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Help! Any recs for an upscale Chinese?

alfresca Mar 12, 2012 11:24 AM

Anyone know of an upscale Chinese for a grand birthday celebration for a multi-generational family including 2 young children? I would have picked Shun Lee, Palace or West, but someone in the group "doesn't like it anymore" That person chose Wa jeal but it doesn't look like a celebratory kind of place and the food may be too spicy for little ones.

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  1. p
    peter j RE: alfresca Mar 12, 2012 11:35 AM

    I just had dinner at Shun Lee West (not my choice) and can't recommend it.

    Wa Jeal is decent. I can't think of any other traditional Chinese restaurant that would be more "celebratory" in terms of atmosphere and decor. Maybe Chin Chin but I haven't been there in years. Or perhaps Chinatown Brasserie though I didn't think the food was that memorable.

    Chinatown Brasserie
    380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

    Chin Chin
    216 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017

    Shun Lee West
    43 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023

    Wa Jeal
    1588 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

    1 Reply
    1. re: peter j
      michele cindy RE: peter j Mar 14, 2013 08:18 AM

      Chinatown Brasserie is closed.

    2. f
      foodwhisperer RE: alfresca Mar 12, 2012 11:49 AM

      Lotus Blue would be special. As far as atmosphere and location and good quality Chinese food Peking Duck House (midtown not Chinatown ) is perfect. I have been to several "events' there. Another suggestion, that definitely warrants mention is Buddakan , in a space that had a $12 million renovation.

      75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

      Peking Duck House
      236 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

      Lotus Blue
      110 Reade St, New York, NY 10013

      1. b
        Bloombee RE: alfresca Mar 15, 2013 07:47 AM

        Perhaps Hakkasan, 311 West 43rd (btw 8th and 9th). the things I can vouch for there is the steamed veggie dim sum and Pipa Duck.

        1. s
          sweettea05 RE: alfresca Mar 18, 2013 07:38 AM

          It's a totally throwback, but I loved Mr. K's. You feel like you are in a time warp back to the 80s, but everything I had was great. It's formal fancy - not buddakan fancy. Try and find some pictures.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sweettea05
            Lau RE: sweettea05 Mar 18, 2013 08:34 AM

            sorry not to shoot you down, but the food at Mr. K's is terrible

            I'd go to Hakkasan if you're looking for upscale chinese

            1. re: Lau
              kosmose7 RE: Lau Mar 18, 2013 11:03 AM

              I was taken to Mr. K's by a business client of mine for lunch and I almost took his name off my contact list.

            2. re: sweettea05
              UES Mayor RE: sweettea05 Mar 19, 2013 04:03 AM

              Food at Mr. K's is disgusting!!! I was taken there by my brother and scolded him for not doing research first!!!

            3. kosmose7 RE: alfresca Mar 18, 2013 11:00 AM

              If you are really serious about fine dining Chinese cuisine, like those fabulously subtle and delicate dishes with seasonality found in Hong Kong, there is no such thing in New York. That said, the closest place will be Hakkasan. Shun Lee has drastically gone down the hill, but I find Shun Lee East still a bit better than S.L. West.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kosmose7
                Lau RE: kosmose7 Mar 18, 2013 11:01 AM


              2. Jay F RE: alfresca Mar 18, 2013 11:04 AM

                How is Mr. Chow?

                6 Replies
                1. re: Jay F
                  Lau RE: Jay F Mar 18, 2013 11:10 AM

                  Mr. Chow's is basically like sort of high end americanized chinese food, but I don't even consider it chinese food really.

                  most foodie type people get up in arms about it, personally I don't think its horrible or anything, but its not amazing by any stretch and not something i'd really go get

                  1. re: Lau
                    Jay F RE: Lau Mar 18, 2013 11:13 AM

                    What I'm really wondering, though, is how well it would work as "upscale Chinese for a grand birthday celebration for a multi-generational family including 2 young children."

                    1. re: Jay F
                      Lau RE: Jay F Mar 18, 2013 12:06 PM

                      Jay F - go to Hakkasan, its better on all accounts. The food is better and the place is cooler

                      1. re: Lau
                        diprey11 RE: Lau Mar 18, 2013 06:14 PM

                        I'd try to reserve Sichuan Gourmet @39 St for the occasion, if you like it spicy: they have a seriously talented chef. Hakkasan is so East Coast (of China)

                  2. re: Jay F
                    Bob Martinez RE: Jay F Mar 18, 2013 11:26 AM

                    Beyond awful. Frank Bruni wrote one of his funniest reviews about them. It tells you everything you need to know.


                    1. re: Bob Martinez
                      Jay F RE: Bob Martinez Mar 18, 2013 05:22 PM

                      Thanks, Lau and Bob. I hope the OP reads what you've posted.

                  3. j
                    jimmyray RE: alfresca Mar 18, 2013 12:23 PM

                    Red Farm is the answer except that they don't take reservations. The food is tremendous, both traditional and modern, and run by real pros. The place is relatively small and with not taking reservations the only way to do it is be there when it opens at 5pm or you will likely have a serious wait (1-2 hours). Although this may be particularly early for regular dinner time it is worth the change of dinner routine.


                    Red Farm
                    529 Hudson Street

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jimmyray
                      kathryn RE: jimmyray Mar 18, 2013 03:23 PM

                      It depends how big their group is and when they wish to dine. While the ambiance is nicer than most places in Chinatown, it's not really "upscale" in terms of being luxurious or comfortable. More like reclaimed this-and-that, hipster-y decor. Also the place gets loud.

                      "Parties of 10 or larger can book a large party reservation, if they order a set menu from us. The available time slots for these prix-fixe reservations are 11 AM during brunch, and 5:00 PM or 9:30 PM (or later) during dinner."

                    2. Monica RE: alfresca Mar 18, 2013 12:33 PM

                      I am going to vote for Land of Plenty in midtown east...just because it's my favorite Chinese restaurant right now.
                      The waiters are pretty darn sweet too.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Monica
                        Bob Martinez RE: Monica Mar 18, 2013 02:10 PM

                        Good call. While not as upscale as Hakkasan (and far less expensive) Land of Plenty has a very nice ambiance.


                        I wrote it up a few months ago.


                        1. re: Bob Martinez
                          diprey11 RE: Bob Martinez Mar 18, 2013 05:22 PM

                          After all those years, still Sichuan Gourmet. I had a simple spicy (ma la) chicken dish there last week. It was properly done, the uniformity--and level of competence--that is not easily found even in Flushing.

                          To be slightly negative, if the chef doesn't do the basics right, you are in a wrong restaurant. I have a simple dou miao (豆苗) test: come to a Chinese restaurant and order that sauteed vegetable dish with garlic. Only three (currently open) restaurants in Manhattan have passed so far.

                          I got to trust a real chef to the point that I may come and order for the occasion and let them figure out the menu as well as the price. You simply can't question a real chef (read: an artist) at that level of execution. And--no, I got no multi-hundred dollar meals.

                      2. a
                        alc RE: alfresca Mar 18, 2013 06:33 PM

                        I like Tang Pavillion on West 56th.

                        1. k
                          kathryn RE: alfresca Mar 18, 2013 06:43 PM

                          BTW, everyone, this thread is from 2012. Hopefully they found somewhere.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: kathryn
                            Bob Martinez RE: kathryn Mar 18, 2013 07:35 PM

                            It's a shame they never reported back.

                            1. re: kathryn
                              alfresca RE: kathryn Mar 18, 2013 09:11 PM

                              Wow chowhounds! I can't believe this thread started back up after a year! It's fully one year later..
                              We went to SL West and they put us in the cafe room, not even the main dining room..that said, we had a splendid time, the little ones ran around somewhat, crawled under the table and also sat sometimes, dining on who can remember by now, nothing exotic to us but it was to them, and mainly the ingredients were fresh and tasty and they ate as did the grownups who also imbibed bottles of delicious wines brought by the oenophile among us. The restaurant seemed not to have any issues with us byob! So it was kind of a private chinese banquet and all was well..
                              Thanks for all your inputs, want to try them all tho maybe not with little ones..
                              So the year ground on and then there was Sandy...kid's house in Red Hook trashed... Now the birthday will be pizza in the rental in Prospect Heights.. But not to worry, life goes on!!
                              We eat to live but also live to eat!!

                              1. re: kathryn
                                Lau RE: kathryn Mar 19, 2013 06:04 AM

                                haha i didn't even realize that b/c i just looked at the responses, so i figured it was a recent post

                                1. re: Lau
                                  Bob Martinez RE: Lau Mar 19, 2013 07:41 AM

                                  Me too. I also saw the March 12th dateline and figured it was new. If I saw August I would have been tipped off.

                                  1. re: Bob Martinez
                                    Jay F RE: Bob Martinez Mar 19, 2013 08:30 AM

                                    The teeny, tiny type in gray makes it hard to notice dates.

                              2. ipsedixit RE: alfresca Jun 26, 2014 06:23 PM

                                Probably too late for OP, but for posterity ...

                                Hunan House in Midtown (56th and 6/7), next to Joe's Shanghai, has I believe just opened within the past week or so.

                                Food is no better or worse than nearby Tang's Pavilion, but the ambiance is better, esp. the upper level.

                                Don't get too excited, don't think it's related to the one in Flushing.

                                Hunan House

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  squid kun RE: ipsedixit Jun 27, 2014 08:41 PM

                                  The website says it's affiliated with Hunan Manor (http://www.chow.com/food-news/90790/real-hunan-comes-to-murray-hill), which does have a connection with Flushing's Hunan House, so that's promising. And the Hunan section of the menu looks legit: http://www.hunanhouse56.com/menu.php

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