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Chinatown Prix Fixe for large group

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ilny Dec 20, 2010 11:19 AM

I read over at Yelp about East Boat Lobster Restaurant's prix fixe for 6 at $155.00 which breaks down to about $25.00/person. And the entire meal delivers roughly 15 dishes with a focus on fresh seafood. Do any of you know of other restaurants in Chinatown that provide prix fixe menu such as this? I'm planning a dinner for next week and think it's a real convenience to just be able to tell my friends, bring $30 and you're set for the night. I appreciate any leads guys, thanks in advance.

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    fourunder RE: ilny Dec 20, 2010 03:49 PM

    I could be wrong, but I believe the correct term for describing the meals you describe are "Family Dinners" or "Banquet", not price fixe. Just about every restaurant has them on the Chinese Menu....You can get these for under $100 for 4 diners.....usually priced in denominations of $88. 188. and 288. The higher the price, the more entrees and better quality of ingredients.. The reason for the eights is to signify good luck.

    I think you'll be let down if you believe you will automatically receive approximately 15 dishes in any restaurant .....maybe some, but definitely not in the better ones.

    8 Replies
    1. re: fourunder
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      ilny RE: fourunder Dec 20, 2010 07:42 PM

      Thanks you! I used "prix fixe" and assumed 15 dishes due to a review on Yelp about East Boat, obviously I am not familiar with this type of family dinner package. You mentioned just about any restaurant will accommodate such a dinner, can you recommend a few good ones? My friends and I would especially like to enjoy some fresh seafood. Thanks again.

      1. re: ilny
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        fourunder RE: ilny Dec 21, 2010 04:50 AM

        Both the suggestions of South China Garden and Congee Bowery made by Pan and Coasts are excellent and reliable ones. I have had good meals at both. Admittedly, I do not get to Chinatown much for dinners any longer, so I may not be the best to recommend what's currently popular. Unlike others, I tend to go where I have enjoyed the food in the past, even though I have had a poor selection along the way. I'm not usually one to give up on a restaurant for such a miscue. I'm not really familiar with anything on East Broadway, but from a review and suggestion from (scoopG), I had put American East Fuzhou Restaurant on the short list to try.....I do not know if it is even open though....

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/480749

        For nostalgic reasons I like the two following places, but they do not get a lot of love on this site.

        http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

        http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

        If none of these seem appealing, my suggestion would be to walk up and down Bowery, Mott or Division and look for any restaurant with the live tanks......you'll be assured of getting fresh fish. There's a restaurant directly across the street from Grand Harmony on Mott that's been recommended to me, but I cannot recall the name of the restaurant

        be warned, though....the fresh fish is priced according to market value and pounds. A fish may be, e.g., 25 bucks per pound, but the fish will be 2-3 pound in weight. Some find this to be deceptive, however, I do not.

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        South China Garden
        22 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

        Congee Bowery
        207 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

        1. re: fourunder
          scoopG RE: fourunder Dec 21, 2010 05:06 AM

          Good memory fourunder! Sadly American East Fuzhou is no more! Replaced by another, less adventurous place.

          1. re: scoopG
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            fourunder RE: scoopG Dec 21, 2010 05:18 AM

            As they say.... you snooze, you lose.......My bad, I lost, ....sadly another missed opportunity.

            1. re: scoopG
              Chandavkl RE: scoopG Dec 21, 2010 08:48 PM

              You're kidding. That place was there forever. Or at least ever since that block turned Fujian. At least the Chinatown storefront gallery still shows it.

              http://www.nychinatown.org/storefront...

        2. re: fourunder
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          Pan RE: fourunder Dec 20, 2010 09:38 PM

          Yeah. Like fourunder said, at South China Garden, for example, there is a $200 Chinese-only banquet set. We've ordered based on it, with some additions and subtractions (I don't like frog, for example).

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          South China Garden
          22 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

          1. re: Pan
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            ilny RE: Pan Dec 21, 2010 09:14 AM

            Just curious, what do you mean by "Chinese-only banquet set"... does that mean the menu is only written in Chinese? Would I have trouble trying to order without being able to read Chinese?
            Also, at your $200 dinner, how many people were in your party and roughly how many dishes were served?

            The truth is I've dined with large groups of friends many times before in Chinatown, but we always seem to order the same dishes on our own, and not only miss out on trying new things but the bill can become an issue because some people just want to pay the cost of their own dishes ( and I'm always stuck paying the most for some reason). I'm attracted to this family dinner set because I think it can offer us an opportunity to try the restaurant's highlights and all around good spread of proteins, carbs, soups, veg etc.... And I'd like nothing more than to just tell all my friends bring ie: $40 bucks and we'll all be sampling 10 great chef selections - something like that.

            THanks again for your input!

            1. re: ilny
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              Pan RE: ilny Dec 21, 2010 09:18 AM

              Yes, those banquet sets are on a separate piece of plastic (or laminated paper) and are only in the Chinese language. We actually got a couple of banquet sets for 19 people (though they were modified). I don't know how easy it would be for you to get exactly what's on the set if you can't read the dishes (as we can't). It seemed to us that the waiter told us some of the dishes, others not mentioned were brought, and we also made some substitutions and additions.

              By the way, $40 is a very possible amount. One time, we paid $43/person including tip, which was more than I was expecting, but it was a great meal.

        3. coasts RE: ilny Dec 20, 2010 07:44 PM

          Congee Bowery does this...i haven't tried it myself, but they have a few options on banquet style meals.

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          Congee Bowery
          207 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

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            AubWah RE: ilny Dec 21, 2010 05:21 AM

            Your best bet is South China Garden...which I insist on still calling by its last name Cantoon Garden...It will always be Cantoon to me. The restaurant is located at 22 Elizabeth Street.

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              fourunder RE: ilny Dec 21, 2010 07:34 AM

              Anybody.....How's Amazing 66 these days. I always enjoyed it there as well.

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              Amazing 66
              66 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

              3 Replies
              1. re: fourunder
                erica RE: fourunder Dec 21, 2010 11:47 AM

                I think Amazing 66 might be good for you since some of the staff speak English well enough to be able to help you put together a personalized banquet menu. I've not been in a year, though, so cannot vouch for the current state of the place..do a search for reviews here and then pick out what sounds good and take the list, in person, to this, or any other restaurant you choose. Sit down with them and plan the feast.

                You go with a group and share food and then each person wants to pay only for what he or she ordered, not split the bill??? Tacky to the 10th degree, in my book.

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                Amazing 66
                66 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                1. re: erica
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                  Pan RE: erica Dec 21, 2010 02:15 PM

                  [Reaction to your last paragraph:] That's totally unacceptable at a banquet, in my opinion.

                  I think every other restaurant we've discussed in this thread also has English-speaking staff willing to work with patrons at a banquet.

                  1. re: erica
                    scoopG RE: erica Dec 21, 2010 04:24 PM

                    I wasn't going to mention anything erica, but since you raised it....ilny, the Chinese eat communally or family style. Every dish is meant to be shared by all at the table. No one dish is ordered to be eaten by only one participant. Somebody doesn't eat shrimp? No problem, that person either skips the dish or eats around the shrimp. One person doesn't like mushrooms? Again that does not prevent a dish with mushrooms from being ordered. The enjoyment of the entire group outweighs that of the individual. With this idea of sharing, then different protein dishes are ordered (pork, chicken, fish, beef, lamb, seafood, tofu etc) with different cooking styles (too many to mention: stir-fry, dry-fry, braised, dry-braised, steamed...) Attention will be paid to making sure there are differing textures among the dishes. Furthermore, it is incumbent upon each diner not to "hog" any one dish or to appear to be cherry picking the best items from any dish.

                    Edit: Money seems to be an issue with your pals. Please remember though to tip well. In Chinatown over 60% of the Chinese are foreign born and have less then a high school education. 50% only speak Mandarin, Fujianese or Cantonese. Wages are 50% lower than the regional New York average and 20% live in poverty.

                2. bigjeff RE: ilny Dec 23, 2010 06:23 PM

                  haven't had a banquet meal for awhile but they are easy to handle, yup. how big will your group be? cantonese-style does this easily and you'll get the full mix, but I haven't had enough of these recently to point you to a specific place or specific set menu. Lau?

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