Your favorite non-Cantonese restaurant in Manhattan's Chinatown
For a change, I'm interested in trying some somewhat dilfferent Chinese restaurants in Chinatown -- Jiaangsu, Fujian, Dongbei, or whatever? Any suggestions?
Two Best Fuzhou Restaurants:
Please note the former Best Fuzhou place on Forsyth is under new ownership and serves a limited buffet with very little English spoken there...
No Dongbei in Manhattan, you will have to head to Flushing for that.
Doesn't Shanghai cuisine incorporate many dishes originally from nearby Jiangsu cities? There used to be Suzhou restaurants in Chinatown. The menus, and the food I ate in Suzhou had much in common with Shanghai. After all, Suzhou is closer to Shanghai than D.C. to NY. I don't think I ever remember a Nanjing restaurant in NY, and S.F.'s House of Nanking, once good, has been a joke for years.
I'm not aware of any Dongbei places in Manhattan, don't know a thing about Fujianese food, and I'm assuming you're ruling out places without seating, like Xian Famous Foods, which leaves the 1 Sichuan place at 10 Pell--decent, but not up to either 39th St. place, Super Taste for Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles, and a handful of Shanghai places. Of the latter, Shanghai Cafe remains my favorite.
Going beyond Chinese, Nyonya is good for Malaysian, and New Tu Do for Vietnamese.
199 Grand St, New York, NY 10013
New Tu Do
102 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
26 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002
Xi'an Famous Foods
88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002
Jiangsu food is a topic dear to our hearts for many reasons. We have spent considerable time in Suzhou due to research interests and in Nanjing, Shanghai (and Hangzhou) as well as having spent many happy hours in Taipei at excellent Jiangzhe restaurants run by top chefs who emigrated with their employers from the mainland.
For Jiangzhe (Jiangsu-Zhejiang, the provinces in which Suzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou are located) food, the only one in Chinatown proper is the new Yeah Shanghai Deluxe on Bayard St. There has been considerable discusssion of it on this board - we ate there once and it was ok, not fantastic. Their menu does include a number of typically Jiangzhe specialties, such as Dongpo rou red-cooked pork shoulder, tai tiao yu tiao fish fingers deepfried in seaweed batter, lizi ji bao chicken stewed with chestnuts, doumiao pea shoots with shrimp, fresh beancurd skin strips with green soybean and pickled vegetable, and even shrimp with green tea leaves, a big local favorite when made with the local teas (Longjing in Hangzhou, Biluochun in Suzhou) and something not common on NY menus. We ate at Shanghai Café once and were not very taken with it, intend to give it another go soon.
For better higher class Jiangzhe food you need to go to Tang Pavilion in midtown and order their Shanghai specialties.
As far as I know there are no restaurants offering specifically Nanjing or Suzhou dishes which especially in the case of Suzhou is a shame - the cuisine is refined and delicate (even if sweeter than most) and it would be a delight to be able to eat some of these dishes here (lotus root stuffed with glutinous rice and simmered in sugar syrup, lotus root thinly sliced, blanched, and marinated in tangerine juice, river shrimp, minced fish with pine nuts)...excuse me while I go book a flight to Shanghai and a car to Suzhou. I wish.
65 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019
Very happy to report that the new Yeah Shanghai Deluxe on Bayard at Mott is on its game. Yesterday we had excellent, thin-skinned and very juicy xlb (if you pierced them and let the soup into the spoon, you could not rest the dumpling back in the spoon without it overflowing); the beancurd skin with pickled veg, soybeans, and pork, which was perfect; the baby shrimp with green tea leaves (shrimp in a very light wine sauce with green tea sprinkled on top - should have been sauteéd with the shrimp but if you stirred it in, the dish took on a light tea flavor, quite nice); the scallion pancake which was very nice and crisp and the Sichuan green beans (this last not terrific, but I have a weakness for eating th dish with scallion pancakes). With 4 Tsingtaos, $66.00 before tip. (The xue cai bai ye mao dou rou si - beancurd skin dish, cong you bing - scallion pancake - and the cha ye xia ren - shrimp with green tea in photo below.)
Every historic North American Chinatown is Cantonese in origin, since until World War II, virtually all Chinese residents of the US were Cantonese (actually Toishanese, from a region outside of Canton itself). To this day, most of these Chinatowns and their restaurants remain predominantly Cantonese. Manhattan Chinatown is the one exception due to its status as mothership for the nationwide Fujianese American community, plus the popularity of dumpling houses, along with more than the normal amount of places carrying the Shanghai banner. But even in Manhattan Chinatown, most of the best places are Cantonese. On the non-Cantonese side my favorites would be Shanghai Cafe, plus just about any of the dumpling houses such as Prosperity, Tasty, and Vanessa's.
re: Peter Cherches
There's still a Tai Shan Restaurant in Washington DC Chinatown. Also, there used to be a Tai Shan Seafood restaurant in the 80s or 90s on Mott St., I believe at the location currently occupied by the Dining Room Management Group restaurant (I forget the new name for that enterprise).
104 Mott St, New York, NY 10013