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Jul 9, 2012 07:31 PM

Wine in Chinatown

Can anyone recommend restaurants in Ctown that serve wine by the glass other than Congee Village and Jing Fung?

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  1. Just on the northern edge of Chinatown/Little Italy, there's Xicala.

    1. Specifically Chinese restaurants? Or any kind?

      Lots of them do, though the selections are usually pretty blah. Most allow BYOB for a pretty small corkage fee.

      8 Replies
      1. re: sgordon

        My reason for the question is that one of our friends will only go if she can get white wine. Since I don't like Jing Fong, this has meant that we always go to Congee Village with her. I love C V but was wondering if any hounds knew of places. I mean Chinese places, of course; others are no problem. On my own, it never occurs to me to drink wine with Chinese food--and I go to Ctown or to Flushing at least every week. I will ask about BYOB, although since it's just one person who must have her wine, it seemed a tad excessive.

        1. re: swannee

          Oriental Garden has wine. IIRC, Ping's does as well - they're both very good. (OG is at the pricier end of the CTown spectrum, though - just something to keep in mind.)

          Danny Ng, which I haven't been to in awhile but Chowhounder Lau recently reviewed positively, probably does as well.

          Yeah, I'm not really down with wine + Chinese food either - it's kind of forcing two things that weren't meant to go together. But a dry, crisp white can be inoffensive, even if it doesn't complement the food the way a good (or even middling) beer might.

          1. re: sgordon

            Forgive me if this is off-topic, but do you really think beer complements Cantonese (as opposed to spicy Sichuan/Hunan) food? I'm not saying that wine is great with Cantonese, but I do think that beer steamrolls over that very delicate cuisine.

            1. re: Sneakeater

              Oh, absolutely beer. I wouldn't do an ultra-hoppy IPA or anything, but a lighter brew works wonderfully. Had a couple Sam Adams Summer Ales with my takeout from Ping's the other night, fantastic. Even a chalky, earthy stout I imagine could complement some non-seafood dishes - say, the short ribs braised in a pumpkin at A66... Or a rich Hefeweizen with braised duck and taro casserole...

              Really, though - Tsing-Tao works just fine by me. 90% of the time that's what I'll be drinking with Cantonese food. Or Sichuan / Hunan for that matter.

              I don't understand the cognac (or the god-awful Moutai) thing - I think it's just a way of showing off wealth, more than anything, I suspect. Hard alcohol with food (except desserts) just doesn't make much sense to me, it's too powerful.

              1. re: sgordon

                Yeah. That trendlet last year of cocktail pairings with food struck me as completely retarded.

                (Also, who can DRINK that much?)

                1. re: Sneakeater

                  Yeah, I think there's a reason that trend didn't last... Other than Margaritas + Mexican food, I can't think of any cocktail / savory combos that really work. Maybe something simple but bold would click - say, a fine old brandy with a gloriously dry-aged steak. Perhaps I'll give that a try next time I'm feeling flush with cash... though even if it works, I can't imagine it working -better- than a big, solid red, or a hefty Porter or Stout.

                  1. re: sgordon

                    To be perfectly honest, I enjoyed drinking cocktails with the food at Pok Pok.

                    But those flavors are pretty indestructible.

                    (And I'm not saying beer wouldn't have been better.)

            2. re: sgordon

              OG would be good, especially if it's in danger of closing because of the big construct ion plans on Elizabeth St.
              In response to Sneakeater, I always prefer beer with Chinese, it's just this annoying friend. Of course in HK, they often drink cognac throughout the meal, which seems totally bizarre to me.

        2. 456 Shanghai serves wine both by the bottle and the glass, as well as beer. The sliced fish with silky tofu casserole and the Mao dou xue cai bai ye (don't know what it is in English) were especially good, along the usual Shanghai dishes (lions' heads, etc.).

          1. I, for one, have had success with pairing Chinese food with wines. In most cases, I've found dry and/or off-dry whites from Germany and Alsace to be good beverages with Chinese dishes.

            If I were you (OP) I'd inquire about possibility of BYOB first in any of the Chinatown restaurant that you want to go to, as chances are they will not be offering specific region wines that go well with their dishes.

            1. Golden Unicorn on East Broadway; Shanghai Cuisine also!