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Gem Cuisines of China, former Hunan Village in Yonkers... Paul is Back!

  • JMF Jan 18, 2011 02:53 PM
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Gem Cuisines of China, in the former Hunan Village space on Central Ave in Yonkers is opening soon. Today a sign was up, "Paul is back!"

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  1. I had no expectations when I saw the Gem Cuisine coming soon sign last week. To say I am pleasantly surprised is an understatement thank you for posting the good news.

    6 Replies
    1. re: chowdom

      Very good news to brighten up a dreary winter day. I hope they'll be open for Chinese New Year.

      1. re: Maryld

        Paul is an old friend of mine and I spoke to him today. He will not be opening up for a while...probably sometime in March so no Chinese New Year this time around.

      2. re: chowdom

        Still can't find anything online to prove this place exists!
        Has anyone actually eaten there? Can anyone kindly provide contact info, menu, any updates?
        Much appreciated.

        1. re: mrsdebdav

          They have not opened yet. I still see a car or two and a van in the parking lot when I pass by maybe once a week or so. I have not actually seen any activity or people. I was wondering myself what might be happening.

          1. re: mrsdebdav

            I stopped by last week and found Paul there. He said they will open in April.

            1. re: Momokoosh

              Thanks, Momokoosh. Hope he does well (and really hope they have great veg options!).

        2. Husband knew Paul and Ben very well. We had our 1st date there in April of 1988. How can we get a message to Paul to say we're happy he's back and can't wait to see him and eat in his restaurant. Worth the hour drive for us to go there.

          2 Replies
          1. re: EDU

            Just call the restaurant during the day. He is there a lot of the time and he will answer the phone.

            1. re: foodace

              Does anyone have the phone number for Gem? I drive by often to see whether they've often, but still no visible activity. Thanks.

          2. They have opened

            4 Replies
            1. re: chowdom

              Did you go? Or just drive by and see a sign? I've been out of town for a week and haven't been past there.

              1. re: JMF

                We had dinner and it was surprisingly terrible. Everything was bland bordering on tasteless and had the same cornstarchy consistency in addition my soup dumplings were still raw. We had one bite each of our entrees and left the rest. Our waiter asked us if everything was okay and we pretty much told him what I wrote here he asked if we wanted to take the leftovers and we said no. He cleared our plates and dropped our check without saying a word to anyone including us. We brought the check to the register ourselves and said something to the cashier who apparently does not understand English...The menu is extremely limited aproximately 20 or so entrees with a price range from 17 to 32 with the average dish in the mid 20's.

                1. re: chowdom

                  Wow, that is incredibly disappointing. We were really excited about this. The worst part for me is their apparent apathy.

                  1. re: chowdom

                    That is a crying shame!

              2. Some photos of last nights meal and the menu. I did not take a pic of the appetizer page of the menu.

                 
                 
                 
                 
                7 Replies
                1. re: chowdom

                  Forgot the soup dumplings

                   
                  1. re: chowdom

                    Just the idea of raw soup dumplings makes me gag.

                    1. re: foodiemom10583

                      Yup

                    2. re: chowdom

                      We all know Paul. Letr's give him a chance. Yea the food looks bad, but we are going to go and give it a try and form our own conclusion. We might find it the same, or hopefully better and he worked out the problems.

                      1. re: EDU

                        I am with you and really hope things get better. In their defense they have only been open a for a couple of weeks however the current menu just doesn't do it for me.

                        1. re: chowdom

                          There should be a warning on those pictures : View at Your Own Risk. Truly dissrescptful to Chinese food. Looks like they just think customers are stupid and will pay a ton for sloppy crap disguised as fake haute chinese

                          1. re: AubWah

                            I do not doubt that the pictures are portraying what chowdown received, but if we all jump to a conclusion without giving someone we trusted a chance then we were'nt really his true customers. Let's give him a few months and see what happens. I hope it works out for him and things turn around so we all have a great place to have Cinese food once again.

                  2. Hubby and I ate there for lunch last weekend. Bottom line, underwhelming, but we both agreed that we'd go back to see if they work the kinks out. The new decor--very modern--is heavy, dark, and austere. I'd have preferred the old paper dragon. With only half a dozen or so tables seated, the waitstaff seemed unoccupied and kept hovering in an uncomfortable way too close to our table. Service was quite slow. We waited a long time for our appetizers and a long time again for the entrees. Hubby wanted a pot of tea, but they only offered by-the-cup out of a chest. As others have noted, the menu is not your typical Chinese--rack of lamb, for example--and only 2 pages long. We ordered 3 appetizers: pork dumplings (good--reminded me of Haiku's gyoza w/o the pan-fried texture), tofu spring rolls (bland), and scallion pancakces (also pictured above--tasty but oily). Our entrees were the duck (which I rather liked but hubby, the foodie, thought fair), the short ribs (not bad), and the angel hair pasta, which was semi-crisp and served w/chicken, beef, and vegetables. I'm glad we got the latter, because otherwise the meal would have lacked the more typical Chinese restaurant veggies. The other entrees came with a slice of pumpkin, which we both thought odd. There was also spinach under the ribs. We had to ask for rice. The bill, not including drinks, came to nearly $100, so prices are reminiscent of the old Hunan Village. While I wouldn't say portions were too small, they weren't large either, and we had no leftovers. Not a restaurant for today's budget conscious.

                    24 Replies
                    1. re: BeckysBelly

                      Have any of you, who have been to the restaurant recently, seen or talked to Paul?

                      1. re: ToshiroMifune

                        Love your moniker. Big Kurosawa fan? I had the pleasure of meeting Toshiro many yeras ago when he visited NYC. I was suprised how short he was as he usually towered over the other actors. They must have been really short! (Sorry off topic.)

                        On topic: I used to live in Hartsdale, now in NYC, but visit my sister in Hastings regularly. What is a GOOD Chinese restaurant in the Central Avenue area?

                        1. re: Stuartmc910

                          Yes, I'm a big Kurosawa fan from way back. I am totally jealous that you met “the man”. Since you emphasized “GOOD”, then stay in the city. I haven’t been to a really good Chinese place anywhere in Westchester since Paul (Hunan Village) would prepare special entrees that his chef was playing with. We never ordered from the menu. We just told Paul to feed us. Most of the time it was fabulous and equal to some of the best Manhattan places. The food in most of the Chinese places in Westchester is edible and sometimes you get lucky and have a delicious meal. But “GOOD”, you ain’t gonna get. Sorry. Hopefully, someone reading this could recommend one that is “good.” I have yet to find it.

                          1. re: ToshiroMifune

                            Have you been to Aberdeen on Barker Ave in White Plains? Authentic Cantonese and reliably good. Also, there is Central Seafood on Central Ave in the Best Buy shopping center. A step down from Aberdeen, in my opinion, but still decent.

                            -----
                            Central Seafood
                            285 N Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

                            1. re: ltlevy

                              Unfortunately, I rate Central Seafood along the same lines as Jade Garden - hit and miss. I've not tried Aberdeen. So that I have a basis of comparison, what restaurant(s) in NYC would you put in the same league as Aberdeen?

                              -----
                              Central Seafood
                              285 N Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

                              Jade Garden
                              876 Connetquot Ave Ste B, Islip Terrace, NY 11752

                              1. re: ToshiroMifune

                                We tend to hit Flushing for our authentic Chinese food fix. We enjoy the food at Full House, Corner 28, and Dong Yi Feng for dim sum.

                              2. re: ltlevy

                                Went to Aberdeen today for lunch. Sorry to say it was not as good as I hoped it would be. I ordered Chicken with mushrooms. The mushrooms were canned and the food was swimming in oil. The only flavor it had was chunks of ginger and oil.

                                1. re: ltlevy

                                  Has anyone tried Onn's in Bronxville, where Calvin's was? It's been open since March.

                                  1. re: Momokoosh

                                    Is it Chinese, or pan-Asian?

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      Onn's is traditional Chinese.

                                      1. re: Momokoosh

                                        The owners are apparently the former owners of Hunan Village.

                                        1. re: Momokoosh

                                          This is so surprising -- I live in Bronxville and had not been aware of this restaurant opening. I must have my head in the sand! Usually you get those brochures and circulars when a new place opens, but to my knowledge, we have not received anything.

                                        2. re: Momokoosh

                                          I just looked at the menu on line. Onn's is pan-Asian. Bronxville is one mile square. This is our third pan-Asian restaurant!

                                          http://www.onnsmenus.com/PDFFile/Onns...

                                2. re: Stuartmc910

                                  I like Jade Garden in Hartsdale but it depends who is in the kitchen. I have ordered the same dishes on several occasions sometimes the food is good and sometimes it is not... The last few times we have gone on a Saturday afternoon when they are serving alot of dim sum and the food has been good ( good is relative considering we are talking about Westchester County) PS I did not speak to Paul but he was within earshot when I was speaking to the cashier.

                                  1. re: chowdom

                                    Yes, Jade Garden is hit and miss (of the 4 times I’ve been there, the misses won out.) No consistency, so I can’t recommend it.

                                    -----
                                    Jade Garden
                                    876 Connetquot Ave Ste B, Islip Terrace, NY 11752

                                    1. re: ToshiroMifune

                                      You're correct about Jade Garden and Central Seafood. JG is more miss than hit so we stopped trying. I had lunch at Central Seafood once, alone, and the next visit with my sister and my wife it was awful. Aberdeen, is that in a mini-mall? I recall a Cantonese restaurant in a mini-mall on Baker Ave. many years ago that wasn't bad. Good noodle soups.

                                      -----
                                      Central Seafood
                                      285 N Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

                                      1. re: Stuartmc910

                                        Bao is the restaurant in the White Plains mall. Same mall as Kam Sen supermarket. Aberdeen is across the street in the same building as the Residence Inn.

                                        1. re: ltlevy

                                          Unfortunately, you're correct about Queens. If you want good Chinese food in Westchester, go to Queens.

                                          1. re: ToshiroMifune

                                            Or Brooklyn. Don't forget Brooklyn.

                                            1. re: foodiemom10583

                                              Yes, Brooklyn has some wonderful authentic Chinese food, but parking is a real bear there. Since I'm driving, I prefer Flushing which is much more car friendly.

                                              1. re: ltlevy

                                                Brooklyn has plenty of side-street parking. I grew up there. We never have a problem parking, even on holidays. We may have to walk a block, but it's worth it.

                                          2. re: ltlevy

                                            Bao's is our favorite Westchester Chinese restaurant -- consistently well-prepared, fresh and a pleasant, low-key (almost spa-like) atmosphere. Very quiet on weekends -- I guess the weekday lunch is scene is busier.

                                          3. re: Stuartmc910

                                            I think you are referring to Bao's I have not been there in a while but have friends that still go often and still enjoy the food. My last meal at Central Seafood was so bad and the service so atrocious I swore I would never go back.

                                            -----
                                            Central Seafood
                                            285 N Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

                                            1. re: chowdom

                                              Anyone from the Bronx in the 60's or 70's? Hom & Home or Yee's were the neighborhood restaurants

                                3. If you want to sit in a pretty restaurant and eat a light lunch and generate a check for over 100 dollars for a very light lunch, then Gem Cusines is the place for you. No tea, no drinks, no dessert was included. Food was fine but not spectacular, but the check was absurd. The place was empty except for one other couple and I do believe that the end is near for this business. We enlightened them. Perhaps they will change their modus operandi.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: hrhammer

                                    Unfortunately, I had the same impression as you. Pretty good food, but not as good as Hunan Village's, and pretty pricey for what you got. Too bad because the service was excellent and the staff were courteous.

                                  2. We had been big fans of Hunan Village (and before that "Peng's") on Central Avenue. So it was with some trepidation that we tried them for lunch yesterday. Since Hunan Village closed we have not been able to find a Chinese restaurant of that caliber. We were pleasantly surprised! Linda, who used to work at HV has returned and she was very pleasant as was our waiter Jack and the rest of the wait staff. The decor was very nice and added to the dining experience.

                                    The menu was short but Linda explained that we could order anything off the menu and the kitchen would be happy to prepare it. For an appetizer we had Crab Meat Balls Crowned with Crispy Greens and they were delicious! The taste was exquisite and the texture was delicate. For our main meals we relied on two favorites from HV; Peppercorn Chicken and Tingling Chicken. Both were even better than I remembered them! I hope Paul and Ben have a long and prosperous stay at their current location. I only wish I lived closer to Yonkers!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: romanthunder

                                      I'm glad that you enjoyed your lunch. It sounds very good. Our objection was to the value. For that area, the cost was ridiculous, and I don't think they will survive.

                                      1. re: romanthunder

                                        I am so glad your meal and the service was good. Will be going there this week-end. Can't wait to have good chinese food and see old friends.

                                      2. No website and no menu online is really a drag. Hey, Gem! Post up!!

                                        1. We had dinner there this weekend and can report that the food is as good as it ever was and it was a pleasure to see Paul again. Most of our former favorites are still on the menu, including the crispy shrimp and the tingling chicken, plus some new favorites. The up-dated decor is very cool, modern and comfortable . The service is up to Paul's high standards and the experience was outstanding. There are no other Chinese restaurants in Westchester that hold a candle to this one and Paul's return is the best news of the year.

                                          1. Was eager to try it because I liked Hunan Village. Did take out, thought the price st $100 was very steep for what we ordered. Although the food was good but not great, the portions were very small.
                                            For my money Aberdeen is still the way to go.

                                            1. Went to Gem last week with my wife and we were very much impressed. We were big fans of Hunan Village and were concerned that we'd be disappointed because we had high expectations. We weren't disappointed in the least. The service, Paul, ambience and especially the food were all first rate. A big welcome back!

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: JudgeZ

                                                Wow you all were lucky.Shared a meal with 3 people yesterday,and with the exception of the chicken with vinegar,this was on overpriced,lo-fan meal.Gloppy sauces,stingy portions,and amateurish service.We felt robbed,and will never set foot in this place again.

                                                1. re: JudgeZ

                                                  This restaurant is an abomination. We went for lunch and ordered two soups and four appetizers. The portions were the smallest I have ever had (for appetizers) at any restaurant anywhere in the world.
                                                  Dan dan noodles were greasy and bitter tasting. Cold noodles in sesame sauce were cloyingly sweet. Two swallows and each of these apps disappeared. Thimble sized would be a good description. Crispy tofu skin vegetable rolls turned out to be a single small roll cut into four dainty pieces. Scallion pancakes were good and crisp but about half the size I am used to.
                                                  Amazingly, the hot and sour soup was adequately sized but the soup was rather tasteless, even with the unique addition of straw mushrooms which did not enhance the taste.
                                                  High prices, sub-par taste, and tiny portions add up to massive ripoff. You have to pay for tea! Mr. Paul, you a rip-off artist of the first degree.
                                                  Any neighborhood Chinese joint can easily best these dishes at a fraction of the price.

                                                  1. re: budinado

                                                    Agree! Ate at Gem a while back and left feeling fleeced!!! Can't remember what the food was like because there was so little served and the prices were sky high. Seem to remember them charging us for rice which was so strange. They also served us metal chopsticks which couldn't hold a bit of food. Can someone explain why a terrible place like this is still in business...especially in this economy????

                                                2. Update: Gem Cuisines is now Tasty House, an Asian Fusion restaurant. I tried the website on the back of their menu, but it's not up yet.

                                                  http://www.tastyhouse1828.com

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                    I don't know if this is the same owners, but there's a Tasty House in Yonkers.
                                                    http://www.tastyhouseyonkers.com/menu...
                                                    I really hope it is, because they have mock meat and, as a vegetarian, this makes me happy!
                                                    Anyone know for sure if this is the same restaurant?

                                                    1. re: mrsdebdav

                                                      I don't think so. I have the menu and it doesn't have any mock meat on it except for a few tofu dishes. The menu is similar to SEA in Scarsdale. However, I've been wrong before!

                                                      Golden Wok II in Ardsley used to have a selection of meat substitutes. Haven't been there in ages, though. I'm not even sure if it's still there.