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Where is the Best Dim Sum in Manhattan? [Moved from The Best board]

  • k

I used to go to an excellent Dim Sum restaurant in NYC that was in Chinatown and on the second floor. I cannot remember its name. It is not TRIPLE 8. Any ideas? Or, does anyone have a good recommendation for some serious and authentic Dim Sum? Thanks.

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  1. i like the golden unicorn alot....

    18 Replies
    1. re: bethanyj

      definitely recommend golden unicorn. For dim sum on the healthier side/less grease, i would recommend chinatown brasserie...more upscale too

      1. re: sara1213

        Right. At quadruple the price and nowhere near the authenticity...

        1. re: Gastronomicon

          Agree with you on quadruple the price, which will prevent me from ever going back to Chinatown Brasserie unless somebody else is paying. However, it's only inauthentic when compared to historic dim sum served off the cart. It is authentic when compared to the type of dim sum currently served of menus in Hong Kong, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and other places around the world.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            I'm a big fan for dim sum made by chefs of extraordinary skill. For someone who has eaten a lot of dim sum in SF, Vancouver, and Hong Kong, how does the chef match up? What would you recommend on the menu? Does he do anything unique and out of the ordinary?

            I don't expect dim sum to be cheap, and I'd be willing to give Chinatown Brasserie a shot if the chef is remarkable. Menu looks a bit boring though at first glance.

            1. re: sfbing

              Well left unsaid but implied is that I wouldn't go back to Chinatown Brasserie because I can get the same quality for much less money back here in Los Angeles, just like you can get the good stuff at Koi Palace or Yank Sing in the Bay Area. (Yank Sing may be a bad analogy in that their pricing is like Chinatown Brasserie.) Chinatown Brasserie is noteworthy compared to the rest of the dim sum pack in Manhattan. That's probably how they can get away with charging so much. But compared to high end LA or SF dim sum it's not a revelation. For example, one of their signature items is the snow pea leaf with shrimp dumpling. Artistically made with little black dots on the wrapper that make it look like shrimp eyes, it's certainly delicious. But at $1.50 or $2 per piece, it's certainly not three times as good (or even twice as good) as the same item which costs 45 cents at You's Dim Sum on Broadway near Stockton in SF Chinatown.

              1. re: Chandavkl

                Well the cost of living is greater in NYC. And CB employs more staff at higher wages, uses the freshest ingredients and has a top flight Chef in Joe Ng on board. It is also spotlessly clean with a full bar service. Comparing it to places in Chinatown(s) is not entirely valid. It is difficult to overcome this conception that Chinese food has to be inexpensive.

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  Actually, having dined at Yank Sing of San Francisco many times, Yank Sing is head, shoulders and pelvis above Chinatown Brasserie. I went to Chinatown Brasserie and it was so underwhelming from a food quality as to be utterly bleahriffic. Oh, and actually cheaper, if you can believe it.

                  1. re: Gastronomicon

                    Thanks for the feedback, guys! I guess this means CB is bumped from my list this trip. I think I'll be heading out to Yunnan Flavor Snack instead. I saw a beautiful pic of a bowl of noodles on a blog somewhere and I gotta try it.

                    1. re: Gastronomicon

                      BTW, I meant that Yank Sing was actually cheaper than Chinatown Brasserie, just in case I wasn't clear.

                  2. re: sfbing

                    CB definitely does dim sum at a high level. I don't know that he'd be in the upper echelon world-wide, but at this point likely the best in NYC. The menu does look boring but the point is to produce high quality versions of classics. Word on Eater is Joe Ng is planning on opening a restaurant that "...will feature some unusual dim sum, including saffron soup dumplings and Peking duck sliders" so who knows how that will turn out.

                    If you're coming to NYC from SF, I would focus on the stuff that's truly NYC. The basis for David Chang laying the smackdown on SF.

                    1. re: fooder

                      When you start going off the beaten track of dim sum staples and coming up with all sorts of "variations" with none of the staples, then it's no longer dim sum. Call it Chinese hors d'oevres. Call it Chinese tapas; Chinese small plates; Chinese dreamplates; whatever. But don't call it dim sum. There's a certain expectation of staples when you say "dim sum". In that respect, Yank Sing has the staples such as Har Gao, Siew Mai, etc., even though they have their own inventions. And being a NYC native, I'd prefer dining in Chinatown for better and cheaper dim sum. Heck, even Dim Sum Go Go beats Chinatown Brasserie on both quality and price!

                      1. re: Gastronomicon

                        I strongly disagree. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, there is a difference between dim sum and yum cha. They have different entries in the chinese wikipedia. Saying you expect some "staples" of dim sum is like saying general tso's chicken is a "staple" of Chinese food. Different regions have different customs.

                        I just don't think this post offered anything new you hadn't said before while at the same time the rant seems misguided. I do think people should note the difference between dim sum and yum cha when asking about the best of one or the other.

                        By the way, CB does have staples like har gao and turnip cake.

                        1. re: fooder

                          i don't think Gastronomicon's rant is misguided...there are indeed staples of dimsum, and that's true in HK, Vancouver, San Gabriel Valley, and other places where good dimsum is sold...dimsum is a Cantonese thing, so regional variation, while sometimes evident (e.g. in Thai-Chinese and Chiu Chow places), is tertiary to the discussion at best...

                          For my personal taste, i don't want to go to a place that's trying to sell Peking duck sliders, etc...i'd prefer authentic, top-notch Cantonese dimsum...i think G's rant was a reaction to the emphasis on fusion/marketing (at the expense authenticity, quality, mastery of culinary tradition) that one finds too often throughout NYC and other cities (Shanghai, for example)...

                          1. re: fooder

                            @fooder: As you yourself said in your post, there's a difference between "yum cha" and "dim sum." I'm referring to the dishes in "dim sum" specifically and I couldn't care less about the teas as I'm not a tea afficionado. I prefer my plain, boorish chrysanthemum over bo lei or sau mei or jasmine.

                            It is true that different regions have different customs but in dim sum, the major differences are only between the northern and southern styles. The difference in dim sum between, say, a Cantonese dim sum and a Teochew dim sum is negligible since they're both southern provinces. One example of a difference you'd find in a northern-style dim sum is the availability of hot, salty soy bean milk. I've yet to encounter the salty version of soy milk in a southern dim sum parlor. However, it is a staple of the northern style of dim sum that you might find in, say, Beijing. Another thing that the northerners do well which the southerners can't hold a candle to are chilli sauces. The northerners have chilli sauce variations that can challenge the flavor of the South-East Asian variations (note that I'm talking about "flavor" and not "spiciness" or Scoville rating of the chilli sauces--you can have a chilli sauce with a high Scoville rating but still be utterly bland with regards to flavor).

                            Are the offerings of har gao and turnip cake at CB the "traditional" version or something they "jazzed up"? It's been a long time since I've gone back to CB since the culinary experience wasn't worth the financial imposition. For more avant-garde dim sum, I used to prefer Dim Sum Go Go but while it used to be good, it has lapsed since the owner (Veronica? She used to sit at the cashier's desk) is no longer overseeing things directly.

                            1. re: Gastronomicon

                              I'll try one last time, but that's it.

                              Yumcha refers to the whole dining experience. Usually in the big chinese restaurant, drinking tea and getting your dim sum off of carts. When most Americans say "dim sum", they mean "yum cha" because they want it to be "authentic". That doesn't mean that usage is correct. Dim sum specifically refers to the food and food style, which doesn't have to be served in that setting at all.

                              If you were to have traditional English afternoon tea (yumcha), then you would expect to have cucumber, smoked salmon, and other traditional sandwiches. But if you were to just make tea sandwiches (dimsum), you could do a variety of things. That's my problem with Gastro's view that dimsum must contain traditional staples. He's thinking of yumcha, not dim sum.

                              Gastro, CB's har gao and turnip cake are as one would expect, just done in a high quality manner. I just think your misguided hatred of CB doesn't benefit anyone on the board. This isn't Yelp.

                            2. re: fooder

                              looking at the wiki just tells me dim sum is a subset of yum cha but c'mon, seriously; the two terms are used interchangeably, am I right or what?

                                1. re: bigjeff

                                  As KTinNYC said, you are correct. But since fooder wanted to get persnickety, I decided to answer along the same vein.

                2. Maybe it was Jin Fong? 20 Elizabeth St 2nd Fl
                  New York, NY 10013-4802
                  Phone: (212) 964-5256

                  1. Unfortunately, the quality of dim sum has really gone downhill in NYC.

                    Some of the best to be found these days is at Chinatown Brasserie. At least the caucasians don't need to worry about communication barriers. It's sort of like going to Applebees for Chinese food, though.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mahalan

                      Is it really worth it? I can't bring myself to go there since it's in NoHo, and I live right near Chinatown. Seems silly to leave the area and pay double or triple the price.

                      1. re: Steverino79

                        Based on what you've posted here, I doubt you will consider it worth it. Others might.

                    2. I like:
                      Oriental Garden on Elizabeth Street
                      Ping's Seafood on Mott Street
                      Dim Sum Go Go on East Broadway

                      Jing Fong in Flushing is good too. The one in Manhattan is crappy, but some people like to go for the experience.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: MooShu

                        Jin Fong? Crappy? I'm not authority myself. But I recently took a Chinese friend who doesn't bother with dim sum in Chinatown, preferring to go to Flushing. She thought it was so good (as good as the one in Flushing, according to her), that she took her entire family there for her mother's birthday. From what I heard, the family agreed. I thought that sufficient confirmation that it must be pretty good.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          I was at Jing Fong recently and it was awful, greasy and unappealing.

                          1. re: KTinNYC

                            i totally agree w ktinnyc! i was not please w rude service either-and terribly didssappointed w jing fong-was my first and last time!

                            1. re: UES Mayor

                              Once in a while, because I know Jing Fong is popular and also that Jing Fong offers a wide variety of dim sum, I would recommend people to go there. However, I was there a few times when it wasn't the cleanest (maybe it was just a very busy day?). When I was there a few years back, the table I dined on was dirty and I saw food scraps /paper /chopsticks all over the floor. I lost quite a lot of appetite when I saw that. Let's hope they have cleaned up somewhat.

                              1. re: UES Mayor

                                Honestly, Jing Fong is still my go-to place when friends and relatives visit and want the full dim sum experience. I agree that it can be a bit greasy, but it's still reliably good food. There are so many places in the area that I try out, little places where I know I won't get the full experience with carts but I figure the food might be better--and it's not. I wind up saying, "should've gone to Jing Fong."

                                To me, Oriental Garden next door is one of those spots, though to be fair, I haven't had some of the seafood that's supposedly their specialty.

                                If your main concern is food quality, I think Dim Sum Go Go and Ping's have noticeably better, fresher ingredients, though the prices are definitely steeper.

                                Oh and Joe's Shanghai is a great one, but I haven't been to dim sum there. They don't have a separate dim sum menu, do they? I've peaked it at brunch time, and I just saw a lot of regular dinner dishes, but I could be wrong.

                                1. re: Steverino79

                                  We just went to Jing Fong's again. It is our current favorite. Food is better than Ping's based on my experience. Jing Fong has more variety and a banquet hall atmosphere. Saturdays are less crowded than Sundays. Dim Sum Go Go is also very good (no carts, smaller more contemporary atmosphere).

                                  1. re: Steverino79

                                    sorry dude. jing fong is horrible.
                                    i agree on ping's. although ping's is much smaller, the quality is a gazillion times better and fresher.

                                2. re: KTinNYC

                                  It's intriguing that the reviews of this place can be on such opposite ends of the scale. I was there fairly early on a weekday, and with a Chinese friend who was able to converse with the waitstaff. The same friend, who brought her family a couple of weeks later, also arrived early and said they were all chatting with the waitstaff as well. Could something as simple as the day you go and/or being able to communicate with the people bringing around the carts make a significant difference in the experience? It wouldn't surprise me if that were true.

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    I speak Cantonese so that's not the issue but seeing as how the food is already prepared and come in carts it shouldn't matter if you speak the language or not. It's not like there are some trays that hold the good stuff and the other trays are to given to none Chinese speakers.

                                    For years my parents lamented the fact you can't get good dim sum in NYC and in Manhattan in particular. Dim sum was always better in Toronto, Vancouver, and in parts on California.

                              2. re: MooShu

                                If Pings is the slightest bit edible, then they are horribly inconsistent.The last time I went, my shrimp har gow was mushy to inedible. Rotten mush. That is just an example. I usually let a dish slide but everything was disgustingly stale. It was a thursday and not a busy weekend but that is poor excuse to serve bad dim sum. I've had better dim sum everywhere else. Not the best but a whole lot better.

                              3. Dim sum places that are on the second floor:
                                Jing Fong on Elizabeth Street
                                Golden Bridge on Bowery (formerly known as Silver Palace)
                                Golden Unicorn on East Broadway

                                I used to live in Chinatown...

                                1. I 'm a Jing Fong fan myself. My second choice is Oriental Garden. All the others mentioned are good and I have never ever found any place to be poor.....maybe just bad timing for selection if I get seated too late....which is after 1:00 PM on the Weekends.

                                  This past weekend on Sunday, I decided to go to Golden Unicorn for a change.....I got seated right away @ 11:30 AM on the third floor. The Dim Sim was all good, but I prefer JF on Elizabeth. Golden Unicorn selection was weak at that time , when it should have been much more varied. The same items kept coming around. Also, the dumplings are a little bland for my tastes.

                                  Personally, I do not understand the fascination with Dim Sum Go Go. I like the family gathering experience.. When asked for a recommendation, for the squeamish, I refer to Oriental Garden for the nicer environment.

                                  19 Replies
                                  1. re: fourunder

                                    Dim Sum Go Go represents the new face of dim sum (menu service, innovative items) which has taken over in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver and Toronto, but which seemingly hasn't made any other inroads in New York. To me it's not a matter of "either or." I like the traditional places and I like the new wave, too.

                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                      I like Shun Lee Cafe on W. 65 st. Not open for lunch. My Chinese friend likes Jing Fong. I haven't been there yet.

                                      1. re: ron

                                        Wow, is it really fancy there? I know Shun Lee is an expensive restaurant. I was wondering if Dim Sum dishes at Shun Lee cafe are served from a steamer cart or "made to order from menu". Can you let us know?

                                        1. re: bearmi

                                          Shun Lee Cafe is a separate space than the Shun Lee Restaurant. The Cafe is attractive and better decorated than most dim sum halls in Chinatown (lots of mirrors, black and white tiles), but not really all that fancy. In my opinion, the dim sum is not all that great. I have seen a few carts rolled around, but I almost think they are mostly for effect. The selections are extremely basic from the carts, though you can get many more dishes by ordering off the menu.

                                      2. re: Chandavkl

                                        We went to Dim Sum Go Go for the first time this week. It was pretty empty at 10 AM. A few tourists and us. When we walked by the other night it was quite crowded. I have only been to dim sum a few times, so I have less opinions than others on this thread. Last time we went to Ping's (carts). Only been a few other times. To vegetarian Buddha Bodai on Mott. Once to a place on Mott that may no longer exist (carts). Once to a place I don't even remember the name of. Don't think I had dim sum when I was in Hong Kong or China. We had the following at DSGG:

                                        fried shrimp balls
                                        fried pumkin cakes (delicious - I could get addicted to these!)
                                        steamed rice rolls with shrimp
                                        chicken feet with black bean sauce
                                        spinach dumplings

                                        Everything was simple and fresh. Need to try some of the other restaurants mentioned in this thread or head to Flushing.

                                        1. re: Chandavkl

                                          dim sum go go is good but i think more on the "americanize chinese dim sum" end. they don't have some of the basic stuff that you find at other dim sum shops.

                                        2. re: fourunder

                                          Oriental Garden is terrible. Many of the items are straight from the freezer to the warming oven to the table. I think Dim Sum Go Go is the most underrated dim sum in Chinatown, fresh, inventive, usually delicious, and open quite late.

                                          1. re: Peter Cuce

                                            Can this be right about Oriental Garden? Last time I went a couple of months ago, I thought it was fantastic. I prefer their menu system over carts, as there is no question of being lucky. If that is what frozen dim sum tastes like, then I guess I like it.

                                            1. re: banquo


                                              If it is indeed true many of the items at Oriental Garden are frozen, I would like to know where I can purchase them......I agree with you.

                                              BTW.....like the old saying goes.......eat where the Chinese do......the only Chinese I see eating at DSGG are the ones entertaining their Caucasian Friends.

                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                I was at Dim Sum Go Go two nights ago and there were a bunch of Chinese and me. There are tons of bad restaurants in Chinatown, all full of Chinese people. Many people have bad taste in food. Look at all the Americans eating at McDonalds. Should we trust all Americans to recommend a good hamburger just because it's their native food?

                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                  Hi fourunder,

                                                  I have been eating dim sum in Hong Kong for years, and I have to respectfuly disagree with you on both Oriental Garden and Dim Sum Go Go. Oriental Garden's quality is highly inconsistent, and their dim sum had been dreadfully awful a few times I went there (not to say they are always bad, but something they were REALLY bad).

                                                  As for Dim Sum Go Go, did you read the comments by Chandavkl? I 100% agree with her. Dim Sum Go Go serves the more contemporary dim sum that are lighter and smaller than the traditional dim sum served in the 80's (think Goldern Unicorn). DSGG's dim sum is the closely to what you will get in Hong Kong nowadays (of course they are just average compared to the quality). If you go to Toronto or Vancouver where the majority of Hong Kong people live, you will find Dim Sum Go Go styled dim sum there.

                                                  People used to the traidional old school dim sum which are more commonly in NYC Chinatown may not enjoy it as much (and they often compliant about bland, as the old-school dim sum are much more heavy in seasoning and sauces). In fact is the this kind of old school dim sum is no longer popular in Hong Kong or a lot of places in China. There were probably less than 10 restaurants in Hong Kong that still serve old school dim sum, and the diners are mostly elderly (because the food is cheap), or people ( a lot of tourists actually) who want to experience that nostalgic dim sum feel in the old days.

                                                  I think it is more of a personal preference of whether you like contemporary or old school dim sum, but the former is certainly not just for tourists or Caucasians (I found this to be quite absurb). Just like Chandavkl said, I don't think it has to be mutually exclusive. It will not be correct to say that Dim Sum Go Go is not good because only Casucasians eat it (I think Oriental Garden serves tons of foreigns too!)

                                                  1. re: kobetobiko


                                                    I can appreciate all the comments thus far, but my original comments stated I have never found any of the popular Dim sum in Chinatown to be poor........and simply I do not understand the Fascination with DSGG. My second response was an attempt at levity without being rude to any ones opinion. With regards to DSGG, I have been there quite a few times...they have some great dumplings and some that simply do not work for me. That doesn't mean i do not like it, just that I prefer others.......Again in my original comments, I suggested a poor Dim sum experience is a result more due to timing.

                                                    To say something is crappy or terrible is an opinion....when a place like JF serves thousands in a day, you are expecting too much to be satisfied with quality for every single item offered, or every item you select. In a perfect world you would expect this, not in a real world. If your desire is to have service and food perfectly cooked.....JF is not a realistic place due to the nature of the operation and to compare it to DSGG or Chinatown Brasserie is ridiculous......they are not the same type of restaurants.......JF and Golden Unicorn are rustic factories....not specialty or glitz.

                                                    Oriental Garden may not be high on some people lists for Dim Sum, but terrible, I do not think so.......and as for serving frozen items......I do not think so either.

                                                    As for the Caucasian comment.....You are taking that too literally.....Yes Chinese do go there, I do, but the majority do not....as I said I like the Family aspect and I believe others do as well. Traditional is good and so is Comtemporary....however, After I have taken Family, Friends and Business Clients to any or either of the three places (JF, OG or DSGG).....any repeat excursion has been requested at JF or OG..........Caucasian or not.

                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                      Unless things change dramatically, I'll always consider NYC dim sum fair at best. This doesn't keep me from going. I'll have it once or twice a month despite the fact that it's not that good.

                                                      Why do I feel that way? Because my first experience with dim sum was in Edmonton almost 35 years ago. Everything was hot. Everything had been made by hand the prior day. Nothing had been steamed and resteamed. My next experience was in Los Angeles about a year later. Once again, everything was excellent. Living in the Midwest, I wasn't able to find dim sum (especially as a child) locally.

                                                      Now, especially in large cities, dim sum places don't make everything on site the day before they serve it. Often, they'll freeze items to reheat later. They'll heat huge batches of an item and just keep resteaming what's left to reheat it making it soggy.

                                                      Do I like New York dim sum? It's okay and reminds me of what I loved as a child but unfortunately it's nothing but a pale imitation of what it could be. My best luck finding good dim sum these days has been in smaller towns where they make it on site in small batches (instead of buying frozen stuff from their supplier).

                                                    2. re: kobetobiko

                                                      I totall agree with everything stated here. I lived in shanghai for several years where everything is done off the menu. when i went to HK i thought i would be getting carts galore but was sad to find that no one there does that anymore. after wandering around i finally asked the concierge at the penninsula where to get old school cart dimsum. (that place i think above city hall near the old star ferry terminal - tourist/old person city, but it fulfilled my tourist fantasy of what dimsum should be)

                                                      anyway, for cart dimsum i reall like chatham sq restaurant which is across the sq from DMGG. it's mostly chinese people and there's no way anyone would wander in there for dimsum w/o knowning about it because there are no dimsum indicators on the outside. the best time to go is at peak time - although there's often a wait, the turnover of food is highest so its freshest.

                                                      I've been to dimsum go go and was unimpressed with the food overall. however, i must say that there are advantages to ordering off the menu in the fried dimsum department. at cart places the fried stuff gets cold and soggy incredibly fast and i usually stay away from it b/c it's just kinda gross. at the menu places its always hot and crispy (at least it should be)

                                                      1. re: Renguin

                                                        Yeah, I went to Chatham Restaurant on Christmas Day 2007 and found their items of better quality than bigger eating halls like Jing Fong. We'll have to agree to disagree about Dim Sum Go Go, though. I really like their finer, thinner-wrapper items.

                                                        1. re: Pan

                                                          I'll concede to that point. I will still take Chatham sq rest. for the overall dim sum experience though. i went to grand harmony a little while back to spice things up thinking bigger would be better in that a large space would have higher turnover and therefore fresher food. wrong I was on that one.

                                                      2. re: kobetobiko

                                                        I don't know about Hong Kong, but I went to Vancouver last year or so and had dim sum at Kirin (both in its Vancouver proper and Richmond branches) and I don't see any resemblance between what they served and what Dim Sum Go Go serves. I'm not a DSGG hater but, like fourunder, I don't get the (in my opinion) excessive praise it sometimes receives. By the way, the dim sum at Kirin is outstanding. Regarding the consistency at Oriental Garden, I'll take that to be a truth, but in the 5 times I've gone I've never had anything bad, let alone really bad. From your comments, I'll just take myself to be fortunate.

                                                  2. re: banquo

                                                    I agree with on oriental garden. Went there a month ago and I think the dim sum there is fantastic too. I like dim sum go go as well, though.

                                                    My only time with Golden Unicorn had them serving up dried up food off the steam cart. It was gross. I might just be unlucky though.

                                                    1. re: banquo

                                                      I've found them very inconsistent. I've had solidly good and very pedestrian dim sum there, and gave up on them.

                                                  1. I've been to Dim Sum A Go Go. The food is great but they dont come around with the carts.
                                                    Golden Unicorn is okay. The variety isn't that great
                                                    Jin Fong on Elizabeth Street has been my favorite so far.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: nycg8tr

                                                      I have pretty much given up on Manhattan chinatown dim sum. It is just too inconsistent and often downright substandard. Not fresh, nothing surprising, everything is cold, sometimes the dining rooms are unacceptably dirty. What the heck is going on with this disappointing trend?

                                                      If I eat dim sum in Manhattan I usually go to Dim Sum GoGo at a non-busy time because at least then it is freshly prepared and hot, plus there is some stuff there that I genuinely like. Otherwise, I go to the vegetarian dim sum place off of Mott street which is yummy although obviously doesn't hit the spot when I want porky goodness like char siu bao.

                                                      Mostly I get up a little earlier and go to Sunset Park or to Flushing because I'd rather not eat the crappy dim sum that's being served up in Manhattan.

                                                      1. re: bolletje

                                                        I'd love to see your specific recommendations for Sunset Park and Flushing. If you'd be so kind, please post a link to threads in the Outer Boroughs board where you may have posted such recommendations.

                                                        1. re: Pan

                                                          I'm with Bolletje on this one. Flushing is to Manhattan Chinatown what Monterey Park is to Los Angeles Chinatown, though to a lesser extreme. Here's a recent thread discussing the top dim sum restaurants in Flushing.


                                                          1. re: Pan

                                                            Sure, Pan. In Manhattan I actually do like 103 Mott, which Michele cindy mentions below, but I'm often too late to eat at that place. Everything is gone by like 1pm.
                                                            In Flushing:

                                                            And in SP: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/429919

                                                          2. re: bolletje

                                                            Agree on Gogo. Went there this weekend. Everything was fresh. Didn't particularly like the crab dumplings. Jade, har gow, shu mai were excellent. Seems to be getting more gwailofied, though.

                                                            1. re: Boss77

                                                              Are you talking about the clientele (I don't care about that) or the cuisine, when you say "gwailofied"?

                                                          3. re: nycg8tr

                                                            We tried Jing Fong today. Also been to Ping's and Dim Sum A Go Go recently. Jing Fong had the largest variety. Very good. They have carts or you can order directly from the buffet.

                                                          4. I like the dim sum at 103 Mott St., Oriental Pearl. Not to be confused with Oriental Garden.

                                                            1. Maybe I should put off my visit to Dumpling House on Eldridge! Here I was all excited about NY Press calling their 5 dumplings for $1 an amazing deal, but these descriptions here make me wonder why no one mentioned Dumpling House. Are dumplings considered not dim sum? I have had both and see the physical differences, but are the two mutually exclusive? Are the dumplings at Dumpling House, in fact, not dim sum?

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: sing me a bar

                                                                The traditional dim sum experience does include dumplings, but it's far more than just dumplings! Think of dim sum as a kind of Chinese tapas brunch, with various types of meat, seafood, and/or veg dumplings (thicker-walled as well as very thin-walled); steamed stuffed buns; deep-fried dishes like spring rolls; steamed or stir-fried veggies; custards & other desserts. There are several hundred types of dim sum treats, although most of just variations of a few basic themes. Tea is served with all the dishes. Another characteristic feature traditionally is that diners select most of the dishes they want from carts that the servers roam the dining hall with (although some restaurants serve dim sum from a menu rather than off roaming carts).

                                                                So by all means go to Dumpling House if you just want dumplings or one of the other dishes they have there. (Btw, you might also want to consider Prosperity, which is further down Eldridge, if you just want dumplings http://www.chowhound.com/topics/488251). But don't go to Dumpling House if you're looking for the full-on dim sum experience.

                                                              2. I went to 103 Mott today after not going in a few months, and it is still good. They have a huge selection of Dim Sum, the place is always crowded, and the food is always very fresh. + The service is very friendly. My one complaint, no hot chili oil...

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: michele cindy

                                                                  103 Mott street is closed. One of the owners said that the landlord wanted to double the rent! Very sad. Been going there for years (various names as the partners changed) my wife for decades.

                                                                2. I had a fantastic Wednesday dim sum brunch at 6 Chatham Square today.
                                                                  It was my first visit there (I usually go to Golden Unicorn or 88 Palace in Manhattan, or to Flushing).
                                                                  I arrived at about 11:45 and immediately was seated (perhaps 90% of the tables were already occupied). They offer simultaneous cart service and dim sum menu service; I was in a bit of a hurry so opted just for 3 dishes from the cart. All were delicious: bacon-wrapped pork & shrimp, baked honey-glazed roast pork buns, and flaky baked roast pork triangles.
                                                                  Eating alone, I was full after just those 3. The only minor complaint was that the deep-fried bacon dish was lukewarm, but I had expected that since I arrived relatively late for dim sum and got the dish from the cart rather than ordered a fresh one from the kitchen.
                                                                  The jasmine tea was uncommonly good - best I've had in a long time in a restaurant (I usually range from ambivalence to hate for the house tea served with dim sum).
                                                                  The restaurant, which is much cozier than the huge palaces such as Jing Fong, is also very clean (even the bathroom -- shockingly -- which is fitted out in marble, or faux-marble). Service was efficient but also very polite. Total price with tax for 3 dishes $9.

                                                                  Two thumbs up.

                                                                  1. I took some friends to Red Egg on Sunday, for brunch. The food was very mediocre. The service was rude and scattered. (I asked for hot chilis in oil, a ubiquitous condiment in Chinatown) and was told there was no more. But in asking another waiter, I was immediately brought out a large plate of it. We were served a wrong dish, and they also forgot 3 other dishes. the dumplings were decent, but lacking in flavor. Overall, I'd say skip this place. Do not get the spare ribs in olives-- they were all bone. the garlic spare ribs were gristly, and only one or 2 had any meat on them. We had one waiter, a slightly older gentleman, who was very kind. It was extremely loud. the scallion pancakes were cold, and tasted of oil that had friend LOTS of other things. I will continue my DimSum Travels in CHinatown and report later. this was a complete disappointment.

                                                                    1. Thanks to this site, I've been to Chinatown Brasserie and Dim Sum GoGo in the past two weeks. I'm almost saddened to say, C.B had it all over DSGG - the flavors were much more complex, the ingredients fresher. It was almost twice as expensive, but so delicious it may have spoiled me for traditional Chinatown dim sum. It was also fun to sit outside and sip a rhubarb bellini while waiting for our various dumpling selections. Everything we ordered was delicious - not a disappointment in the bunch. The sticky rice in lotus or banana leaf might have had my least favorite flavor overall, but it was still very high quality.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. Because most of these comments were from Jan 2008, and Im visiting NY now, I am reviviing this thread (instead of starting a new one). Because restaurants come and go, I thought Id check in to see what everyones thoughts were now.

                                                                        My kind of dim sum is the non-fancy type. I like basic - ha gow, siu mai, cheung fun, egg rolls, taro root puff, fried daikon, custard tart. I like to pay starting at $2/plate, although I dont know what the prices are here. For those familiar w/SF, I don't go Koi Palace, Ton Kiang, or Yang Sing. :-) We speak Cantonese, not that grossed out by unclean but will only have 1 opportunity to have NYC dim sum. Judging by the comments above, I am leaning towards one but want to hear more recent comments.

                                                                        Also subway station info will help too! We are coming from W 34th/6th.

                                                                        I think Im going on Tuesday. Sorry - apostrophe key is broken (most of the time!) on hotel computer. Thank you!

                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                        1. re: boltnut55

                                                                          Don't think there's been a lot of changes since the original thread started. Red Egg opened up on Centre St. and has become the darling of the board. It's dim sum off the menu and probably is as good as anything in Manhattan. But it's certainly no better than Bay Area favorites like Zen Peninsula, Asian Pearl, the Kitchen etc.

                                                                          1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                            I don't really love Red Egg, tbh. The happy hour is a good deal and I have fun getting drunk and eating dumplings but I don't think I would go there otherwise.

                                                                          2. re: boltnut55

                                                                            FWIW, most of the good plates at Red Egg are $3.75 and up (check their site). If you are familiar with SF dim sum, you might be disappointed with what you get here. Red Egg is pretty good for Manhattan Chinatown dim sum without paying a fortune.

                                                                            But Chinatown Brasserie is better (I have been to both in the last month) but way more expensive and the dim sum are like tiny little jewels. Delicious but a bit precious. It is also more inventive. The standards are well executed but that's not really the reason I go there.

                                                                            Honestly, I predict you will think that CA dim sum is better unless you go to Flushing. And I'm a former Californian!

                                                                            For subway info, turn to Google Maps, you can get point to point directions that include what trains to take. For menu info, go to menupages.com, BTW.

                                                                            1. re: kathryn

                                                                              Another option for public transit directions is hopstop.com.

                                                                              1. re: racer x

                                                                                Went to Dim Sum a Go Go this weekend and it was fine. Not as much variety in options as Ping's (no bbq pork chong feng or pineapple buns) but I have given up on Ping's. It was the first time my friend had eaten at GoGo, and they were very happy with the quality of the food. We had beef and shrimp chong feng, bbq pork buns, turnip pancake and the jade vegetable dumplings. I'd go back again, esp. since I didn't have to wait (it was 2pm.) Next time, we'll try Red Egg for a change.

                                                                            2. re: boltnut55

                                                                              Sounds like you may be looking for more traditional interpretation of Dim Sum so you may not enjoy the more "modern" versions of dimsum like Chinatown Brasserie or Dim Sum Go Go. I think you maybe better off going to Jing Fong in Chinatown.

                                                                              From W34th/6th to Chinatown you can take the yellow lines (N,R,W,Q) from Herald Square/34th street (near Macy's) towards "downtown" or "Brooklyn" to Canal Street. When you exit that station, you can walk east on Canal Street to get to the heart of Chinatown (intersection of Mott Street/Elizabeth Street and Canal Street). Jing Fong is located at 18 Elizabeth street, south of Canal Street.

                                                                              1. re: boltnut55

                                                                                if you're at w 34th st and 6th ave, id just go to flushing as its much better and the LIRR at penn station which is on 7th ave and 32nd...it takes 15 mins to get to flushing

                                                                                i'd go to either jade asian or perfect team corp:
                                                                                - here's my post on perfect team: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/496839

                                                                                1. re: Lau

                                                                                  I agree. Either Flushing or take the N from 34th and 6th to 18th Av. and go to World Tong in Bensonhurst. (Longer trip, though.)

                                                                                  There is no Hong Kong-style dim sum palace in Manhattan that's nearly as good as the Hong Kong Flower Garden in Millbrae. It's possible that Chinatown Brasserie is better, depending on what you're looking for, but as bearmi says, that's not what boltnut55 is looking for, so apples and oranges.

                                                                                2. re: boltnut55

                                                                                  Thank you everyone! So this is what happened... I had decided to go to Oriental Garden, but when I got there, there was a sign that read "cash or American Express only." We wanted to charge it because we were running low on cash but didn't have an A/E card, so we went next door to Jing Fong. It was about 1:00 p.m. on Thursday. The great thing was that there was a table right away. It's a cart place, but the problem was that there were only 3-4 carts coming around the entire time, and there wasn't the variety we were hoping for. We ended up getting six plates for three of us: shrimp cheung fun, spareribs, steamed pork buns, siu mai, egg rolls, and shrimp dumplings. Bill without tips came to $15.90. In general, the food was good, but I was just disappointed in the lack of variety and activity. We were full enough because... on our way walking down Canal Street, we stopped by a bakery for a fried dumpling (hom sui gok) and a custard and then a pint of cheung fun with fish balls.

                                                                                  We had a great time in NY, so I'm sure we'll be back... DH said we'll try the non dim sum places next time. :-) We came home this afternoon, and he called a dim sum place near us to see if they were still open because he just wasn't quite fulfilled, so we had dim sum today as well. Again, not because of the quality, but mostly because he wanted more... we ended up ordering 9 plates this time ($24 before tips).

                                                                                  Thanks for the info, including the subway info!

                                                                                  1. re: boltnut55

                                                                                    jing fong can actually satisfy a bay area visitor! man, that is nuts! for the good school (old school stuff) I figure one of the chatham square restaurants would do well, correct?


                                                                                3. I was just wondering how you would rank Golden Bridge for dim sum compared to any of the other dim sum places like Red Egg.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                    i used to really like Golden Bridge, but my last visit (two years ago) was so awful that i doubt i'll ever return...

                                                                                    but perhaps others can give a more recent report...

                                                                                    1. re: Simon

                                                                                      When it first opened, Golden Bridge was actually quite decent -- one of my favorite places in Manhattan's C-town because they had offerings that other dim sum places didn't have and the food was pretty fresh. So I was perplexed by the terrible reports I've read on the place. After today's lunch, totally understand why people think it's disgusting. Should have realized that no wait around noon on a Sunday is bad news, but I was with some other people and I think they wanted to eat at that moment.

                                                                                      A dim sum buffet was a first for me. No carts. All the dim sum is lined up in a row and you have to wait in line with your card to pick what you want. Everything was cold (with the exception of the tripe and turnip stew). Nothing was tasty. Frankly, it was gross.

                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                        Thanks for clearing everything up. I too was impressed by Golden Bridge when it opened three years ago, but when the negative reports started coming out I started to question my own powers of observation. Too many other places to try in Chinatown so I never followed up, so I appreciate the first hand explanation.

                                                                                    2. re: bmorecupcake

                                                                                      Dimsum a go go > ping's > Golden Bridge. Have yet to go to Red Egg, but it probably = or => than GoGo. Went to Golden Bridge a few months ago. Terrible.

                                                                                    3. In 70 posts, no mention of Mandarin Court on Mott St?
                                                                                      That's my favorite.

                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: il Trifulau

                                                                                        Why is it your favorite? I ate there years ago and wasn't impressed, but it could have changed, so please tell me.

                                                                                        1. re: Pan

                                                                                          Well, my wife and I insist on carts...it's more fun that way.
                                                                                          The food is plenty tasty. I have no idea what authentic is when it comes to Asian food of any kind, so I give no points on or off there, but a eat like no tomorrow and it never costs me more than $25 for the two of us.
                                                                                          What more do I want?

                                                                                          1. re: il Trifulau

                                                                                            How is that different from any of the big eating halls, though (Jing Fong, Golden Unicorn, Harmony Palace)?

                                                                                            1. re: Pan

                                                                                              It may not be. I don't know. I feel like experimenting in Chinatown is only asking for trouble and we've only ever had good experiences in Mandarin Court.
                                                                                              Reading through this thread, though, I see I should probably branch out.

                                                                                              1. re: il Trifulau

                                                                                                fyi manhattan dim sum is generally not very good since you've never tried anything else

                                                                                                i'd recommend just hopping on the LIRR one day and going to flushing as you can get both carts and substantially better quality there and i think the risk associated with "experimenting" there is low...happy to give recs if you decide to go

                                                                                          2. re: Pan

                                                                                            I'm with you--I certainly didn't think it was worth a return trip. Of course I'm highly skeptical of restaurants on Mott St. since I remember when most of the restaurants there were tourist oriented and consequently in my mind lumped Mandarin Court in that group.

                                                                                            1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                              Sweet 'n Tart was on Mott St. and was a good restaurant. And of course, there are other good places on Mott north of Canal, but I suppose you weren't thinking in that direction. Anyway, I have no prejudice against Mott St.

                                                                                              1. re: Pan

                                                                                                Well I was thinking more 1980s before the earliest of the authentic places opened up on Mott St. (possibly at the Sweet 'n Tart location).

                                                                                              2. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                if forced to eat on mott st for dim sum, Ping's is still a choice; and I used to eat at Tai Hung Lou when it was open too. Nothing crazy, not horrible either.

                                                                                                1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                                  I think the place I'm thinking of might have been called 20 Mott St., but until then I associated Mott St. (below Canal) as largely Americanized.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                    20 Mott became Sweet n' Tart and has since closed

                                                                                          3. this banter is hilarious. i've been to 90% of the places mentioned multiple times (i can't get myself to try chinatown brasserie...it just seems too expensive for dim sum). it is all really terrible. honestly, you're comparing the differences between white castle to burger king to mcdonald's. yes, one might taste better than another on one particular day, but they all are low quality and taste good only in dire or inebriated situations. the closest decent dim sum is flushing and beyond that, probably the chinese infested suburbs of toronto.

                                                                                            25 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: kim e

                                                                                              Alright, so what makes a Flushing dim sum restaurant better than say, Mandarin Court?
                                                                                              Please name names and I'll go there this weekend.

                                                                                              1. re: il Trifulau

                                                                                                Go to the Outer Boroughs board. There are lots of post.

                                                                                                1. re: il Trifulau

                                                                                                  the same thing that makes one restaurant better than another, the quality of the food. Manhattan dim sum tends to be low quality, its generally fairly greasy, alot of times not fresh, not made very well, lower quality ingredients. If you have good dim sum in canada, LA, HK etc you'd notice a very large difference. Also its all very old dim sum, there are alot of newer dishes you find at the good dim sum places that you unfortunately can't get here. Another distinction is that carts are dying, the good places generally serve off the menu as its much fresher (although again you're not going to find that in NYC including flushing b/c the good places in flushing are still carts).

                                                                                                  There are many posts, but here's my post on Perfect Team which I like:

                                                                                                  I'd also recommend Jade Asian (has a bigger selection than Perfect Team and is pretty good quality as well


                                                                                                  Take the LIRR, its much faster and I recommend getting there between 11-12. Dim sum is really a morning thing and when you go later at like 1 or something the dim sum tends to have sat around for a while. If you go at 11-12 peak time you'll get much fresher dim sum.

                                                                                                  1. re: il Trifulau

                                                                                                    are you serious? you just mentioned above that you have no idea if it is authentic! i've never been there, but there is no freaking way a good dim sum restaurant could possibly be named MANDARIN court.

                                                                                                    1. re: kim e

                                                                                                      Actually it's not as unthinkable as you might believe for a restaurant called Mandarin Court to serve good dim sum (not to say that Mandarin Court does). There are a number of authentically good Chinese restaurants with extremely mismatched names. Best example I can think of right away is Hong Kong Palace in the D.C. area which is a topnotch Sichuan style restaurant. What happens is somebody buys an existing restaurant, keeps the American name to retain the gwei lo clientele, then creates whatever it wants for its Chinese clientele.

                                                                                                      1. re: kim e

                                                                                                        Yes. I'm serious.
                                                                                                        Know why? 'Cause I don't care.
                                                                                                        All my life, my appreciation for authenticity where food and culture is concerned has been limited to Mediterranean countries; mostly Italy and Spain.
                                                                                                        There's nothing wrong with that.
                                                                                                        I think, and this is just my opinion, that most Asian food is best consumed drunk or out of cardboard containers, on my couch, while wearing sweatpants.

                                                                                                        That said, I'm willing to travel to finally taste the magical flavors or Flushing dim sum as soon as I know where to go.

                                                                                                        Thank you all for your sincere help.

                                                                                                        1. re: il Trifulau


                                                                                                          Wow, points for honesty but you don't know what you are missing.

                                                                                                          1. re: il Trifulau

                                                                                                            hopefully we can help change your view on that

                                                                                                            1. re: Lau

                                                                                                              Lol...I'm willing to learn!
                                                                                                              Thanks for the help and encouragement.

                                                                                                      2. re: kim e

                                                                                                        You pretty much hit the nail on the head both as to Chinatown and Chinatown Brasserie, as on an absolute scale dim sum in Manhattan Chinatown is not particularly good and Chinatown Brasserie is not worth the premium. On the other hand, there are a lot of Chinese diners out there who believe that relatively bad Chinese food is preferable to any kind of non-Chinese food, viz. European tours put together by Chinatown travel agencies that feature exclusively Chinese meals. On that level, comparing Burger King to McDonald's or Jing Fong to Golden Unicorn does have relevance.

                                                                                                        1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                          Oh but CB is worth a premium. Freshly made dim sum from a master chef. Elegant surroundings, clean and spotless bathrooms, refreshing cocktails and superb service.

                                                                                                          1. re: scoopG

                                                                                                            Given the lack of alternatives, I see your point. For somebody coming from LA, SF, Vancouver or Toronto, it's probably not worth it.

                                                                                                            1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                              All depends which specific restaurant you are talking about - Lai Wah Heen's excellent dim sum in Toronto is not inexpensive. The great Chinese food out west is in the SGA, the Bay area and Vancouver suburbs where having a car is a must.

                                                                                                              1. re: scoopG

                                                                                                                "Vancouver suburbs where having a car is a must."
                                                                                                                Totally off topic but the train now goes to Richmond.

                                                                                                              2. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                Ha... I totally agree you and ScoopG. That's why I like going to CB. For those of us who are from the West Coast but stuck in NY because of work or other reasons, it's an option we have locally without having to fly out of town.

                                                                                                                1. re: bearmi

                                                                                                                  alright thats it ive got to try this place...im going to try it in the next few weeks

                                                                                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                    Yeah.. check it out. Btw, I have been going to "Red Egg" often lately. I guess for the price, you do get a little more food there and the variety is pretty good. However, I am going back to CB for my b-day celebration next month!

                                                                                                                    1. re: bearmi

                                                                                                                      What's CB? Chinatown Brasserie?

                                                                                                                      Someone please tell me one place to go to in Flushing this Sunday.


                                                                                                                      1. re: il Trifulau

                                                                                                                        try either perfect team or jade asian (I think those are the best in flushing now)

                                                                                                                        Perfect Team has the most consistent quality across their dim sum, but their selection is more limited (they have everything you normally get though)

                                                                                                                        here's my post on Perfect Team:

                                                                                                                        Jade Asian has good quality and has a pretty solid selection (a decent amt of stuff you can't get in manhattan)

                                                                                                                          1. re: kathryn

                                                                                                                            Thanks, your review sparked a great thread in Outer Boroughs.
                                                                                                                            Do you happen to know if Perfect Team serves dim sum at dinner time during the week?

                                                                                                                            1. re: il Trifulau

                                                                                                                              no one serves dim sum for dinner except dim sum go go and red egg in the city

                                                                                                                              dim sum is a morning thing (its basically a cantonese brunch), i highly suggest getting to dim sum between 11-12 b/c if you get there later you'll start to get less fresh dim sum and the dim sum selection will be worse b/c they start to run out of stuff....you want to be there when the crowds are there b/c the turnover is higher and you'll get the freshest stuff as well as the best selection

                                                                                                                              1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                Gotcha. Thanks again.
                                                                                                                                I guess dim sum is like cappuccino in that way.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                  Chinatown Brasserie also serves many of their dim sum items for dinner, or even late night.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pan

                                                                                                                                    All of their dim sum items are available all of the time - they have only one menu.

                                                                                                          2. Check out Ocean Jewels
                                                                                                            (across from Flushing Mall)
                                                                                                            13330 39th Ave
                                                                                                            Flushing, NY 11354
                                                                                                            (718) 359-8600
                                                                                                            7 Train to Main Street , Right on 39th

                                                                                                            Clean, good dimsum selection, moderate prices. They are just stingy with the chili oil and hot mustard.

                                                                                                            Same owner as Adaro (9W 56th, Pan Asian) Heard it closed down.

                                                                                                            1. There is a big difference between best dimsum and best yumcha experience.

                                                                                                              Yumcha, or drinking tea, includes the whole thing of being in a crowded Chinese restaurant with hot Chinese tea (usually bo lei or sau mei or jasmine) and a huge selection of dim sum varieties and choices. Sometimes you wait for them to wheel it around to you, sometimes the joy is going out and getting the stuff and not getting cut in line by the old ladies. From my experience, yumcha in Chinatown is about the same everywhere, though I almost always end up at Ping's on Mott St because my friend's family really likes it there.

                                                                                                              As for best dim sum, Chinatown Brasserie hands down. It is expensive. As I wrote on my blog, it is probably comparable price-wise to having dim sum in Hong Kong at the Four Seasons Hotel. The selection also has nowhere near the variety of a real Chinese restaurant during prime Sat/Sun yumcha hours. However, the stuff that does come out is high quality. Less grease, less filler, better ingredients, better attention to detail.

                                                                                                              It's like asking which is the better burger, the $5 one from Shake Shack, or the Black Label from Minetta that costs 5 times as much. I also find "authenticity" to be irrelevant for dim sum. There's no real Americanized version like a "general tso's chicken" or "beef with broccoli". If authenticity is part of your criteria, you're probably looking for the best yumcha experience.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: fooder

                                                                                                                I know you said the prices were comparable, but how is the quality of dim sum at Chinatown Brasserie compared to the Four Seasons in Hong Kong? I've had dim sum at many places, but the best dim sum has been from the Four Seasons. Not the traditional dim sum experience, but preparation and quality of ingredients far surpassed everything else I've had. Terribly pricey and not something that I think I would engage on a regular basis, but worth it if you're in the mood to splurge.

                                                                                                                1. re: fooder

                                                                                                                  JOE NG news:

                                                                                                                  he's partnering in a new tribeca restaurant which will offer nouveau dimsum and, chinatown brasserie will move to the basement, and a new american restaurant will take over the upstairs. harsh.

                                                                                                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                                                    I wish he would make chicken feet. The chicken feet were very good at World Tong (actually, still are), but those nouveau folks in Tribeca won't want them.

                                                                                                                2. Nobody mentioned my all time favorite, HSF (Hee Seung Fung)? It's closed now, alas, but it had the best har gow and char siu bao (steamed) ever. Plus crab claws with minced shrimp mounded around the claw and deep-fried, paper shrimp (more shrimp in a paperthin pancake with feathery ends), great char siu sho (tiny pastry pies filled with roast pork)...

                                                                                                                  It closed last year, unexpectedly, and I have been desolate ever since.

                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Rennie

                                                                                                                    I used to go to their midtown branch in the late 80s, and I remember those crab claws with great fondness.

                                                                                                                    1. re: small h

                                                                                                                      Oh, gosh, they were so good! I was so sad when that midtown branch closed...and now the Chinatown one is gone too. And the paper shrimp, remember those? Little packets of chopped shrimp and water chestnuts in a gossamer package of light rice wrapper: like putting a marble in a handkerchief and twisting it, so that the fabric rayed out. And then the whole thing was deep-fried...

                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Rennie

                                                                                                                        What makes Chinese food interesting is how it evolves. If a non-Chinese restaurant has been around for 20, 30 or 40 years that could be a good thing if they consistently serve the same food at a high quality. If a Chinese restaurant has been around for that period of time I don't want to go there because the cuisine continues to evolve and re-invent itself, and it's more likely that a newcomer will take that next step. Indeed, I think that the relative lack of major new restaurants in Manhattan Chinatown has kept the food mired in the past.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                          Hmm, interesting observation. I guess my take on it would be that if a Chinese restaurant has been around for 20-40 years, it's likely that they are on their 10th or 15th chef, and the original chef probably moved on and worked at 5 new restaurants in that time. So that would be why I wouldn't want to eat at a 40 year old Chinese restaurant. Different paths to the same result :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                            did you ever eat at that fusion-y place on bowery, a block north of canal on the west side? the name escapes me but something like Flower Cafe or something; I never thought that place took off, but the chef was trying to do something different.

                                                                                                                            Chandavkl, I know you know your chinese food, so I think what's also interesting is that "CHINESE" refers to so many things, so many people, regions, cuisines, time periods, eras, styles, etc. Eventually, places have to refresh themselves, even if its purely logistical like remodeling. What's funny is, for instance, what would an example of a non-chinese place that's been open for that long been? say, any big famous italian or french restaurant, I dunno: is that sort of food so codified that it doesn't feel the need to change? or if its non-euro food like say, the oldest senegalese joint in town: is that food also so codified that it doesn't need to change? you have a wide array of choices when it comes to south asian as well in terms of restaurant style, cuisine, range, region. when I think of korean as well, the "old school" places of manhattan's k-town are venerated as such (woo chon on 36th) with no evolution on the menu, but you still have different places as well (KFC, noodle emphasis, raw fish emphasis).

                                                                                                                            my point? not sure myself! but . . . . let's discuss!

                                                                                                                            1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                                                              A good example of longstanding restaurants would be Italian restaurants, steakhouses, etc., where you keep going back to get the same dishes you always liked. I don't think it's my imagination, but I think Chinese food keeps getting better. Certainly the Chinese places that I considered good 20 years ago and have been in continuous operation since then don't seem particularly good in today's environment (e.g., Golden Unicorn ). There can be exceptions--at 12 years of operation, Koi Palace in the SF Bay area is still at the top of the heap. But supposedly they send their people back to Hong Kong on a regular basis to replicate emerging trends there. I don't think too many U.S. restaurants would carry things that far.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                                i can see something like that; the question is, is steakhouse cuisine so perfect that it doesn't need to evolve, e.g. a prime rib grilled just right, etc. and so truly is codified, the idea of a "big steak dinner" versus the changes and trends of many other ethnic cuisines that entered the US a certain way, decades ago, and as time has passed, modernized/changed/evolved, either at their originating countries (e.g. HK emerging trends) and replicated them here. and then it's all so circular anyway; HK trends might come from the west, which then go back east, and are then replicated again in the west. you maybe be able to trace banh mi like that, for instance.

                                                                                                                                the other way with it, let's take italian for an example, that I hear about plenty of chefs who talk about going back to sicily, back to rome once a month or once a year, to see what's new, what's happening; I mean this was the basis of Mario Batali's early shows, the one where he went with his oafish cousin all around Italy and learning about both traditional stuff, and trendy stuff. certainly he must incorporate that when he tweaks his restaurants stateside and that then goes back to the same circularity: food trends in italy are probably influenced by many other countries and cuisines anyway so just because you go to a particular geographic location, doesn't mean the food there is so tied to those particular lat/long coordinates.

                                                                                                                    2. A long long time ago I used to go to a place called Lees, on the 2nd floor, at the corner of Mott & Pell. Last time I was there was circa 1969.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: raybeckerman

                                                                                                                        I don;t recall Lee's. In 1969 I only remember '69 Bayard, 17 Mott, Ping's , Wo Kee, Nam Wah ( only dim sum place I knew),
                                                                                                                        Shavey Lee's, possibly 4-5-6, Lin's Garden.