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Good chinese in the albany area?

we moved up to the area recently and we're still trying to find some good restaurants. any recommendations on good chinese woud be appreciated. also,one that serves brown rice would be nice. my wife only likes brown rice. one place said they could make it and proceeded to make fried rice from white. DUH!
thanks,
dave

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  1. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have brown rice, but CCK on Central is very good - see the Times Union's review here: http://timesunion.com/entertainment/r....
    I've been eating there and at Ocean Palace (the owners' old restaurant) for years and years - surprisingly solid dim sum and a pretty wide range of offerings.

    1. I haven't found good Chinese in the area in 33 years of looking.

      1. i cant say enough about CCK....fell in love with the place. never disappointing and most often surpasses my expectations.....

        gerchak have you been? i'd be curious to know why you might not like CCK....its great chinese food

        1. My SO said CCK is good. I haven't been yet. Not much ethnic food in the area.

          1. Also..
            Emperor's on Wolf Road opposite Colonie Center

            1. Not chinese but My Linn (sp?) is reviewed well for Vietnamese. Albany does have the PF chang chain, unimpressed.

              7 Replies
              1. re: jspear

                I can second jspear's suggestion - I have not been to My Linh (Vietnamese) yet but it's one of my SO's favorites . . .

                www.mylinhrestaurant.com

                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  I've been to My Linh once or twice and enjoyed it very much - great for a night out. Van's, a few doors down from CCK on Central, is quite possibly just as good, but the atmosphere's a lot more casual (and it's a lot cheaper). Van's is my go-to place for Vietnamese in the area- their sour fish soup is delicious.

                2. re: jspear

                  My Linh was an abomination. I went because they advertise on the local NPR station but it was unbelievably bad. Not only the dirtiness of the restaurant but the stingy portions, boring presentation and chipped plates chased me out and I won't go back. Go to Van's on Central for Good Vietnamese. Don't go to a chain and expect fresh food. Won't happen. :-)

                  -----
                  My Linh
                  272 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12209

                  1. re: Lolalola

                    Thanks for the warning. My Chinese wife and I live half the year in Nanning, 120 miles from Vietnam. She liked CCK until we were taken by Chinese friends to Buffalo Wagon. It's now her fave Chinese restaurant in America, so far, if you stick to Chinese there. It's hard to get her to eat anywhere else on the occaisions we drive up to Albany.

                    -----
                    My Linh
                    272 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12209

                    Buffalo Wagon
                    6 Metro Park Rd Ste 3, Albany, NY 12205

                    1. re: Lolalola

                      Sorry, but I've never had a poor meal at My Linh, never had too little food, nor was the restaurant ever dirty, or the plates chipped. Service has also always been exemplary. And My Linh is a family owned restaurant, not a chain!
                      Have tried almost all of the menu, many specials and special requests have always been attended to with grace. And yes, I have eaten a lot of Vietnamese food all over the country.

                      -----
                      My Linh
                      272 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12209

                      1. re: mjoyous

                        I've never eaten there. I'm only in Albany a few days a year. But where we live in China is a $20 bus ride to Hanoi. WOW! As you can well imagine.

                        -----
                        My Linh
                        272 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12209

                      2. re: Lolalola

                        I definitely have to agree with mjoyous. I've never experienced what Lolalola has described in the 20 + years that I've eaten at My Linh's. I don't know how long ago you dined there, but if you are referring to their first location on Madison Av. where the landlord refused to take care of such things as broken floor tiles and deteriorating outdoor steps, then all I can say is Linh and her family did the best they could under those circumstances. That was the reason they left that location (which btw was also where Van's then moved into and started their business until they chose to relocate also) and purchased the restaurant on Delaware Av.

                        I've brought many people to My Linh's and no one has ever walked away hungry or complained about the food. They frequently carry out leftovers. I also agree 100% with everything else mjoyous has said.

                        -----
                        My Linh
                        272 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12209

                    2. CCK on Central is excellent. I like it as much as most of the places in NYC Chinatown (and I've been to quite a few). Chef's version of Singapore Mei Fun is excellent. Eggplant w/shrimp paste is outstanding. They may not have brown rice (most "authentic" Chinese places don't), but you won't find better Chinese in Albany

                      1. Shanghi (sp?) Grill in Newton Plaza is fantastic, and they serve brown rice.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: kailin

                          thanks! i'll check it out. cck is on my list too. hopefully soon.

                          1. re: davmar77

                            Dave, it's been two years since your inquiry. Have you gotten to CCK? If so, what is our assessment?

                            IMO, over the last couple of years there have been ups and downs depending upon whether Chef Peter Chan has been in the kitchen. The original menu didn't include many of the typical American dishes found on Chinese menus, e.g., General Tso's chicken. It was almost exclusively more authentic Chinese preparations.

                            Another Chinese restaurant that I'm surprised I haven't seen mentioned here that opened over a year ago is Ala Shanghai in Latham. I'd be interested in whether the people who've commented here have been there and how they compare it with CCK , Emperor's Palace, and Shining Rainbow.

                            1. re: Roger K

                              Roger, Thanks for the info on ALa Shanghai. I went last week and it was absolutely delicious. I will definitely be back. But I'd never have found that on my own. It's hardly someplace I'd walk by & try. Thanks for letting me know about it! Much different from CCK (Which I think is my fav simply because Peter's food seems so incredibly fresh, light and he spins the spices into interesting combos). Shining Rainbow was also good and has better atmosphere than either but if its all abou the food, I think CCK still wins. (sadly, it does lose on decor. but hey, it's Albany. We can't have everything).

                              -----
                              Shining Rainbow
                              209 Central Ave, Albany, NY 12206

                              1. re: Roger K

                                i did try it for lunch one day and wasn't that impressed but take out is probably not a fair way to judge.

                                we like buffalo wagon a lot. they have expanded on the sushi specials too. one night we asked the owner about a dish with some spice. he came back with huge plate of shrimp with sauteed jalapenos and other veggies. it was quite good and hit the spot. it was not a menu item.

                                1. re: davmar77

                                  @davmar77, just as a point of clarity, which of the three mentioned by Lolalola is it that you say you've tried for lunch?

                                  1. re: davmar77

                                    I keep reading here about Buffalo Wagon. Is is chinese or japanese/sushi? I'm confused. But many, many people have mentioned that they like it. Odd name for a Chinese or Japanese joint. Sounds like BBQ. I will have to hunt it down & try it!

                                    -----
                                    Buffalo Wagon
                                    6 Metro Park Rd Ste 3, Albany, NY 12205

                                    1. re: Lolalola

                                      It's pan-Asian. It may have been mentioned here before that the name relates to the Water Buffalo that has been used by the Chinese for many purposes.
                                      http://www.buffalowagon.com/

                                      1. re: Roger K

                                        Thanks so much Roger K! The menu looks delicious. I'll have to try it soon.

                            2. I just went to CCK this evening. I am a transplant from New York who often spent Sundays in Chinatown for Dim Sum. I thought the food at CCK was very good and authentic (but they do not have brown rice). Another place is Plum Blossom in Troy. Trust me, it is worth the 15/20min drive. Their food is some of the best Chinese I have eaten, in a great atmosphere, and excellent service.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: LimonZang

                                LimonZang, thanks for the report. I'm looking forward to trying CCK.

                                1. re: LimonZang

                                  I was surprised to hear you put Plum Blossom up so high. I live 5 minutes from there and when we get chinese, it's from there. Sometimes things are overdone, like the sesame chicken but we are generally pleased....I do like the physical plant, wish they would actually finish working on it though............

                                  1. re: jspear

                                    Jspear - I have never gotten take-out from Plum Blossom. I have eaten in the restaurant about 4 times. Each time, I thought the food was great for the area. However, you have a better idea of the consistency/quality of food, since you frequent the place more. When I said "best" I meant for the area....nothing really compares to a NYC Chinatown restaurant! Still and all, in the Capital Region I think CCK and Plum Blossom take the cake. I just wish we had a "healthy" chinese restaurant in the region with fresh produce, light sauces, lots of tofu and no msg. Any places like this in the area?

                                    1. re: LimonZang

                                      No and I have a friend who needs to do Gluten Free and that is a real issue with local chinese. I do like Plum Blossom and they are consistent for the things that I get there. I have yet to try CCK or anything out of my neighborhood. We are looking for more tofu and lighter sauces ourselves, mostly because of the gf stuff.....

                                      1. re: jspear

                                        I'm seriously wheat allergic. Buffalo Wagon uses semfen and other flours for breading and will happily substitute one for wheat on breadings. Semfen is gluten-free tapioca (cassava) starch. They use rice flour on their fried calamari, to die for!

                                        -----
                                        Buffalo Wagon
                                        6 Metro Park Rd Ste 3, Albany, NY 12205

                                      2. re: LimonZang

                                        Had lunch at Big Wong today and Noodletown yesterday. I read that CCK has chicken feet. Do they have salty fish and diced chicken fried rice? Do they do dim sum? I can't wait to try CCK! Maybe next week when I head back up . . .may have to try Marisa's pizza first . . .

                                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                          Your making me jealous. Big Wong was my fave.

                                          1. re: mjoyous

                                            mjoyous, been to CCK. CCK is right up there with Big Wong :)

                                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                              then that will have to be my next albany meal; thanks all!

                                  2. not exactly close, but the little bear in woodstock is damned good. love their cold sesame noodles, and the soup with rice cakes pork and shrimp

                                    8 Replies
                                      1. re: markabauman

                                        thanks for the review. it sounds like the kind of places in china town that you would only go to with someone who knew the right people and with english menu in sight.

                                        1. re: davmar77

                                          The review is annoying. CCK has an extensive menu with a wide range of dishes--the identical menu to the late lamented Ocean Palace, in fact--and the reviewer orders wonton soup and General Tso's chicken. Duck with mushroom, diver scallop, salt and pepper squid, steamed grouper, lamb casserole, are all on the menu or on the specials board; why would you order General Tso's chicken? Really solid food, nice people, comfortable storefront space.

                                          1. re: PSZaas

                                            yes - a reviewer ought to be flayed alive for ordering dishes people commonly order, and they might even like to eat themselves. I mean general tso's chicken? flayed and then fired i say.

                                            1. re: thew

                                              Without getting too deeply into the questions of the abilities, functions, purpose, etc. of a critic, for whom do you think such a reviewer is writing for? Not the typical CH-er, for sure, but the very average diner, who, unfortunately, if found in such a place as CCK, wouldn't be looking at the interesting, unique dishes, but probably focusing in on the General Tso's chicken. Pardon me if that sounds a little elitist, hopefully it's just the reality of the situation.

                                              1. re: markabauman

                                                yeah. that's what i meant - i thought the sarcasm was obvious when i recommended removing the skin from his body while he was still alive, for reviewing a chicken dish

                                              2. re: thew

                                                Sure, like we should judge Cafe Capriccio by the quality of its spaghetti and meatballs or veal parm, because that's what people commonly order. CCK is a very uncommon restaurant, at least for around here.

                                          2. re: markabauman

                                            thanks, marka bauman - chicken feet in Albany :)

                                            Maybe they have salty fish and diced chicken fried rice and vegetarian roast duck . . .

                                        2. Has anyone tried Shining Rainbow, a few doors down from CCK? The menu looks like interesting: http://www.shiningrainbow.com/

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: kilercow

                                            Shining Rainbow on Central Ave, Albany NY is pretty good. Authentic chinese food. I used to go to CCK but now I mostly go to Shining Rainbow. They also have dim sum. I wish they had soup noodle.

                                            Is there any place in the Capital District that has good soup dumpling, ie. Shao long bao?
                                            Also if there is a place for northern chinese style breakfast, eg. soy milk, shao bing, yao tiao, etc. Flushing NY is way too far to travel on a regular basis.

                                            1. re: StarStrider

                                              StarStrider, thanks for the report. What dishes would you recommend at Shining Rainbow?

                                              We go to CCK.

                                              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                Buddist Delight, and I am not even a vegetarian. Roast duck is really good... nice, crispy skin. I really haven't had a bad dish yet. Oh, and the steamed flounder was good. They also have "hot pot" which I haven't tried yet but based on the number of tables and customers that were eating that the last time I went (many) I think I will have to give it a shot. I do still go to CCK every so often as they have decent Noodle soup, and CCK dishes, I think, have nicer presentation. It's good that there's some competition though. Emperor's on Wolf Rd is another good place.

                                                1. re: StarStrider

                                                  Thanks, StarStrider. I've read good things about Emperor's on this Board. Agree competition is a good thing. I also like the roast duck at the Asian market on Central Avenue. Last time I had it, was just as good as Kaman. If you find good congee please report back.

                                              2. re: StarStrider

                                                This is quite belated, but is there anywhere in the area to obtain decent saimin (as I grew up with in Hawaii in the 1970s? I lived in Northern California until recently, and there were good places to go there, but I'm having trouble finding good noodle shops in this area. I'd appreciate any ideas!

                                                1. re: caravan70

                                                  CCK and Golden Rainbow both have good noodle dishes; not sure they're quite what you're looking for, but they're the best we've got.

                                                  1. re: PSZaas

                                                    I apologize for the belated reply. I think Ichiban is about the best we've got around here... the noodle dishes are quite decent. This was what I had in mind, if you get out west: the Shoki Ramen House. You'll find it here... the links don't seem to be working: http://www.yelp.com/biz/shoki-ramen-h...

                                                    As far as Chinese, I'm convinced that CCK is the best I've had in the area.

                                                    Thanks to everyone for the recommendations... they've made my life here a lot better. :

                                                    )

                                                    -----
                                                    Ichiban Restaurant
                                                    338 Central Ave, Albany, NY 12206

                                                    Ichiban Restaurant
                                                    556 Jefferson Plz, Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776

                                                  2. re: caravan70

                                                    Emperors also has good noodle dishes, soups and fried, but I'm not sure what saimin is, so I don't know if they have it.

                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                      This thread has me craving CCK! I tried Tasty Chinese last night for the first time, only American Chinese dishes.

                                                      Also made me curious about saimin:

                                                      A bowl of saimin combines soft noodles with wontons and green onions in a hot, savory broth.

                                                      What about Phila Fusion (S. Springs)? Not too far from Albany . . .

                                              3. I like CCK and Shining Rainbow both. I'm told the folks behind CCK used to run the Ocean Palace when it was open.

                                                Ichiban (the one on Central Ave is smaller but better than the one on Western Ave, IMO) has a good Chinese menu even though it's primarily a Japanese restaurant. Well-kept secret.

                                                Koto offers brown rice with their meals but is Japanese. Good fried rice though. They have added some new items, however, pineapple duck and at least one Thai curry on the menu.
                                                And sea bass with a most excellent orange sauce for dipping.

                                                1. My wife is from China and this is her favorite restaurant in America, so far. She's nuts about the sauteed lobster and the calamari, fried with rice flour not wheat, is the best I've ever had. The Thai is not authentic and haven't tried the sushi, but the Chinese is superb.

                                                  -----
                                                  Buffalo Wagon
                                                  6 Metro Park Rd Ste 3, Albany, NY 12205