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Jun 20, 2008 06:08 AM

6 or 9 chatham square

Looking for a good dim sum snacking today, I did a search. Though I was not scholarly, it appeared substantial proportion warned readers against 6 and same proportion against 9.
Hound advice - given I don't care if it's a hole in wall as long as can deal with a (very polite) non-Chinese person; I want carts (don't read any Chinese so menus a problem), good food.

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  1. both have carts, btw non-cart places will have their menus in english 99% of the time, but there is barely any in NY anyhow except dim sum go go which is probably the most english friendly restaurant in ctown (i would suggest trying it, its nicer and easier for non-chinese, plus the dim sum is arguably the best in the city)

    6 chatham - this place is a new banquet style restaurant, the dim sum is suggest coming here

    9 chatham - this place is old school, the dim sum is really cheap and the portion sizes are very large...that said i think some of the stuff is hit or miss and i dont think any of it is amazing, but they do have some of the better cha siu bao (pork buns) in the city

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lau

      And 9 Chatham served the best Gai mei bao! (IMO)

    2. i'm pretty sure i know which is which - i'm not sure of addresses just the places themselves - but 6 is better (the nicer one, closer to citibank). they just have better quality food. i think there's a point with the hole in the wall places where the quality does go down the dumpier the place gets, and 9 is on the downard slope. Authentic doesn't always mean good, i think the stuff at 9 is close to what you'd get in a whole in the wall in china or HK, where i also wouldn't eat.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Renguin

        well to be fair 6 chatham (had a different name) used to be very good back in the day (it was a dump then as well), but a series of mgmt changes have led to it not being as good as it used to be

        1. re: Lau

          I actually went there on a weekday for the first time ever last week (an extremely long lunch from work) and i actually thought the food was a little better due to lack of carts. i usually never eat the fried stuff b/c if its not out of the frier it's cold and soggy. but since everything was done to order the fried stuff and the steamed stuff was all better than on cart days.

          1. re: Renguin

            well i actually dislike carts...they are a relic of the past and dying in asia anyhow (go to hk etc and you'll see that)...the menu ordering results in fresher food and less of a pain in the ass trying to get the right carts (although that is part of the nostalgia of carts)

      2. 9 Chatham Sq has a closed by order of the department of health notice posted on the windows, as of June 26.

        2 Replies
        1. re: racer x

          They were opened when I went there 3 weeks later

          1. re: wench31

            they're def open...walked by it today

        2. Went to 6 CS yesterday. Had soup dumplings off one cart and har gow and the long rice flour noodle filled with shrimp ( don't know what it's called). The soup dumplings were barely tepid in temp and no broth in them at all. Good thing since there were no soup spoons. The two dishes off the other cart were just plain cold. The flavors of all three were good but that's not going to make up for cold. We paid and left. I did mention to a manager about our problem and he seem sincerely surprised. If we lived in NY we would probably give it another try. But we live in N. Calif. and just don't want to waste our dining options when there are so many winners. I hope no else has this experience and that it was just two carts that had that problem on that day.

          13 Replies
          1. re: c oliver

            Sorry for your bad experience. My preference is for ordering of the menu as there's nothing more I hate than tepid dim sum. I would think that soup dumplings are probably one of the worst things to have off of a cart..

            Not sure where in N. California you are from. But if you are from the Bay area, the dim sum there is pretty awesome compared to Manhattan's C-town.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              I'm actually reading on these boards that the dim sum south of San Francisco is the best. I have a new friend, who is Chinese, who lives in San Jose, and is going to take us dim sum-ing ----- when she gets back from Beijing. She said that Chinese people greet each other by saying "have you eaten yet?" I LOVE that.

              We've enjoy NY dim sum alot just not that particular one. We've eaten at Delight 22 on Pell and Jade Asian in Flushing. Both were terrific. Yum. You'll never hear me REALLY complain about NY dining. It's awesome. Always looking forward to our next visit.

              1. re: c oliver

                I'm glad that you enjoyed Jade Asian (haven't been to Delight 22). Jade Asian is my favorite for dim sum in NYC. And the servers there are really nice.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  That's Delight 28 and I love it. I remember you visited it on your last trip east, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.


                  From what I hear, 6 Chatham is better for dinner, and at its worst for dim sum... though I just read that Lau had an incredibly good dim sum there.

                  1. re: Brian S

                    Thanks, Brian. 28, it is. When there the last time - I think it's been once on each trip (Dec., March and now) - we ate chicken feet for the first time. We lived in San Francisco for many years and never tried it. Yum, yum. I recollect that you're not a dim sum fan so we'll check out other things in the future. Thanks to all for their guidance. I think it's so funny that "others" still talk about unfriendly NYers. We find everyone incredibly nice and helpful.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      the carts seem to be the problem, if u read my post on 6 chatham, i ordered everything off the menu (i don't like carts), things on carts can end up sitting around too long and often get luke warm and are not so good

                      1. re: Lau

                        Thanks, Lau. I agree with you in principle but in 30 years of eating dim sum, that was the worst in terms of temperature that I've encountered. Maybe those two ladies went on break together or something :) Like I mentioned, this could have been a total anomaly so I wouldn't discourage others from going. When we visit NY however, we just have too little time to visit a place where we had a bad experience previously. Just tonight we ordered takeout from a place in the outer boroughs (we're staying at a friend's house). Two of three dishes were from blah to yuck. Why would we want their food again. Too many other good places to choose from.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          yeah i hear you, its too bad you had such a bad experience

                          anyhow i'd probably advise you to stay away from chinese food in manhattan (although flushing may have some things that would be interesting for you); you have much better options in the bay area anyhow

                          1. re: Lau

                            Been here 3 times now. first time was sublime. even fried items were crisp and hot. the 2nd time was still good, but service was much more uneven. this most recent journey was disappointing. turnip cake and pan fried chive cakes came out cold and flaccid.

                            all three times, we've sat downstairs ont eh weekend and marked a menu for them to bring items back. i think the secret is to go during the week when things are less hectic and you can get fresh made to order.

                            1. re: FattyDumplin

                              yeah i went yesterday and it was good although I had a similar experience as you where somethings had been sitting around for a bit that said, execution was still better than the other places and the dishes that were so so would've been good if it was fresh (as opposed to alot of the other places in manhattan where even if it was fresh it wasn't made very well)

                              My first trip on the weekday was better

            2. re: c oliver

              c oliver, thanks for reporting back and so sorry you had a bad experience. We went yesterday and everything was delicious. We didn't have soup or get much from the cart so maybe that was why our experience was so different then yours. I posted a report on Lau's thread.

              1. re: c oliver

                I'm wondering, What time did you eat there, c.oliver?

                Also, I've never eaten there on the weekend. I've had good experiences with their dim sum during the week.

                1. re: racer x

                  We were there about 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. We usually go for dim sum in San Francisco during the week and earlier. From what I'm reading here, now I think I MUST give them another taste :) And, hey, when we left there after only three dishes, we had room for another stop. So why not try again? Heading back to SF on Weds. a.m. Thanks, 'hounds, for all the help you give us each time.

              2. How is the dim sum at 9 Chatham Square these days?
                I walked past today, on my way to 6 Chatham Square.
                There was a throng at the counter that appeared to be getting dim sum to go, and all, or almost all, the tables were full; people were in the doorway area waiting for seats.

                This place clearly has its fans for dim sum.
                Is it just that the prices are so low ($1.75)? Or does the food taste that good?

                Btw, I've noticed in a number of other threads that chowhounds are referring to 9 Chatham Sq as "the place that used to be Hop Shing" or saying "when it used to be Hop Shing." Apparently, the management still call their place Hop Shing, judging from the articles taped to the window. (In fact, I was surprised to see that one of those articles was from Citysearch, announcing that Hop Shing was the readers' favorite for dim sum in 2007.) Has the food there changed significantly from past years?