others, but you can't go too wrong.

        1. re: jdream

          Thanks for the address. It's on my list of to do's this week, I will be sure to give all three suggestions a try.

      2. This might help refine your choices and astonish your cousin. Obviously you should try some places first. That's a fun exercise. I'd recommend Cantonese.


        5 Replies
        1. re: Brian S

          Out of town? If he's come this far, perhaps you might be willing to venture into Flushing for "really good Chinese food". If so, ask on the Outer Boroughs Board. If not, my vote is for NGB.

          1. re: Brian S

            Brian S, Have you ever been to Hoy Wong? It's this little hole in the wall that you have to walk down a few steps on Mott Street. It's across the street from Chase Bank?
            I'm not sure of the name but I believe it's called Hoy Wong. I was wondering if you've been there and what you think of it. :)

              1. re: wench31

                I'm pretty sure he wrote a review of it a couple of months ago

                1. re: Lau

                  Yes, that was the link I posted. Thanks for remembering.

            1. what's your cousin's idea of good Chinese? I've eaten at NGB twice and frankly I find it mediocre, and I'm surprised that it gets such good reviews here (or is the rest of Chinatown really that bad?)
              If your cousin is picky I'd 2nd to go to Queens part. I did go to one Cantonese seafood place in Chinatown that was fancier, larger, and pretty decent, but unfortunately I did not remember the name of the place. It was one of those large enough to host wedding banquet though.

              3 Replies
              1. re: zorgclyde

                Unfortunately I don't think we'll have the time to make it to Queens. He IS visiting from Toronto where they have some really great Chinese food, so I won't be showing him anything he's never seen before. I'm thinking we might bypass the whole Chinese thing altogether, but if we do go for it, I think it'll be NGB. I definitely think it's possible to have a mediocre meal there, but it is also possible to have a phenomenal one-- all of a matter of what you order. The service thing doesn't bother me at all, just part of the experience. Thanks for your input(s)!

                1. re: jdream

                  Hi jdream,

                  I lived in Toronto for awhile, and honestly, there is nothing in NYC Chinese scene that is not available in Toronto, only that they make a notch or a few notches better. For more traditional Chinese, they have plenty of better ones on Yonge street (the old Chinatown in Toronto). For more modern style Chinese, they have it in Markham and Richmond Hill and Scarbourgh. It doesn't even matter if it is Cantonese or Shanghaiese, they already have better ones. Joe's Shanghai and New Green Bo, supposedly the better Shanghainese in NYC, are at most second tiered in Toronto (I hate to say it, there are much better soup dumplings in Toronto). For Cantonese, I can only think of Dim Sum Go Go and Oriental Garden for dim sum and seafood that may be closer to the level in Toronto, but still there are better ones there. I hate to admit it myself (as I live in NYC now), but when it comes to Chinese food, there is really nothing that your friend can't get better ones in Toronto.

                  If you really want something that he may not find in Toronto, then I will actually go a completely different route, either to really really good Japanese (like sushi Yasuda) or fusion Asian (like Momofuku or Buddakan). There aren't that many great Japanese restaurants in Toronto, and fusion Asian is also rare. These might be more interesting options for your friends.

                  If you can think of anything else, let us know and we may come up with some other options!

                  1. re: kobetobiko

                    Thanks. Yeah, I agree. Thinking about the Chinese food I've had when I've gone to visit family in Toronto, it basically trumps most of NY Chinese food. I think we might go a different direction all together. Was thinking Sushi Yasuda for the night before (I'm looking for a Sunday day). So maybe we'll do 'ino, Prune, or something else... but I think I'm abandoning this original idea!

              2. If any of you ever go to Yeah Shanghai again, you should order the pea shoot soup dumpling. It's great! That dumpling has made me a fan of Yeah Shanghai. I have never been a fan of New Green Bo. Service isn't that great there and always feel rushed because there's a line forming. At Yeah Shanghai, you can eat with leisure.If you decide to so Shanghainese food go Yeah Shanghai.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wench31

                  This is interesting because I loooooove New Yeah's soup dumplings (pork, then crab and pork) but I remain mostly unwowed by their pea shoot dumplings. Perhaps I really just want the hot squirting juices from the meat dumplings. (Sorry, but the carnivore in me gets pornographic cravings.)

                2. We prefer Yeah Shanghai too. We always enjoy the food and service. We almost always get the juicy pork dumplings and sesame noodles and then pick three or four other dishes too. The waiters sometimes fuss and tell us that we order too much!

                  1. For Shanghainese - my vote goes to Goody's for the best soup dumplings. Wo Hop for all others.

                    1. Here is a related question: Can one really make reservations (that are honored) at New Green Bo? At Yeah Shanghai?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: erica

                        New Green Bo does not take reservation. It is strictly CASH-only and it's first come first serve. It's not terribly crowded on weekdays (Mon-Wed) but can be hairy on the later part of the weekdays and weekends. But, worth it :-)

                        1. re: Hanachan

                          Thanks..I was reading a review (think it was in nymag.com) that recommended reservations. I could not imagine that NGB would take them...I am having a craving for xlb.

                          1. re: erica

                            If you are craving for xlb, the best place is to get it at Joe's Shanghai or Joe's Ginger (same owners). Their xlb is better than NGB, but everything else is forgettable.

                            1. re: kobetobiko

                              Thanks! I did go to NGB (note that the menu says Green Bo with no "new" in sight) The tiny buns with pork and crab were very good but, sadly, nothing close to what I remembered from my recent visit to Shanghai. For the record, we also ordered pork chow fun (very good), kaufu (excellent) and for my partner, his favorite dish....(voice drops low to a whisper here....) sweet and sour pork. Service was friendly and fast and the place was much more spiffy than I remember from my last visit long ago. I have to go back and explore the menu.....

                              1. re: erica

                                I don't think you'll find anything close in quality to an average noodle shop in Shanghai anywhere in the Five Boroughs, though I stand to be corrected. I like Yeah best, but I recognize that I like it better in direct proportion to the length of time I've been away from Shanghai.

                      2. I think it's hard to go wrong at Noodletown. Start with roast duck and/or spareribs, get some fish dishes and plenty of greens and some noodles -- it's going to be delicious. My daughter is a student at the Culinary Institute of America and when she came home for a weekend recently with four other CIA students, she took them to Noodletown. They went nuts. In fact, the next time they came into the city, my daughter wanted to take them to another place, just for variety, and they mutinied, insisting on going back to noodletown. I have eaten there many dozens of times over the last few years and have honestly never had a meal that I didn't thoroughly enjoy.

                        1. I think that if your cousin wants Chinese food, then you should give it to him. Yes, NY Chinatown has incredibly good food. But the Shanghainese is not up to par. So you should go for Cantonese.

                          The problem with NY Chinatown is that never have I seen such a gap between the best a restaurant can do and what you will be given. If you could somehow get the best chef in the NY area and somehow get him to give you the best he is capable of, you would be amazed. But that's so hard to do; here are a few reasons why: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/328296

                          I've been go Green Bo only once. While it's "authentic", I just don't think the chefs are as talented as in some other places, such as Shanghai Cafe and Joe's. (Yes I love Joe's though I havent been there in years. When they first opened I ate there about 50 times and was always amazed, especially by the 7 varieties of yellowfish)

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Brian S

                            I have friends visiting this week who really want soup dumplings. Trying to decide between Shanghai Cafe and NY Noodle. Sounds like you prefer the former. What else do you recommend at Shanghai? Last time I was there I got mock duck which was good and some meatball caserrole which was only ok. The soup dumplings skins seemed lighter, which is good, but the broth also seemed less flavorful, which is not good.

                            1. re: Produce Addict

                              Pretty sure NY Noodletown does not have soup dumplings, as they are not Shanghainese...BUT they have really great dumplings IN soup.

                              1. re: prunefeet

                                nope, no soup dumplings at Noodletown. but as you mentioned, the wontons in soup are great, as are the vegetable dumplings in soup. if you add noodles (which may result in a few less dumplings), it is a filling meal in itself.

                              2. re: Produce Addict

                                At Shanghai Cafe I like the Dongpo Pork and also the braised yellowfish, as well as braised fish tail and fish belly. I don't know about soup dumplings, I never order them. But everyone else does. One day I'll put a post on General Topics asking why people like dumplings and tacos.

                                1. re: Brian S

                                  Thanks for the reply! Meant to say that I'm choosing between Shanghai Cafe and New Green Bo--NY Noodletown lacks soup dumplings.

                                  1. re: Produce Addict

                                    I haven't been to Shanghai Cafe. But I can say, unequivocally, that the soup dumplings at NGB are absolutely perfect in ever way!

                                    1. re: jdream

                                      Maybe it's an either-or situation. I prefer New Green Bo always. Their home made veggie chicken is amazing both in the silky texure and the subtle smoky flavor, thier spicy cabbage (napa) isn't spicy, but nice and cold and refreshing, their Peking Duck is still the best I've had anywhere.

                                      Shanghai Cafe is not for me. Something is missing there for me. Yeah Shanghai Delux isn't for me, either. Who knows what, but viva la difference!

                            2. I finally tried Yeah Shanghai after being true to NGB for some time and I'm mixed with my results... The soup dumplings had more soup. That having been said, the skins were significantly thicker than at NGB and I didn't find them to be has flavorful. Same goes for the pan-friend pork dumpling-- good flavor, skin was too thick. Beside the dumplings we had the Eggplant and minced pork casserole that was delicious, if a little too sweet. Overall, it certainly wasn't bad but it didn't keep up with NGB.