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Help! all our Chinese takeouts are closing!

  • r

What is with all the Chinese restaurants closing down? We just lost Hunan Ritz in New Rochelle and Lotus King in Eastchester. Meanwhile, overpriced mediocre Asian Fusion spots are proliferating - for example, Haiku, SouthEast Asian, and Gourment Noodle. They all have similar menus - a General Tso's chicken, a Thai curry, some sushi, maybe a Malaysian dish, some grilled salmon with something sweet and fruity on it, and some noodles. I suspect that Chinese restaurant owners have decided that Asian Fusion has a higher profit margin and are all converting.

I am very depressed. The Chinese takeouts aren't great, but neither are the Asian Fusion places, and those are twice the price. Where can I go now for my Friday night MaPo tofu and dumplings?

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Hunan Ritz
636 Columbus Ave, Thornwood, NY 10594

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  1. Having moved back to lower Westchester a year ago I have noticed the same thing. All the good places are gone, the ones left are mediocre and I won't even think of going to the fusion places. They are overpriced and Americanized. I have given up on Chinese around here and now only get it in Queens.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JMF

      delivers in our area and is tasty is Panda Pavillion out of Greenwich. in white plains try hong kong chef. used to have the best pork fried rice and egg rolls with that great ground meat product that was reddish brown. hartsdale/white plains also has the place across from tj maxx on central ave. great ribs if they are over-done a bit so as to get burnt tips...

    2. rgny, I feel your pain. Last year a little Chinese takeout opened by the train station in Scarsdale. Nothing fancy--just good, not-too-greasy takeout mainstays like chicken and broccoli and egg rolls. It abruptly closed this past summer without a word. I went there for lunch one day, and my DH stopped for dinner the next night and it was gone!

      3 Replies
      1. re: iluvcookies

        It was a bad location. Especially with all the construction on the bridge.

        1. re: valerie

          Convenient enough if one was walking from the train station though. They closed right before the construction started.

        2. re: iluvcookies

          I was also very sad to see Rich Restaurant in Scarsdale close. Very nice people and the food was very good. I drove from one side of Scarsdale to the other to pick up food there pretty often. That construction totally killed them.

        3. All due respect, but have you had the food at either of the places you mentioned recently? I've tried both and they were awful. East Bamboo across from Lotus King is far better, much fresher, and the delivery time is preparation time is almost instantaneous. The most I've ever waited for delivery was 20 minutes and that was on a Friday night. While I haven't been to Haiku, I have heard good things about Wild Ginger. There is also a place in Fleetwood on Grammatan that is a fusion place and while I only had the sushi and sashimi and ate there, it was fantastic. There are also Chinese places in Crestwood and Tuckahoe. Not as good as East Bamboo, but much better than Lotus King and Hunan Ritz. Not sure if you want to travel this far, but Pagoda on Central Ave is amazing.

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          Wild Ginger
          48 Great Neck Rd, Great Neck, NY 11021

          East Bamboo
          17 Mill Rd, Eastchester, NY 10709

          Hunan Ritz
          636 Columbus Ave, Thornwood, NY 10594

          16 Replies
          1. re: jhopp217

            Has Pagoda improved? I haven't been there in a while--a few years--after a series of disappointing meals. If they are back on track I have to give them a shot.

            1. re: jhopp217

              Can't agree that the take out places are better than Hunan Ritz was (though the service in Hell is presumably better, at least friendlier). Of the take outs, try to get to Tuckahoe by the station (and for my money East Bamboo is passable but over-rated here).

              1. re: jhopp217

                I've eaten at East Bamboo many times, and will probably revert to them. I'll bet anything they will close too, though, and turn into an overpriced Asian Fusion place. The place by the train station in Crestwood is vile.
                I see people complaining about the service at Hunan Ritz. One of the reasons we got takeout there was because they were so nice to my kids, especially my little daughter. They always gave her Chinese candy and made a fuss. Two nights before they closed, we were there and they gave Halloween candy to all my kids. There was no sign of any problem. They also were willing to make my Mapo Tofu in real Sichuan style (I would always remind them - extra extra spicy) since they knew I had been to SIchuan.
                I do not like Wild Ginger. Generic Asian Fusion...

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                Wild Ginger
                48 Great Neck Rd, Great Neck, NY 11021

                East Bamboo
                17 Mill Rd, Eastchester, NY 10709

                Hunan Ritz
                636 Columbus Ave, Thornwood, NY 10594

                1. re: rgny

                  Agree on the Crestwood station. The one at Tuckahoe is a notch better, but it is what it is.

                2. re: jhopp217

                  That's true, Spring Asian has some great dishes. A few are a bit Americanized. But in general they are very good. There prices are a bit higher than I'd like.

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                  Spring Asian Restaurant
                  525 Gramatan Ave, Mount Vernon, NY 10552

                  1. re: jhopp217

                    I tried East Bamboo a few times. It was very inconsistent from visit to visit. Also a few dishes were good and a few were terrible. It's been a few months since I went last. I went because you said so much stuff about it, but my last visit the food was so poor I threw much of it out.

                    1. re: JMF

                      I sometimes wonder what people look for in Chinese food. I've had takeout and eat in in probably twenty places and the food is always awful in every place other than East Bamboo and Pagoda. I think Chinese, more than any other cuisine is truly a matter of preference. I see people mentioning the place near Crestwood and Tuckahoe train stations and I can barely stomach eating at those places. Lotus King was awful and Hunan Ritz even worse. Maybe I don't know Chinese food, but after going to Chinatown(s) in NY many times as a kid and when I was in SF, other than true Dim Sum places, East Bamboo is about as good as it gets in my opinion.

                      On a side note, their fried chicken is some of the best I've had...and that includes some soul food places.

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                      East Bamboo
                      17 Mill Rd, Eastchester, NY 10709

                      Hunan Ritz
                      636 Columbus Ave, Thornwood, NY 10594

                      1. re: jhopp217

                        I look for flavor, the foods not greasy, has fresh tasting ingredients, sauces are not too sweet, sauces aren't all cornstarch, fried items that aren't all batter, food is prepared with care, and things like that.

                        I eat a lot of real, ethnic, regional Chinese food in Flushing and Manhattan Chinatown. Which bears no resemblance to Suburbs style American/Chinese.

                        I can accept American/Chinese food for what it is. But I feel that the quality level overall, in my area (Yonkers, Bronxville, Tuckahoe, Eastchester) has gone way down hill the past five to ten years. I remember the old Hunan Village on Central Ave in Yonkers. Not the past decade when Paul was there, but back in the 70's-80's, and it was excellent American Chinese. As was Hunan Hut/Hunan III in Bronxville when it first opened in the 80's. And also Calvin's in Bronxville when they first opened. Now I have been to almost every place within a ten minute drive and they all seem terrible.

                        1. re: JMF

                          Someone told me last night that Hartsdale Gardens is going to re-open. I remember back when I was younger that was worth traveling to. I heard it's going to be the old owners.

                          I completely agree that in Chinatown in NYC is completely different, because it's not Chinese/American. There are no bamboo shoots at East Bamboo or jellyfish, but as far as Chinese/American goes, I don't think it's bad. Another thing about them (and something almost everyone I know feels funny doing) is that they will cook to order. I got something that was listed as spicy and made a comment the next time I went it. They told me, to always ask for it spicy, because they get so many complaints when things marked spicy are actually too spicy.

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                          East Bamboo
                          17 Mill Rd, Eastchester, NY 10709

                          1. re: jhopp217

                            I have asked repeatedly at East Bamboo for spicy, and all they do is throw in those flavorless dried chile peppers, fry them until they are burnt, adding a nasty burnt taste, and since they are dried, and whole, they add no heat.

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                            East Bamboo
                            17 Mill Rd, Eastchester, NY 10709

                        2. re: jhopp217

                          I've actually spent time in China, in SIchuan province in fact, so I have a pretty good idea of what Chinese food is about. And yeah, it isn't anything like Chinese-American takeout food. Just as Italian food is nothing like American red-sauce joints - but they are both good in their own way. I definitely prefer Chinese-American takeout to Asian Fusion, which is pretentious, overpriced, and too darn sweet. That stuff has NO similarity to anything I saw in China.

                          For real Sichuanese food in the NYC region, go to Spicy & Tasty in Flushing

                          1. re: rgny

                            their dan dan noodles are addictive...

                          2. re: jhopp217

                            On your say so I just had the fried chicken. Meh? Guess we are all entitled to an opinion. Or maybe I shouldn't be so picky, since the area is bereft of decent take-out.

                          3. re: JMF

                            JMF. I went last night and I must say, based on last nights visit, I have to agree. I muust admit, I have not had any food from there for about six months, for no other reason than I've been cutting back on take-out (although dining out a little more). I didn't get anything crazy, just steamed pork dumplings and a General Tso's combo platter, which came with an egg roll.. The dumplings were overly thick and heavy. The chicken was awful. No sweetness, no spice and for the first time ever that I've been there - some pieces were actually burnt. There was very little sauce and what was there was pretty poor. I'll give them a pass this time, but if it's that bad next time, I too may have to find another place...or just go back to my old places...Golden Duck and Chop Stix on Garth Rd.

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                            Chop Stix
                            46 Garth Rd, Scarsdale, NY 10583

                          4. re: jhopp217

                            Which fusion place in Fleetwood? Spring Asian or Yoshino (which has great sushi)?

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                            Spring Asian Restaurant
                            525 Gramatan Ave, Mount Vernon, NY 10552

                            1. re: rolise

                              I went to Spring Asian. Thought it was very good. I'll have to check out the other place.

                              -----
                              Spring Asian Restaurant
                              525 Gramatan Ave, Mount Vernon, NY 10552

                          5. rgny-- Sure, Asian Fusion places have similar menu items, but so do.... Chinese Takeouts! At least the fusion places have fresher vegetables, brighter flavors, and more interesting dishes.

                            Chinese takeout places are just about universally AWFUL.

                            My favorite fusion place is Penang, in Greenwich Ct. Great stuff. And the "Duck Fajitas" at Wild Ginger and Watermoon are really a brilliant, wonderful creative dish.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: menton1

                              But they are also twice as expensive, and don't work for kids. Plus, the food is always too sweet for my taste.
                              I guarantee you that half those generic Asian Fusion places are being run by the same Chinese restaurant families who used to be doing the takeouts. Higher profit margins, and all that... There is just too much consistency between the menus.

                            2. Have been ordering happily from Hunan Ritz for 3 years. Their shrimp with broccoli consisted of jumbo shrimp in a delicate white wine sauce. Have eaten it almost every Friday for 3 years. Ordered same from East Bamboo today and got small shrimp in a sticky brown sauce with that yellow fried rice, the color of Mexican rice. They also don't have any of the Japanese items that Hunan had, like delicious gyozo and sushi rolls, edamame or avocado salad. The good days are over.