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Chinatown: beyond GNY Noodletown

  • c

So I was in Chinatown last night looking for dinner, and was headed for my standby, Great NY Noodletown, when I was hit with the urge to try somewhere different. But I was hungry, couldn't think of anywhere I'd heard recommended that I hadn't tried, got overwhelmed with the huge number of options and ended up slinking back to the Noodletown for a plate of sea bass with flowering chives. Not that there's anything wrong with that.... but next time I'm in the mood for something in that vein but want to try somewhere different, where should I go? What should I order?

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  1. I'm kind of waiting for Brian S. to answer this one ... But I've had some good meals lately on Chowhound recommendations at Amazing 66 (classic Cantonese) on Mott, a number of the Malaysian joints (Skyway, Nyonya, New Malaysia), the noodle place on Eldridge (Super Taste) ... and some good snacks and sweets at Taipan on Canal and Paris Bakery.

    5 Replies
    1. re: foodmonk

      Thank you... I agree with all your recommendations, especially Amazing 66.

      See also http://www.chowhound.com/topics/342344

      Noodletown is really good, by the way, or used to be. I remember eating there years ago and thinking, this place is SO good that if the NY Times only knew about it, they would give it at least one star, maybe too, but it's so small the Times will never find out about it.... And then of course they did.

      1. re: Brian S

        I'm not sure how long ago you're talking about, but the NY Times did review NY Noodletown. In 1994.

        1. re: E Eto

          Yes indeed. Reichl gave them TWO stars, that's what put them on the map. I used to go before then, in 1992, and think what a shame it was that the Times would never notice a little "dive" like that.

          1. re: E Eto

            Back in the '90s it was known simply as New York Noodletown, more recently becoming Great N.Y. Noodletown. Does anybody know if there was an ownership change in the interim, or was it just some kind of internal adjustment that resulted in the name change? (Ditto with Hee Seung Fung becoming HSF.)

        2. re: foodmonk

          I can't say I really like Nyonya that much - for all the times I've been, I never felt like the taste was mind-blowing or that the price matched what it was. Plus the service is ridiculously slow, which creates longer wait times.

        3. Try one of the Vietnamese restaurants. I'm partial to New Viet Haung on Mulberry Street, but there are many to chose from.

          1. I like Oriental Garden (14 Elizabeth Street). Their seafood dishes are great but it's probably a little more $$ than New York Noodletown. I have been to NY Noodletown once.. didn't think the food was that great but it much cleaner than many other Chinatown restaurants.

            I also like Cantoon Garden (22 Elizabeth Street). It's more of a "Chinese Family Restaurant" with more family-style dishes. The food is pretty authentic there (therefore, not everyone will like it) and most diners are Chinese. And, along with the authenticity, it's not as clean as the two restaurants I have mentioned above.... I usually save this place to go with my Chinese friends.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bearmi

              I, too, have grown a bit weary of Noodletown, though there's nothing wrong with it, (except, maybe the crowds) and lately I've been going to JM Family Restaurant (could be MK, I'm not sure) on the corner of Henry and whatever the street is 1 block South of East Broadway. Last time there we ordered Snails in Black Bean sauce and the waiter ran out to get fresh snails up the block, 'cause they'd run out. (What service!) For good old Duck-in-the-window style Chinese, I recommend it highly. Great Chow Fun, Wontons and outstanding Peking-Style Pork Chops. Certainly up there with N-Town and miles above Wo Hop, which call Whoa Glop.

            2. Give New Yeah Shanghai on Bayard, and their outrageous honey pork a try

              1 Reply
              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                I love love love New Yeah. I can't get the honey BBQ pork shoulder unless we have 4 people or more though - too much for me to take down all my my lonesome.

                Plus they have the best soup dumplings in town.

              2. For something different, get Pho at one of the Vietnamese places. We like Pho Grand and Pho Bang. Order the Pho Tai to start. It is a beef soup with a gentle flavor. It comes with noodles and thin rare beef on top. Depending on which restaurant, they have onions, scallions and cilantro. They also serve a plate of bean sprouts, lemon/lime and basil. Add some, add fish sauce, soy sauce and hot sauce. Mmmm.

                Also - Grand Sichuan. Many excellent and authentic dishes.

                4 Replies
                1. re: LSchnetzer

                  I'm going to say Super Taste Restaurant on Eldridge for hand-pulled noodles. The spicy beef hand-pulled noodles are mighty scrumptious!

                  1. re: midtownfoodie

                    agreed, i eat there every thursday...i've become too regular they don't even ask us what we want anymore

                    1. re: Lau

                      Just curious, but what do you get there? I haven't been able to stray from the spicy beef!

                      1. re: midtownfoodie

                        I've tried most of the soup noodles there and i've come to the conclusion that the spicy beef noodle is the best (pork bone is also work trying although the spicy beef noodle is better). I also get fish balls (yu wan in chinese) and if i'm really hungry i'll also get the boiled dumplings (shui jiao in chinese). The fish balls are boiled fish balls with a small amount of beef in the center and they're served in a broth (suggest eating them with chili oil) and the dumplings are good as well, just typical boiled dumplings although the sauce they give you is tasty (its a soy sauce that is sort of tangy, i think they put fish sauce and maybe some vinegar in it)

                2. Just had dinner at Fuleens! Excellent dinner here tonight! We ordered eleven dishes and every dish we had was executed perfectly. All of the seafood was fresh and grit free, even the hard hard-to-impress chinese elders (my dad especially) admitted that dinner was 'very good' (thats the highest compliment I've ever heard from him). Its byob too!

                  Maybe you should try a steamed sea bass dish here next time to compare. Aside from their seafood, all of their meat dishes came out wonderful. I've never had lambchops in a chinese restaurant before but I was definitely impressed that they made it well good here.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: DarthEater

                    This is good to know. I used to go there a lot with my Dad in the early '90s. It was excellent then, one of the best places around. (It had a different name but it was the same place.) I don't know why, but I haven't gone back in a very long time. Now I will.

                    1. re: Brian S

                      Also, they were very busy last night but never once did we had to remind them to change our plates, they were on top of that as well as fulfilling any special requests in a timely manner (as we know this can be rare in a chinese restaurant)

                      1. re: Brian S

                        I believe that used to be Kwong and Wong restaurant in the early 1990s.

                        1. re: Chandavkl

                          Can't go wrong in kwong and wong.
                          ok that was cheesy.

                      2. re: DarthEater

                        I just got back from Fuleen. I didn't have an elaborate dinner but instead ordered steamed carp. At $11, this is one of the cheapest dishes on a not-so-cheap menu, but it was made the same way as they steam the most expensive fish, so it gave me a chance to evaluate their cooking. It was very well done indeed, perfectly cooked, the top strewn with a lovely mix of julienned scallions and ginger, with cilantro too.

                        Here's a tip. If you go at 6:30, the place is empty (at least on Mondays), but there's a line out the door by 7:15.

                        1. re: Brian S

                          Thats funny because on saturday night the place was empty at 7pm but come 7:30 the place was filled to the gills! Even though the menu isn't cheap, they allow you to byob so that helps alot for dinner banquets.

                      3. I had dinner last night at Hsin Wong, at 72 Bayard right near Mulberry. Bare-bones decor with pigs and ducks in the windows. I'd passed by many times and never eaten there before. I got something from the Chinese posters on the walls... the only thing I could translate... and it turned out to be pig's intestines with hot green peppers, some fermented black beans, but no gloppy sauce, just a light clear coating. Not the best place by any means, but very good and a lot of fun to try a new place, and I'm putting this in to show that you can walk in almost anywhere and (if you are lucky with what you order) get a good meal.

                        3 Replies
                          1. re: Brian S

                            One of the better roast meat places. For a cheap lunch they make a $3.50 or $4 rice plate with a pile of the meat of your choice plus a bit of greens.

                            Hsin Wong
                            72 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

                            1. re: squid kun

                              I like M&B aka Fukee for lunch. 128 Lafayette just North of Canal. They have good roast pork, soy sauce chicken and roast duck on rice same deal, 3.50-4.00. Noodle soups are good too, with all any of the above in them.

                          2. if you don't want the full meal experience at Amazing 66 (I find it's great with a group of 4), Moon House is great for casual random dining; great stuff on the menu (various steamed, fried and pan-fried buns and dumplings, nice greens, nice casseroles and soups, soup dumplings, etc.) and quite inexpensive as well. very nice staff.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: bigjeff

                              Second Moon House, doesn't get enough attention, and is a great place for Shanghai dishes. Also, New Wonton Garden is dependable for good cantonese wonton noodle soup.

                              1. re: spchang

                                I like Moon House too. I went there on Friday. I noticed they had fish belly in brown sauce but they didn't have whole fish in brown sauce. That's my favorite Shanghai dish. (Actually, it's red-cooked, not brown. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_cooking ) So I persuaded them to make it, and they did, for $13. It was great.

                                1. re: Brian S

                                  ill put my two cents in as well..always been a fan of moon house (always support it on the boards)

                                  the best dish there is their sheng jian bao (fried tiny buns), they make very good ones (they could pass in asia)

                            2. Wanted to throw my 2 cents in for Jaya and XO Kitchen. I've been around the Chinatown block, well, lots of times - and Jaya was one of my first stops. Still a nostalgic favorite. That's for Malaysian. For more good diner food, give XO Kitchen on Hester a short. Really interesting options there, including several things with Durian, soups, etc...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: gaijingirl

                                I like Jaya too, most of the stuff I've ordered there has been great. Even though it's a Malaysian place, I recommend the Chinese style hot and sour soup; you get a huge bowl of it and it's intensely spicy.