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Help! all our Chinese takeouts are closing!

r
rgny Nov 20, 2010 06:57 AM

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. JMF RE: rgny Nov 20, 2010 11:50 AM

    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
      c
      cubanat RE: JMF Nov 20, 2010 02:15 PM

      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. iluvcookies RE: rgny Nov 20, 2010 05:57 PM

      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
        v
        valerie RE: iluvcookies Nov 22, 2010 02:47 PM

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

        1. re: valerie
          iluvcookies RE: valerie Nov 22, 2010 06:31 PM

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

        2. re: iluvcookies
          p
          PlasticMoonRain RE: iluvcookies Nov 22, 2010 07:11 PM

          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. j
          jhopp217 RE: rgny Nov 22, 2010 02:41 PM

          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.

          -----
          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
            iluvcookies RE: jhopp217 Nov 22, 2010 06:30 PM

            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
              a
              addictedtolunch RE: jhopp217 Nov 22, 2010 07:15 PM

              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
                r
                rgny RE: jhopp217 Nov 23, 2010 02:43 AM

                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...

                -----
                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
                  a
                  addictedtolunch RE: rgny Nov 23, 2010 02:30 PM

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

                2. re: jhopp217
                  JMF RE: jhopp217 Nov 24, 2010 07:43 AM

                  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.

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

                  1. re: jhopp217
                    JMF RE: jhopp217 Nov 24, 2010 07:45 AM

                    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
                      j
                      jhopp217 RE: JMF Dec 2, 2010 05:32 AM

                      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.

                      -----
                      East Bamboo
                      17 Mill Rd, Eastchester, NY 10709

                      Hunan Ritz
                      636 Columbus Ave, Thornwood, NY 10594

                      1. re: jhopp217
                        JMF RE: jhopp217 Dec 2, 2010 08:18 AM

                        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
                          j
                          jhopp217 RE: JMF Dec 2, 2010 08:30 AM

                          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.

                          -----
                          East Bamboo
                          17 Mill Rd, Eastchester, NY 10709

                          1. re: jhopp217
                            JMF RE: jhopp217 Dec 2, 2010 12:36 PM

                            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.

                            -----
                            East Bamboo
                            17 Mill Rd, Eastchester, NY 10709

                        2. re: jhopp217
                          r
                          rgny RE: jhopp217 Dec 2, 2010 05:28 PM

                          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
                            c
                            cubanat RE: rgny Dec 3, 2010 06:53 PM

                            their dan dan noodles are addictive...

                          2. re: jhopp217
                            a
                            addictedtolunch RE: jhopp217 Dec 3, 2010 12:31 PM

                            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
                            j
                            jhopp217 RE: JMF Jan 18, 2011 05:00 AM

                            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.

                            -----
                            Chop Stix
                            46 Garth Rd, Scarsdale, NY 10583

                          4. re: jhopp217
                            r
                            rolise RE: jhopp217 Dec 8, 2010 08:19 AM

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

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

                            1. re: rolise
                              j
                              jhopp217 RE: rolise Jan 3, 2011 06:04 AM

                              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. menton1 RE: rgny Nov 23, 2010 01:52 PM

                            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
                              r
                              rgny RE: menton1 Nov 23, 2010 02:22 PM

                              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. a
                              annrudy RE: rgny Nov 24, 2010 10:37 AM

                              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.

                              1. c
                                cloverose RE: rgny Dec 2, 2010 04:25 PM

                                I agree about the lack of Chinese restaurants. Never was a fan of Hunan Ritz or Lotus King myself, so I can't mourn the loss too much. When I must have my weekly Chinese food fix, I opt for Red Ruby on North Avenue (off Mayflower) in New Rochelle (near Iona -- a few doors down from Dunkin Donuts). You wouldn't want the table service, it's basically a take-out/delivery place, but the Chinese food is fresh, well prepared and plentiful. They have the biggest best shrimp and give you lots of them. Dumplings are homemade and good. If I want to sit and eat, I might go to Pelham Palace on Wolf's Lane in Pelham -- formerly China Palace, but they added Japanese food. Chinese food is pretty decent, but I'd stay away from the Japanese.

                                -----
                                Pelham Palace
                                221 Wolfs Ln, Pelham, NY 10803

                                1. r
                                  rich51 RE: rgny Dec 4, 2010 11:53 AM

                                  may take some searching,as most are not memorable,but alot of the little holes in the wall that are almost entirely take-out are still around and offer most of the same dishes. chinese on north ave by iona for one(towards city hall)

                                  1. c
                                    cloverose RE: rgny Jan 2, 2011 07:40 AM

                                    2011 Update. I just drove down Mill Road and noticed a new Chinese restaurant has replaced Lotus King in the same spot. It is called King and doesn't look substantially different, so it may be the same owners ...? Has anyone tried it yet? They also serve Japanese food, which is not a good sign.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: cloverose
                                      j
                                      jhopp217 RE: cloverose Jan 3, 2011 05:56 AM

                                      I believe it's called David King. I heard it is going to be an Asian fusion restaurant.

                                      1. re: jhopp217
                                        r
                                        rgny RE: jhopp217 Jan 16, 2011 04:08 PM

                                        It is standard Chinese takeout with a few of the standard "fusion" dishes (the ever-present Malaysian curry and "Thai Mango Sauce" and Pad Thai. Just reinforces my belief that the Chinese restaurant owners are all getting into "Asian Fusion" to jack up their prices. Anyway, we tried it and it was dreadful. Dumplings like lead - they were not even packed right so they were all glued together - and ma po tofu that didn't have a hint of spice in it anywhere.

                                        I found out that Hunan Ritz closed because their building was structurally unsound. They claim they will reopen after repairs, but who knows.

                                        -----
                                        Hunan Ritz
                                        636 Columbus Ave, Thornwood, NY 10594

                                        1. re: jhopp217
                                          j
                                          Jon1856 RE: jhopp217 Jun 18, 2011 09:03 AM

                                          Dav id King in Eastchester on Mill Road is the second location of restaurant of same name in White Plains.

                                      2. chowdom RE: rgny Jan 2, 2011 11:24 AM

                                        I noticed when driving by today a sign in the window of the now empty Hunan Village on Central Ave that I think read China Gem coming soon.

                                        14 Replies
                                        1. re: chowdom
                                          JMF RE: chowdom Jan 16, 2011 04:59 PM

                                          It's called Gem Cuisines of China, and I hope it is some real, regional Chinese; or at least top notch American riffs on Chinese cuisines.

                                          1. re: JMF
                                            chowdom RE: JMF Jan 16, 2011 06:41 PM

                                            thx we can only hope

                                            1. re: JMF
                                              JMF RE: JMF Jan 18, 2011 02:55 PM

                                              Sign went up today at Gem... "Coming Soon. Paul is back!"

                                              1. re: JMF
                                                chowdom RE: JMF Jan 18, 2011 03:45 PM

                                                There is a God.

                                              2. re: JMF
                                                menton1 RE: JMF Jan 19, 2011 06:13 AM

                                                Americans don't want REAL Chinese, unless you like things like Pig's Jowls...

                                                1. re: menton1
                                                  JMF RE: menton1 Jan 19, 2011 09:11 AM

                                                  Maybe the folks you know. Around here we want the real deal.

                                                  1. re: JMF
                                                    jcmods RE: JMF Jan 20, 2011 11:36 AM

                                                    Are you suggesting that Hunan will be the "real deal?" I moved back to the area right after the celebrated Chef Paul left. Not that we want to eliminate the more old school chinese. But the real deal would be great too. The only time I ever had the real thing was a place in Morristown called "China Chalet" which was the Szechuan drowning in the red pepper sauce.

                                                    1. re: jcmods
                                                      JMF RE: jcmods Jan 20, 2011 01:23 PM

                                                      You have to get yourself to Flushing...

                                                    2. re: JMF
                                                      menton1 RE: JMF Jan 20, 2011 06:10 PM

                                                      "Around here, 'we' want the real deal. "

                                                      Not based on the reviews on this thread. Probably less than 5% want pig jowls, even "here".

                                                      1. re: menton1
                                                        JMF RE: menton1 Jan 21, 2011 05:31 AM

                                                        Who said anything bout pig jowls. You read a lot into a post and make assumptions. Although I do like things like that, for myself; for others just trying the various cuisines with less adventuresome dishes is worthwhile. Actually jowls aren't adventuresome.

                                                        1. re: menton1
                                                          r
                                                          rgny RE: menton1 Jan 21, 2011 07:03 AM

                                                          You know, it is possible to like the "real deal" and still enjoy good ol' Chinese-American takeout food. I've been to China, and loved the food - in fact, am planning a trip to Chengdu this summer to get more of that great Sichuanese food. But I still enjoy a shrimp lo mein, or egg roll, or hot and sour soup from a decent takeout.

                                                          Has anyone here read The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, by Jennifer 8 Lee? I had the privilege of seeing her speak at a Chinese-American awards dinner once. She was hilarious. She went around China showing people photos of General Tso's Chicken, and then recorded their baffled responses. We were all rolling with laughter.

                                                          1. re: rgny
                                                            jcmods RE: rgny Jan 21, 2011 08:08 AM

                                                            Does she explain why all the dishes are practically the same coast to coast? (General Tso being a great example). I have always wondered about that. There are so many regions and cuisines in China yet at least 90% of the takeout joints have dishes with the same names and roughly the same ingredients. Is all this uniformity achieved by word of mouth? Or is there a central cooking school where everyone learns to make these dishes?

                                                            It's almost as if mass waves of American Immigrants show up in Russia and, whether you live in Moscow or Vladivostok, you all open these "American Takeout" places that all have the same menu. But it would be an idealized menu that has no resemblence to anything we actually eat....something like: Paris Hilton's LA Pizza (Beschamel and avocado on focaccia).

                                                            1. re: jcmods
                                                              r
                                                              rgny RE: jcmods Feb 7, 2011 06:58 PM

                                                              She riffs extensively on the theme of the sameness of Chinese food across the country. It is really a funny book

                                                      2. re: menton1
                                                        iluvcookies RE: menton1 Jan 20, 2011 05:38 PM

                                                        I would be THRILLED if I could get good pig jowls in Westchester. Or Char siu, xiao long bao, gai mei bao, intestine noodles, chicken feet like my friend's Fujianese mom used to make them, a decent batch of shui mai, mai fun with pork dumplings, congee...

                                                        And I'm a 3rd generation American who just happened to grow up a stone's throw from Chinatown.

                                                  2. jcmods RE: rgny Jan 17, 2011 02:41 PM

                                                    Great Wall in Fleetwood is still around. They are so old school they still have Chop Suey on the menu. After living in PA for 10 years I had forgotten that places still serve that. I thought it went out in the 70's.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: jcmods
                                                      menton1 RE: jcmods Jan 19, 2011 06:12 AM

                                                      How is Chop Suey different from Chow Mein? Or is it pick your poison?

                                                      1. re: menton1
                                                        jcmods RE: menton1 Jan 20, 2011 11:39 AM

                                                        Never realized they were the same. Haven't actually eaten those things since summer camp in the 70's. I find that too many "suburban" chinese joints load up the dish with water chestnuts or some other very bland boring thing. That's one of the reasons I always used to order "chicken and broccoli" or some such variation. (the other standby was lo mein or singapore rice noodles). It was the only thing that was not 90% water chestnuts and baby corn. Know what I mean?

                                                        1. re: menton1
                                                          JMF RE: menton1 Jan 21, 2011 05:41 AM

                                                          They aren't the same. Chop Suey is basically an American invention; it's, meat and veggies in a brown sauce, served over rice. American Chow Mein is a spin on the Chinese dish and means stir fried noodles, usually the crispy noodles, with meat, poultry, or seafood; usually served over the crispy noodles. recipes for both vary greatly around the country, but chop suey is served over rice, chow mein over crispy or soft noodles.

                                                          1. re: JMF
                                                            menton1 RE: JMF Jan 21, 2011 05:42 AM

                                                            Both sound pretty yukky.

                                                            1. re: JMF
                                                              jcmods RE: JMF Jan 21, 2011 05:51 AM

                                                              Yes, it was those crispy noodles from a can that I outgrew (LOL). CHUN KING or something like that. I may draw the line at eyballs, and chicken anus on a stick.... but I wouldn't mind some authentic regional chinese food that is not all brown sauce and water chestnuts. It doesn't even have to be the real deal Szechuan like the China Chalet (in Florham Park NJ).

                                                              What made Hunan on Central Ave in its heyday so great?

                                                              1. re: jcmods
                                                                menton1 RE: jcmods Jan 21, 2011 06:50 AM

                                                                You'll need the Whitestone Bridge for this one, but check out these photos, partucularly the "potato salad". Looks awesome.

                                                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/lawandfo...

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