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Apr 4, 2009 10:57 AM

What is new & good in Chinatown

On Sunday evening I am considering dinner in Chinatown after an event in Back Bay. I have my old favorites, Peach Farm and Taiwan Cafe. There are three others that I have been meaning to try, Gourmet Seafood, Lucky House Seafood Restaurant, and Wing's Kitchen. I have noticed that the Dumpling House has been getting much attention recently, but at the moment I am dumplinged out, having a few bags from Wang's in the freezer and after a recent visit to Zoe's.

Another alternative is Vietnamese, but is there any place there that is significantly better and different from the Pho Pasteur/Republique/Le establishments elsewhere in Boston?

So I am eager to learn if there is anything new, exciting, and different in Chinatown these days.

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  1. Lucky House and Wing's are no more. Shame because both were very good.

    Lucky House is now a made to order dim sum place..Winsor Cafe. Wing's is vacant.

    I've become a fan of new New Shanghai with a mostly Szechuan menu. I consider it a notch or 2 below Fuloon but a lot more convenient for me. My favorites include a cold, spicy chicken app, Szechuan twice cooked pork belly(superb job of this classic), and boiled beef w red pepper and bean sprouts..fiery hot. I have a lot more exploring to do on the menu..cuz I can't get away from my favorites..but lots of interesting dishes.

    11 Replies
    1. re: 9lives

      Years ago I tried the old New Shanghai. It was OK, but nothing spectacular. I assume it is in the same location as the old new.

      1. re: VivreManger

        same location but new ownership. It was on my "don't bother list" for many years.

      2. re: 9lives

        don't forget the cumin lamb! dusted w/ water chestnut flour, almost like tender fried clams...loofa w/ bamboo web also a surprisingly tasty side dish of veggies, good counterpoint to those spicy meat dishes

        1. re: barleywino

          I really enjoyed that dish. Had no idea about the chestnut flour. Thanks for the scoop.

        2. re: 9lives

          I read on Yelp the other day that Wings is reopened under new management, but that the menu is now plain jane cantonese. The story they told was that the wife, who did all of the cooking, passed away suddenly.

          1. re: jgg13

            Wing's was doing a brisk takeout and table business at dinner time, seems to be quite popular. Tried the salt pepper soft shell crab and a soft tofu dish, both nicely done. Their signature Empress chicken and deep fried spareribs w/ garlic also seemed like popular dishes among other diners, will try next time. One waitress was English-fluent, another waiter not.

            1. re: barleywino

              Waitress? The only staff I've ever dealt with at Wing's was a kindly middle aged gentleman whom I always assumed was the owner.

              True shame if they did have to change up because of a wife's death, but I feel sorrier for the owner.

              And I"m with MC Slim - if Taiwan Cafe is on your list, I'd opt for Gourmet Dumpling House, which executes a big chunk of the TC menu, a notch or two better.

              1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                i was there tonight and there was the waitress who speaks English and a couple younger waiters, no middle aged gentleman in sight...the EMpress chicken was nothing too special...but the place filled up quickly with large parties

                1. re: barleywino

                  Does the Chinese sign still say 上海灘? (Shanghai Tan, a play on the Chinese name of the Bund, or "foreign shore" in Shanghai) I'm going to guess not, given that it sounds like it's no longer a Shanghai-style restaurant. More's the pity.

                  1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                    I don't ever remember Wing's being called Shanghai Tan - it used to have a sign that read Wing Wong (cantonese pronunciation - sorry, I can't do characters on this laptop). I thought the Shanghai sign was a reference to the Shanghai restaurant above Wing's.

                    1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                      I got a take out menu and it doesn't look shanghai style anymore. It looks more teow chow to me, similar to Best Little Restaurant.

          2. For Vietnamese, I heartily recommend Pho Hoa on Beach Street, specifically - if you've got time for a leisurely meal - their Seven Courses of Beef, which is precisely what it says. It's dinner for two, last I was there it was $30, the best deal going. I think this is the only place in Chinatown that serves this feast.

            1 Reply
            1. re: peregrine

              I haven't been to Pho Hoa; but the 7 courses of beef is a great way to go and I think you're right about them being the only 1 in Chinatown.

              Anh Hong in Dorchester, T friendly, does the 7 courses of beef..and 7 courses of fish.

              A great meal; but bring a few friends..:)

            2. While the dumpling are indeed nice at the Gourmet Dumpling House, it has a menu of over 200 dishes from up and down the Chinese coast, Taiwan, and even Sichuan. Only about ten of those are dumplings. I've been here a bunch lately (reviewed it in the Phoenix) and quite like it.


              1 Reply
              1. re: MC Slim JB

                I fully agree--G.D.H. is an all around awesome restaurant. Besides the dumplings (which are all super) their noodles are dynamite. They also do a great double-cooked pork belly

              2. As of today, Wing's was re opened, spiffed up and with the same name. Don't know if it's the same Wings or just another example of new owner/same name/different food. Curious to find out.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Pa amb Tomaquet

                  That's great news. I'm anxious to go back and try again.

                  1. re: Pa amb Tomaquet

                    I feel like my heart was broken and put back together within the span of about 45 seconds. Hope it's still the same.

                    1. re: Pa amb Tomaquet

                      I walked by today and stopped in. New awning but not a whole lot done to the inside. I didn't see the older gentleman who practically ran the place himself; but I wasn't there that long.

                      The new menu bears little resemblance to the old and doesn't have soup dumplings, braised pork, or lion's head meatball..which were among my favorites. Menu is pretty similar to a lot of other menus in Chinatown; with a few more interesting items. I can't say it's not good; but it doesn't offer much in the way of Shanghainese; unless they were blackboard special.

                      Pretty crowded at 11:45..I think more people than I ever saw at Wing's..friends of the new owner?

                      1. re: Pa amb Tomaquet

                        A Cantonese freind of mine recommended it. He said the new owner is also chef and always there.

                        1. re: trufflehound

                          Rereading the menu, it is almost identical to Best Little Restaurant..which I enjoy; but that is the direction the place has taken.

                          Worth a try and hopefully someone will write it up.

                      2. For Vietnamese I'm a big fan of Xinh Xinh. Way better than Pho Pasteur/Le's in my book. I really like the pho tai and bun bo hue. I've been told other things are good (like bun w bbq pork), but I really have a hard time swaying from my favorites.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MrsCheese

                          Thanks for the report 9lives. I'm sorry to hear that the menu is not the same, but can't say that I'm surprised. I don't know why new owners keep the old names. It makes it a bit confusing for us gwai los.