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Feb 18, 2008 10:04 AM

high class great food Chinese - Does it exist?

I came across Vong , Joe's Shangai, Shun lee palace east and Asiate as candidates for classy chinese/asian food, which would you recommend (preffered location mid town but not a must)...

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  1. I would not consider Joe's Shanghai, best known for their soup dumplings (aka steamed buns), high class.

    It's been ages since we ate at Shun Lee, dating back to a time when a fancy-schmancy Chinese restaurant was a novelty. The food was excellent. In more recent times, I have heard mixed reports about the food's quality.

    I've not been to Asiate, but everyone who has been agrees that the view overlooking Central Park is sensational. However, when it comes to the food, there are some who love it while others not so much

    I have not been to Vong either, but you might want to take a look at this thread that currently on this board:

    12 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Midtown Joe's Shanghai is in the class of Shun Lee; the food is not particularly great. If you are willing to go to Soho, Chinatown Brasserie has a pretty good food reputation and is certainly upscale (although I've never been).

      Chinatown Brasserie
      380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

      1. re: bobjbkln

        I've only been to the Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown, and it is anything but high class.

        1. re: RGR

          The truth? Shocking as it may seem, I don't really think Manhattan has a "high class/classy Asian or Chinese" restaurant, as you put it.
          However, having said that, I happen to love Shun Lee West where they don't load plates with a lot of gloppy sauces. It's more upscale so expect to lighten your wallet.
          Asiate is spectacular -- but only for the smashing view IMHO.

        2. re: bobjbkln

          Chin Chin would be my choice - over Shun Lee West (just got back from lunch) and Chinatown Brasserie (which I liked).

          1. re: MMRuth

            Two other places to look into - Mr. K's, and Tse Yang (sp? - the best Peking Duck I've had is there, but oh so pricey, and wasn't impressed with the rest of the food).

            1. re: MMRuth

              I just perused Chin Chin and really liked the menu very much.
              I shall add it to my restaurants to try. :-)

              1. re: idia

                If you go, and you like squid, do try the spicy squid appetizer - it's wonderful.

          2. re: bobjbkln

            Chinatown Brasserie has the best dim sum I've had in the U.S. and great cocktails, but it's expensive and you may experience some B.S. with the reservations staff and so forth. The time I went for dinner there, loud, repetitive dance music wafted out of the basement into the main dining room. But if you want high-class food and drinks that are expensive but great, I do recommend the place.

            1. re: Pan

              Hi Pan,
              Is there any special or unusual cocktails you would recommend? How are the portions? I'm going there soon and I'll report back.

              1. re: michele cindy

                I enjoyed the Lychee "martini", and the Blood Orange one sounded tempting as well. Cimui posted a link to my review in the post just below this one, which may help w/ portion size - though we only ate dim sum.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Agreed. The lychee martini is great. I also had a mai tai that I liked. On a previous trip, I believe I had some kind of drink with mango that was also terrific. Michele, I think you should just get any cocktail that sounds interesting. By the portions, do you mean food? I've only ever gotten dim sum items, and the portions are small, typical of dim sum plates. The drink sizes are also typical, I think.

                  1. re: Pan

                    Thanks, we went yesterday. Enjoyable. I posted under MMRUTH'S original

        3. Of course it exists. Cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai are crawling with beautiful, classy, and astonishingly delicious Chinese restaurants. NYC happens to be a little behind in its game on this front for reasons that Brian S. has articulated very well:

          The closest NYC has to "high class", good Chinese is Chinatown Brasserie. MMRuth wrote an excellent review of it recently, which she is too modest to post:

          As I'm sure you know, avoid the gringoized items like chow fun, lo mien, and anything involving cream cheese. Go for the crystal dumplings, which they do quite well; steamed, whole fish; hor fun; and the Peking Duck. I've heard other traditional dim sum items are well prepared, as well. Chowhounds argue about how Chinatown Brasserie isn't really all that and that it's overpriced. It's true that there are places in Flushing, especially, where you can find better crystal dumplings and better, fresher whole steamed fish, and hor fun, Peking Duck, etc.. for much less money -- but if you want nice digs, Chinatown Brasserie is your best bet.

          Vongs and Shun Lee are both terrible by Chinese standards, and have been for as long as I've been around, though to Shun Lee's credit, it does serve up dishes that few other restaurants attempt. Joe's Shanghai has decent steamed little soup dumplings, though as other posters have noted, it's not particularly classy decor-wise.

          Asiate is fusion and not particularly well executed fusion at that, IMO, though it is a beautiful space. If you don't mind fusion, look into Maze at the London hotel. They do it better.

          9 Replies
          1. re: cimui

            Just to point out again, Joe's Shanghai has 4 places. The two in Manhattan's Chinatown and the one in Flushing are far from upscale, BUT the midtown one certainly matches the Shun Lee restaurants in class (and price).

            1. re: bobjbkln

              Yes, sorry, bobjbkln. I didn't catch your earlier post. Haven't been to the midtown outpost (though I will say, from walking by, that it doesn't look as though it'd be a schmancy place from the facade).

            2. re: cimui

              Shun lee West has 2 menus. Tourist and chinese. You must ask for the chinese. next time try the chinese menu. It is better. Also I like the Cafe, next door. Dim sum is good plus regular menu.

              1. re: ron

                Ron, I've seen the Chinese menu. Alas, even that is bad.

                1. re: cimui

                  I want to know what the names of the places in Flushing that have better dim sum than Chinatown Brasserie are.

                  1. re: Pan

                    I'm glad you asked. :) Just went with my parents a few weekends ago to Ocean Jewel, which BrianS also references, below. Dim sum was delicately made across the board (more delicately made than at CB, I think... thinner & more tender dumpling skins), ingredients were noticeably fresher, and there was a much better selection of dim sum options than at Chinatown Brasserie. CB also doesn't have taro or daikon radish cakes--which I really love.

                    1. re: cimui

                      OK, I definitely have to hit this place. Thanks!

                      1. re: Pan

                        agree on ocean jewel, it is much better than ctown brasserie...i also like gala manor which i think is on par

                        supposedly one of my friends claims perfect team corporation (i love that name, its guang dong jiu jia in chinese) is better than either of them, but i have yet to try it

                2. I agree with most comments about high-end Chinese food in NYC. Chinatown Brasserie is probably your best bet, and if fusion works for you, you can surely go to Buddakan

                  1. This is always a big question. I think your best bets are Peking Duck House ( in Chinatown (my parents had a wedding banquet there, and I had my graduation dinner there), and Wu Liang Ye on 48th between 5th and 6th (great sichuan cuisine). Neither of them are super fancy, but they are nicer than your typical NYC chinese dining establishments.
                    If you're interested, check out my blog, which tries to bring readers around and inside chinatown:

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: izzytang

                      Shun Lee, Mr. Chow on 57th Street, Philippe (in the E 60s) are all high end.

                      1. re: taboo

                        Unfortunately all three are high end with terrible food!

                        1. re: kobetobiko

                          Mr. Chow is actually quite authentic in many of their dishes, very comparable and almost identical to those i've had in Taiwan and China. I was expecting watered down chinese food, but no, i was very surprised. other dishes however, were sweeter and heavier than they should be, i.e. "orange-chicken/sweet-and-sour" type of dishes---but not horrible.

                      2. re: izzytang

                        Another vote for Wu Liang Ye (multiple locations).

                      3. Ocean Jewels.

                        It is certainly elegant. There are more headwaiters floating around wearing dark suits and tie than most places have waiters. Sometimes the standard of elegance is unusual. There is no coat check. You put your coat on the back of your seat. But if a headwaiter spies someone with a particularly expensive coat, he rushes over with an embroidered big satin slipcover that he slips over the coat.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Brian S

                          Also Jade Asian in Flushing, too. But nothing like either of these in Manhattan.

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            And Corner 28

                            I ate there last night Some posters have said that the NY Chinese community is not as rich as those in California. But at the table next to mine, a group of precocious eight year olds were discussing, in English, their upcoming cruise around the Hawaiian Islands. (They wondered whether the boat would have authentic Chinese food available, or only generic stuff dumbed down for tourists.Good question, guys!)

                            1. re: Brian S

                              Looking at the prices on the dinner menu at Jade Asian I'd have to say there are a lot of rich Chinese, at least in Flushing. However, the demographics of Manhattan Chinatown are a lot different and I suspect that is one reason why there isn't something like Ocean Jewels or Jade Asian in Manhattan.

                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                yeah flushing is the same sort of situation like LA where all the chinese people started to move out of chinatown to SGV once they made money

                                i think ocean jewel is outstanding btw

                                1. re: Chandavkl

                                  I tried Jade Asian last night and it was very very good. I hope to post about it on the OB board after eating there again. But the short version is: if you want high class great food Chinese in an elegant setting, Jade Asian is a great place to go.

                                  Yes, all the patrons appeared well to do, and I was the only one speaking Chinese! The prices are slightly lower than Ocean Jewels, though a few items are much higher. But there are some good $12 entrees, which you won't find at Ocean Jewels. Though the lobster salad is $140. But it's probably a huge thing like this. (Photo from Triumphal Palace in Los Angeles area)