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May 2, 2007 08:59 AM

Chinese in Midtown

Taking someone into Manhattan tonight and we want to eat chinese and also want to show them Midtown. Any Suggestions - East side is ok West side would be better. I'm thinking of Ollie's on 44th, but I assume I could do better w/o going downtown

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  1. Wu liang ye
    36 W 48th St
    Btwn 5th & 6th Ave

    1. szechuan gourmet on 39th between 5th and 6th .

      1. Grand Sichuan on 51st and 9th.

        10 Replies
        1. re: dayzzd

          Ollie's on 44th is closed.
          I recommend Bill Hong's, on East 56th St (if you don't mind the east side).

            1. re: BackyardChef

              i had no idea - thanks for the update! was this a recent closing? i was there about a year ago, i think...

              1. re: bosox

                It happened about 4 to 6 weeks ago.

                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  oh wow - any idea why? i never had a bad experience when eating there, or getting delivery. the food was always delicious, the staff always kind, and the atmosphere was very inviting as well...
                  sad to see them go.

                  1. re: bosox

                    "oh wow - any idea why?"

                    They were closed by the Department of Health. GSI chose not to make whatever changes were required. Anything else is speculation.

                    Back to the subject of Chinese in midtown, I give my highest recommendation to Szechuan Gourmet - 39th and 6th.

                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                      Szechuan Gourmet is definitely one of the best Chinese in midtown. A warning though -- don't try to get very spicy food here like you might ask for at a Sichuan restaurant in a Chinese neighborhood -- they'll just add lots of extra chili powder.

                      1. re: Peter Cuce

                        My experience might be a bit different than yours.

                        I'm a regular at SG and I never have a problem getting things as spicy as I'd like. I don't have to ask - they just do it. That seems to be the default setting. I am always amused at stories of people having to use secret Chinese phrases or do little dances to get things spiced right. For some reason I never have that problem at places like Sri and S&T. Maybe I'm lucky or maybe I just can't tell the difference.

                        Or maybe it's natural variability. The spicing level can vary from dish to dish but I assume that that's the way the kitchen thinks the food should be made. I sort of like the idea that everything doesn't come out screaming hot at 120 miles per hour.

                        At SG the one exception I had from the usual run of spiciness was one night a few months back when I ordered the shredded pork with dried bean curd. Normally it's not a spicy dish but the first incarnation of Spicy & Tasty served it that way and I found I liked it. At SG I asked for it to be made hot and my waiter warned me that it was going to be especially hot. "Sure" I said. "I like that."

                        The dish was delicious but it was also one of the hottest things I've ever had in my life. I finished it all - that's what good Chowhounds do - but it made me ill the next morning. I guess the chef that night was known for having a heavy hand and the waiter was giving me a heads up.

                        All this adds up to the idea that very good kitchens like Sri, S&T, and SG can vary the spicing level of dishes depending on who's cooking that day and how they think a dish should be done. I suppose in theory it sometimes it has to do with whether they see you as "American" as opposed to Asian but I wonder. If I order 3 dishes and 2 come out spicy and one comes out a bit milder did they suddenly remember that I'm an American when they were making the 3rd one? I honestly think that in the better places like SG it's just natural variability and nothing more.

          1. re: dayzzd

            That branch is permanently closed.

            1. re: dayzzd

              Not open anymore. First shut by the DOH and they decided not to reopen.

            2. Our Place II on 55th between Lex and 3rd. Great dumplings, great service, great Mu Shoo Chicken.

              1 Reply
              1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                The original Our Place is on 82nd/3rd and is FABULOUS, too. I'm lucky enough to live right across the street, so my boyfriend and I order from them all the time. Great food, albeit a little more expensive than most Chinese places, and fast delivery.

              2. Thanks all.
                I actually wound up going to Ollie's at their new location on 42nd between 9th and 10 Ave. The food was excellent and 3 of us had dinner and drinks for under 90 bucks. Try doing that in midtown anywhere else. The new Ollie's is smaller than the old one and has a much improved atmosphere. Now I will need to go back and try some of the other places recommended.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Phred

                  Phoenix Garden is one of the best Cantonese restaurants in Manhattan. Wu Liang Ye and Szechuan Gourmet are both excellent Sichuan. Evergreen does excellent Shanghai.

                  3 Midtown Chinese:


                  Has Midtown Trumped Chinatown?: