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best old school dim sum in Chinatown right now?

Trying to find out some info for a friend. Happy with or without carts. Not interested in new school options like Chinatown Brasserie, Dim Sum Go Go or Red Egg, which seem to be recommended most frequently.

Are Jing Fong, Golden Unicorn, 88 Palace and Hop Shing good bets these days? What other places would you recommend?

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Dim Sum Go Go
5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

Chinatown Brasserie
380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

Golden Unicorn
18 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

Jing Fong
18 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

Red Egg
202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013

88 Palace
88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

Hop Shing
9 Chatham Square, New York, NY 10038

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  1. Nom Wah perhaps?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/13/din...

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    Nom Wah Tea Parlor
    13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Agreed but I send folks to 88 Palace pretty regularly because of the scene and the fact that they not only have a great variety on the carts, but the serving stations are usually pretty interesting as well.

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      88 Palace
      88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

    2. Chatham Square Restaurant

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      Chatham Square Restaurant
      6 Chatham Sq, New York, NY 10038

      1. old school
        Hop Shing or Nom Wah

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        Hop Shing
        9 Chatham Square, New York, NY 10038

        1. Thanks for all your suggestions, and thanks for the link to the NYTimes article on Nom Wah, kathryn!

          Have placed Hop Shing, Nom Wah, Chatham Square (which I believe I visited a few years ago) and 88 Palace on the shortlist.

          4 Replies
          1. re: prima

            Not to confuse you, but newcomers Royal Seafood on Mott and Sunshine 27 on Bowery have received recent props on this board. Even though we're talking "old school" dim sum, I follow the general rule that newer places are better than older places, unless it's a place like Nom Wah that reinvents itself, as the older places fall into complacency.

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            27 Sunshine
            46 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

            Royal Seafood Restaurant
            103 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

            1. re: Chandavkl

              I hear ya, Chandavkl. Pretty much the same situation re: dim sum north of the border, too. My friend has a thing for the experience associated with the old school type restos, for whatever reason. Tried to convince her to try Dim Sum Go Go on a previous visit, but she chose Chatham Square restaurant instead. She's mostly interested in lo bak go and jin deui, so an innovative/interesting/larger selection of dishes isn't that important to her, although fresher/better tasting is always good!

              Thanks for mentioning Royal Seafood and Sunshine 27. Nice to add some newcomers to the list!

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              Chatham Square Restaurant
              6 Chatham Sq, New York, NY 10038

              Dim Sum Go Go
              5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

              1. re: prima

                Bumping this thread since I'll be returning to NYC and dining with my lo bak go loving friend.

                Which places would Chowhounds recommend most for lo bak go and jin deui these days? Are relative newcomers Royal Seafood & Sunshine 27 still pretty good options?

                1. re: prima

                  you should really do a dim sum bar crawl since all the places are relatively close. lo bak go is my #1 dim sum dish. I would hit up hop shing and nom wah. Ping's on Mott is also pretty good.

          2. Nom Wah Tea Parlor is the best "old school" in that it has been there for nearly 90 years (with a brief hiatus) and makes some pretty darn good cooked-to-order dim sum. The egg rolls and the spare ribs are particularly good.

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            Nom Wah Tea Parlor
            13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

            1 Reply
            1. re: nmprisons

              Thanks nmprisons. Thanks for mentioning the egg rolls & spare ribs, too!

            2. Oriental Garden has the best quality if not the biggest selection.

              12 Replies
              1. re: swannee

                What exactly does old school mean to you? Why wouldn't Red Egg be included? Most of their dim sum is pretty standard. Same with DSGG.

                I'm not a fan of Oriental Garden's dim sum. Some of their stuff tastes like it's straight from the freezer. Ping's on Mott is pretty good, although the number of carts is pretty low.

                1. re: Peter Cuce

                  To me, old school connotes (1) cart service and more importantly, (2) nothing on the menu that you wouldn't have seen on a dim sum menu in 1990. All dim sum restaurants, even the new wave ones in California, carry a full selection of old time favorites. It's the menu system and the new varieties which makes places like Red Egg not "old school."

                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    Golden Unicorn 18 East Broadway would be my choice. Wonderful old school, cart service, just like the days when the dishes were counted to total up the bill. and steamy hot napkins at the end.

                    1. re: chasamark

                      I went to Golden Unicorn today and found it much better than I remembered. It's about as old school as you can find in NYC, including the decor.

                      1. re: Peter Cuce

                        I think Golden Unicorn is the best dim sum in Chinatown, It is definitely old school, but it is better than all the new school places too. Yes, it has improved. Nam Wah at one time was the only dim sum in Chinatown, and at that time it was the best. They only served on Sundays. These days Nam Wah, doesn't have the choices and quality of Golden Unicorn. DSGG and Red Egg, do not compare. Also, I love carts. I will go back to 30 Pell St. because i haven't been there in a couple of years. It changes ownership often, years ago Hong Gung was at that address and had the best dim sum in chinatown, IMHO. So it's time to see what is going on at 30 Pell St. , I don' t know the name presently.

                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                          Is there a restaurant at 30 Pell St.? Delight 28 is at 28 Pell and ABC is at 34 Pell and I didn't think there was another restaurant in between.

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            They may have changed the address, 30 Pell took up 2 stores. I think Delight 28 is the place. Not ABC. By the way Vegetarian Paradise a few doors down has good dumplings

                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                              Its been a number of years since Ive made it to Chinatown for dim sum which used to be a Sunday ritual for us, going through phases of likes and dislikes BTW Hong Gung was our favorite for several years in the 80s.) We will be going Saturday- with some out of towners during the noon rush period- and im really looking forward to it.

                              Is Golden Unicorn still maintaining its standards or are their other, better places? I prefer tray or cart service over ordering from a menu, and tend to look down on buffet service.
                              With tired guests, not eager for a long wait in line, either.

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                dim sum places tend to get fairly polarized reviews. the nice thing is, if it's a cart place, you can always stop after a bad dish.

                                i've learned to make dim sum plans with a couple back up options. you never know when a place is going to be closed for a wedding, or slammed with lines.

                                1. re: jen kalb

                                  As I have stated. Hong Gung was my favorite. Mr. Chin was my favorite host. Golden Unicorn is still good but too crowded. 88 Palace the old Triple 8's has improved a lot. JingFong is terrible IMO,,,the shrimp in the har gow are always iodiny.
                                  Hop Shing is always good especially since it changed its name back to Hop Shing( although it always was Hop Shing in Chinese written name). But I usually just get take-out at Hop Shing.
                                  Btw QQ bakery, looks like it closed. I loved their egg custard.

                                    1. re: Love to Eat

                                      We went to Golden Unicorn and it was solid, as always. Because our guest wanted to do the choosing, we did not try all our old faves-no fried turnip cake,no congee,no beef balls, sticky rice fried with meat etc. The little peppery pork rib bits had yellow pieces of taro?yam? soaking in the flavorful sauce. And they are doing mini versions of the leaf wrapped rice that worked out pretty well. There is one dim sum type we have always loved that wraps, I think chicken and a couple other components in bean curd skin - this rendition lacked the smoky flavor - maybe ham? that always made that item particularly savory. But the flat rice noodles with beef, spinach and shrimp dumplings, har gow and; many other dishes were hot and spot on.