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Aug 15, 2008 11:54 AM

Chinese stirfry? for visiting teenager

My 14-year-old niece is visiting for three days. Doing the whole tourist thing and am probably dragging her to a few restaurants that the adults in our group enjoy for most of the time. I would like to indulge her for one meal and she's mentioned that her favorite thing is the Chinese/Mongolian stir-fry bars (like Stir Crazy or Big Bowl chain restaurants). From what I understand from Google and these boards -- these places are basically nonexistent for a sit-down dinner in Manhattan.

Any recommendations here? If not the stir-fry bar, is there a restaurant with an atmosphere like one of the Asian chain restaurants? Trying to stay near Midtown but not that picky. Thanks!!

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  1. I think that Benihana would be a good facsimile in her eyes, and a lot more fun. There's one on 56th Street.

    1. There's one of these restaurants in Flushing, Queens, I believe. But it's a fast food joint. And for a short three day stay, I doubt she's going to want to make the trek there.

      I second the Benihana rec. And if she doesn't want Benihana for whatever reason, Ruby Foo's in Times Square has the type of atmosphere she's looking for.

      1. Maybe this link will help (if you haven't already seen it):

        This one on 5th ave and 19th st. seems popular (i often agree with Ballulah's opinion re: food):

        1 Reply
        1. re: cimui

          Candyapple, just wanted to mention that the one on 5th and 19th is more of a take-out joint. So it will probably have the food that your niece is looking for, but not the atmosphere.

        2. Thanks everyone, for the ideas. We ended up going to Ruby Foo's. As much as venturing into Times Square did not excite me, my niece loved both Ruby Foo's and the Times Square people watching before and after. She really enjoyed the atmosphere and the food (she only ordered a sweet n sour chicken stirfry but I think it was the experience she'll remember). She even wanted to stay and order tea after we finished eating. Food was very accessible for a teen. Personally, I really did love Ruby Foo's steamed shrimp dumplings and the lettuce wraps were a fun choice as well. Pleasantly surprised.

          2 Replies
          1. re: candyapple13

            Thanks for reporting back. I'm glad that your niece enjoyed it. The food is not bad (only been to the UWS location). It's just that there are so many decent places in NYC. Personally, it's not my thing. But I think a lot of tourists (especially teenagers) have different requirements than a local. You were a very good aunt indulging her in what she wanted to do as opposed to you taking her to what you thought she should do.

            1. re: candyapple13

              Glad you liked it. I would have recommended Ruby Foo's too. I think some of their food might be a little Americanized for the purists but overall it's decent and should appeal to most people who enjoy Asian cuisine.