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Chinese restaurant with good ambiance and service?

hi 'hounders! after stalking the board for many years, i finally have a question of my own:

what is an upscale chinese restaurant with good food and nice ambiance? im very happy heading to chinatown to satisfy my cravings, but im having lunch with my family next weekend and i know they wont be too happy about eating at a hole in the wall.

the only options i can come up with are chinatown brasserie and lan sheng. my only concern is that CB looks like it can get pretty expensive- how much do you think dim sum would cost per person, not including drinks, tax, tip?

im leaning towards CB only because i think the restaurant may appeal more to my picky family (no dietary constraints, and they like authentic food but they also want good ambiance and service). also location is not an issue, as long as it's in manhattan and parking is not impossible

what are your thoughts?

thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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    1. re: bigjeff

      ah, not sure how i missed this threat- thanks much!

    2. I'm guessing Chinatown Brasserie would cost 2 to 3 times what you'd pay in Chinatown.

      1. The Grand Sichuan on 7th Ave is sort of upscale (exposed brick walls, plants, table cloths), reasonably priced with very good food. Parking is possible.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bobjbkln

          Good suggestion. Their website has pictures of the interior so the OP can get a feel for the place. http://www.thegrandsichuan.com/?page_... (Scroll down.


          Good food too.

        2. Chinatown Brasserie is fantastic and their dim sum is worth every penny. The ambiance is upscale and the service is, for the most part, competent. You would probably spend around $30-$40 per a person depending on the size of your appetite.

          Shun Lee Palace and Mr. K's both have excellent service and upscale ambiance. While Shun Lee is still quite good, both have become inconsistent when it comes to food.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Pookipichu

            Chinatown Brasserie is great. Also adding Red Egg: nice ambiance, variety, good drinks and solid eats.


            1. re: LeahBaila

              I dined there recently, and we really enjoyed it.

              That said, as mentioned above, the check will be a multiple of what you would pay in Chinatown. Ambiance is a significant step up though, and the quality was excellent as well.

          2. shanghai pavillion on 3rd ave @ 78th street fits the bill.

            1. thanks for all the suggestions! i have a reservation at chinatown brasserie next saturday at 1:30- am excited to give it a try...will report back next week

              1. sorry for the delayed response! had lunch at chinatown brasserie a few weekends ago and wanted to report back:

                overall the meal was successful and pleased my family greatly, but i didnt think the food was anything special.

                --the dumplings were excellent- we tried the shrimp dumplings, shrimp + snow pea leaf dumplings, and shrimp + chive dumplings. the classic shrimp were good, but nothing you couldn't find in chinatown. the other two preparations were more interesting and very tasty and subtle. the ingredients tasted fresh and high-quality, which is important with seafood.

                --the lotus root and pork pastry was phenomenal- if youre a fan of taro root, def give this a try. we probably should have gotten several more orders of this instead of experimenting with other dishes

                --classic egg rolls: i'm really not much of an egg roll fan so maybe that's why i wasn't impressed by this dish, but i found these egg rolls to be very average. not greasy, which was nice, but the flavors were kinda boring and bland. maybe this would have been successful in a smaller portion? the whole thing was a bit big and uninspired for me

                --bbq duck spring rolls: i only had a bite, but consensus was that this was the best item of the meal. the plum sauce was really important though- without it, nobody thought it was great

                --general tso's chicken- i know, i know, this is never a good dish to order, but the parents wanted it so i had to taste at least. the chicken was way way too chewy- it was borderline inedible. it was white meat chicken, and otherwise the sauce tasted okay, but i couldnt figure out what was going on with the meat.

                --thin noodles with mushrooms- noodles were thin and crispy, but the sauce was very bland and gloppy. tasted like too much cornstarch, pretty unappealing

                ended the meal with mango mousse which was delicious- not too sweet- good way to finish what otherwise would have been a disappointing meal. id go back for the lotus pasty and mango mousse, but wouldn't recommend it overall. i have a feeling we ordered poorly, but im in no rush to return and taste other items on the menu.

                Chinatown Brasserie
                380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                6 Replies
                1. re: InSearchOfTacos

                  You had mentioned "Good Ambiance and Good Service" in your original title. How was the ambiance and service at Chinatown Brasserie in your opinion?

                  Looks like you were hoping that you would have gone to Chinatown for the food and the price. Where would you have rather visited in Chinatown to get the ambiance and the service (plus food) you had initially searched for? I am curious to know... because I don't particularly like the service/attitude and the ambiance (and the dirty bathrooms!) of many Chinatown restaurants so I am always looking for a "nicer" and "more civilized" place to go in Chinatown too! For now, I can think of a few places such as Peking Duck House, Red Egg, and Oriental Garden that have better ambiance and service.. I wonder if there are other places I haven't visited....

                  1. re: bearmi

                    If ambience=real tablecloths you might check out Three Ocean on Bayard.

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      Thanks. I will have to check it out next time.

                    2. re: bearmi

                      the ambiance and service at cb were very good- our waiter was excellent and very attentive, no complaints there! and the decor was overly chinese pavilion-esque to me, but nice enough nonetheless. and i was perfectly aware that this place would be a lot more expensive than chinatown, but i was hoping for really great food. on that front it did not deliver.

                      my chinatown favorites include shanghai cafe and new green bo (nice green bo?) but theres no way i could bring family there. next time i will give lan sheng in midtown a try.

                      1. re: InSearchOfTacos

                        I hear you.... I like CB a lot but I can see how their food can be so-so depending on what was ordered.. Their price is definitely not cheap so their food has to meet the diners' expectation or else!

                        I have heard good things about Lan Sheng but haven't been there yet. Located not far from Lan Sheng is Szechuan Gourmet. I am sure you have heard of it on this board. I have been there many times and it's pretty good, but it's definitely not a "fancy" place and their food can be very hot and spicy. If you (or your family) can't tolerate spicy food, beware of what you order there. Also, Joe's Shanghai has a location on West 56th street.. The food there isn't the greatest but their service is decent (and it's definitely not just a "hold-in-the-wall". I am sure other folks here can provide suggestions for other good Chinese food uptown....

                        Joe's Shanghai
                        24 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                        Szechuan Gourmet
                        244 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                        Lan Sheng
                        60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                    3. re: InSearchOfTacos

                      I would say that the service is good in most places if you speak the language, ambiance seems to be more of an issue.
                      Service-wise, it seems to be very common among Chinese/PRC waitstaff to withdraw from the conversation if they cannot quite understand you: not because they disrespect you, rather because they feel they are not quite useful and clam up.
                      If you help them, you help yourself too, but then again, it might be an over-generalization on my part. I think, patience and acceptance would do the trick.
                      In terms of ambience, I think you should be looking outside of the Manhattan Chinatown; the Brasserie is a good suggestion.