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Chinatown Dim Sum for rookies

Looking for a Chinatown dim sum restaurant for a group of four who have never done dim sum. We'll need some patience from the employees, I'm sure. Should be on a weekday for lunch. Also, any idea on.what time would be the least crowded? I'm thinking around 11 or after 2, but what do I know?

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  1. Not to worry. The servers are very patient. We have not been to Dim Sum in a while. I am sure you'll get some great recs from the Dim Sum regulars.

    1. oriental Garden if you want the best quality. Jing Fung (next door) if you want the Hong Kong zoo experience (it won't be too chaotic on a weekday.)

      1. I'd say Jing Fong.

        Hardly the last word in dim sum, but as swannee noted, you get the zoo experience which I think is fun (or at least different), and they have so many tables that if there is rarely a wait on weekdays.

        I'd also toss out Golden Unicorn as an option that has more of a sit-down feel.

        1. Going early is better. I've gone to Jing Fung after 2 PM and they had significantly fewer selections. I'm told by Chinese friends that Dim Sum is intended for lunch time, places that have it later in the day seem to have much smaller selections (altho I frequently have the evening Dim Sum at Shun Lee Cafe before Lincoln Center events).

          5 Replies
          1. re: GaryUES

            "I'm told by Chinese friends that Dim Sum is intended for lunch time"
            Perhaps in NYC?

            In E/SE Asia dim-sum is commonly eaten for breakfast stretching into late morning/early afternoon (when the selection is poor, true). There are places that start serving at 5 a.m. Many places will start to run out of stuff or be less good by 10-11 a.m. - except perhaps for the "classy places" or hotel-based dim-sum places where the clientele would be expected to start materializing only in the mid-morning or later.

            Even in Chicago some spots there start serving at 8 a.m.

            What time do the "earliest" places in NYC start serving dim sum nowadays?

            1. re: huiray

              Maybe not NYC but a USA thing.

              I grew up in CA and my Taiwan-born mother does the following in Southern California: arrive a little after 11am on a weekend, so that you are seated without a wait. However, the best carts don't show up until the dining room is full, closer to noon (especially the egg tarts!). But if you were to arrive at noon, you'd be waiting for a table. So get there slightly before the rush, sip some tea, stall a bit, and then dive in.

              However, she says, in Taiwan, the timing is totally different since people (especially retirees) go out for dim sum breakfast every morning, and early.

              1. re: kathryn

                Well, in Chicago if you arrive after 10 am at Phoenix (opens 8 am on weekends, 9 am weekdays) for dim sum on a weekend you'll likely be waiting, even if the carts may not start rolling until around then - you'll be ordering from cards/checklists in a rapidly-filling room around 9+ am. By 11 am it's often difficult to even get in the door because of the line down the stairs and the mob in the (upstairs) lobby.

                It used to be at Shui Wah (opened 8 am everyday; no carts, everything by card/checklist, no pictures) that the best time to walk in and sit down was 8.30 am or so. After 9 am or so you'd likely be waiting. Alas, the place in New Chinatown on S Archer is no more - it was one of the better places for dim sum.

                In NYC I'm aware that Oriental Garden opens at 9 am on weekends and 10 am on weekdays; Jin Fong at 9.30 am (daily) while Nom Wah drags its heels until 10.30 am (daily). Yes, folks in NYC go later - what time do you and your friends go for dim-sum in NYC, then? What's the earliest-opening place for dim sum?

                1. re: huiray

                  i know some people eat dim sum really early, but realistically i think dim sum is basically like brunch, i think the go time is really like 10-11am, definitely tapering off at like noon and later

                  for example my favorite dim sum place in HK only opens at 10am although if you go at 11 which is like peak for them you probably need a reservation or you're going to be waiting for a while

                  1. re: Lau

                    I had a great dim sum breakfast inside the Guangzhou train station in 1987 at 7:30 AM, and the place hadn't just opened. But I don't think you've ever been able to do that in New York. Years ago, I had dim sum breakfast at Harmony Palace at 9:30, and I believe they opened around 9. I'm not sure if they still do.

          2. Nom Wah Tea Parlor or Doyer Street. They have pictures on the menu. Any time during the week is fine

            10 Replies
            1. re: RussianGirl

              Sorry to highjack the thread but we are planning to walk over the brooklyn bridge next Sat. and wanted to do dim sum first (around 11:30). We've had dim sum before (once in London and Toronto and at Hakkasan in Miami) but never in NY so we are not complete novices but not super comfortable. We were thinking Dim Sum Go Go but should we be going to Jing Fung? We are open to carts or menu and assume we can't make a reservation at any of these places, but we don't want to wait too long for a table. Thanks

                1. re: AubWah

                  IMO Nam Wah has decent enough food, but is not the dim sum experience at all for someone who is seeking it.

                2. re: tlubow

                  I would also recommend Golden Unicorn. It's a real old school spot on East Broadway, the quality is as good as anything in Manhattan, and it's tourist friendly, with pictures and English descriptions of what's in each cart mounted on the front.

                  1. re: Peter Cuce

                    I haven't found the quality that good in the past - rather, it used to be on about the same level as Jing Fong and Harmony House/New Harmony (whatever their current name is), but you are credible to me, so I think it must have improved. Do you know if it came under new management in the last few years?

                    1. re: Pan

                      I have a slightly different take on Dim Sum in New York....it comes down to preferences for taste from what has been formed over a period of time. For some, only the food is important, for others, it comes down to aesthetics in food presentation or quality...or the appearance of the restaurant proper.

                      Other than one participating in this thread, I believe all are credible, but I have learned to align myself with users whose tastes are similar to mine....I do not discount anyone's information, but I know what's important to them is just different for me.

                      I believe all places do some thing well. Some places more than others.
                      The one thing I applaud you for is having open-mindedness to accept the fact that Golden Unicorn may have improved .....many others do not and hold on to old opinions formed from more than a few years ago as their last experience.....or after one less than stellar experience.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        fourunder, by saying Peter is credible, I didn't mean to knock everyone else. It's just that I've met him personally and know more about his taste than I do about most other hounds'. And saying he's credible really means credible to me, in that I consider him both knowledgeable and someone whose tastes I believe to have a significant overlap with mine. Which is really a less well-phrased way of saying that I align myself with users whose tastes are similar to mine.

                        And restaurants do improve and deteriorate, so it's really not hard to imagine this happening almost anywhere.

                      2. re: Pan

                        For this group of people it's a good introduction to dimsum. It's pretty solid. Very good for beginners. I like the old school feeling.

                3. Dim Sum Go Go hands down... You can order off a paper menu that lists the different items. Not the old school dim sum cart experience, but delicious food and very user-friendly.

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: saregama

                    I looked them all up and they all look they will be great for us, so which one is likely to have the shortest wait for 3 people on a sat around 11:00-11:30? Jing fong looks enormous. Is that the best bet?

                    1. re: tlubow

                      They're all going to be mobbed on a Saturday at that time. DSGG will probably have the longest wait... I'd say maybe Jing Fong would be the shortest, if only because they're the largest restaurant in NYC, if I recall correctly, so tables turn pretty regularly. Even so, you could be faced with a bit of a wait.

                      If you go to JF, make sure to send one of your party to go browse the steam table options - lots of things over there that don't get put on the carts. (Ask for two tickets, so you can keep one at the table for cart stuff while someone takes the other one to the STs)

                    2. re: saregama

                      +1 for DSGG.

                      It's best to select from the menu, the waitstaff should be able to help you order, if you tell them that it's your first experience. Dim Sum items are relatively cheap so you won't be ripped off.

                      OTOH, the cart ladies often speak Cantonese only, so they won't be able to explain much. Yes, it is more old style, but you have to decide if you prefer theater to food.

                      1. re: diprey11

                        DSGG? Might as well go to Sbarro

                        1. re: AubWah

                          If you prefer to order dim sum at Sbarro, enjoy. :-)

                          1. re: diprey11

                            But isn't Dim Sum largely about theater and huge crowds of Chinese families screaming in Cantonese? If it is all about the food, I would pick Oriental Garden in any case. But the wait there would be worse than JF . To me DDGG just isn't real Dim Sum at all, the name notwithstanding.

                            1. re: swannee

                              To me, dim sum really is all about the food and tea.

                              1. re: Pan

                                Agreed, it's about the food and tea. I can do without large crowds, noise, and soggy food being wheeled around and around. I'd rather wait for freshly cooked dishes. I'm a big fan of Dim Sum Go Go (see other post) with Nam Wah a nice alternative for old school dim sum.

                              2. re: swannee

                                I don't think OG has good dim sum.

                                1. re: Peter Cuce

                                  Really if you want a good dim sum experience you should get on a subway to Queens or Brooklyn

                                2. re: swannee

                                  I completely agree.

                                  Part of dim sum is the experience.

                                  If all you want are the best tasting dumplings, then you need to entertain non-dim sum choices.

                                  I'd also reiterate the point that the waits in Chinatown on a Saturday can be quite long, but it's never that bad at JF.

                                  1. re: swannee

                                    hi swanee - don't mean to shoot anyone down, but OG's dim sum has been really bad in my experience, the last two times i went we ended up leaving to go somewhere b/c the quality of the food was so bad.

                                    i think experience wise dim sum can be fun b/c of the hustle and bustle aspect of it, but im personally all about the food and the nostalgia factor while nice is not that important to me although i do have good memories of being a kid and being really excited to go to dim sum in LA in the 80s when it was all hustle and bustle

                                    unfortunately NY doesn't have a truly excellent dim sum restaurant to showcase what dim sum can / should be

                                    1. re: Lau

                                      Lau, have you not been to Hakkasan? Hakkasan serves the best dim sum in the city in my opinion. It's leagues above anything in Chinatown.

                                      1. re: Cheeryvisage

                                        i have not been there yet, its on my list

                                        ill def give it a try as you know my opinion on chinatown dim sum is not very high

                              3. For a rookie I would definitely consider Dim Sum Go Go if Chinatown is the only option. While it's not earth shattering, it's tasty enough, inexpensive and not intimidating to a novice. I've picked up some dumplings to nosh on to go around 3pm one Thursday and it's was pretty much empty.

                                1. Dim Sum Go Go - a cut above all the rest. Duck dumplings, mushroom dumplings, any other veg dumplings, chive and shrimp dumplings, steamed roast pork buns, shiu mai, baked egg custard tarts to finish. Can also try the "burgers and taro fries" off the regular menu if very hungry. Weekdays at those times should not be problematic.

                                  1. For a weekday lunch, nothing is too busy. Go early rather than later or selection will be limited at restaurants which serve from carts. Two worthy of mention are (1) Triple Eight on East Broadway built into the Manhattan Bridge which has both carts and a cook to order table, and (2) Harmony Palace, 98 Mott Street, just north of Canal, which is a good place for standards like shrimp filled rice noodles, baked pork buns, assorted steamed and fried dumplings, eggplant stuffed with seafood paste and baked custard cups. Both are filled with Chinese customers and just a smattering of the rest of us.

                                    If you are just going for the food, not the experience, Dim Sum Go Go has a menu with a description of each item, but is a bit more expensive than the other places. They lean toward fusion cuisine, not traditional items, such as red dumplings (beet powder in the dough). Their duck dumplings are wonderful.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: batterypark

                                      Perhaps Lau will address your take on Dim Sum Go Go, but if I remember correctly, people with a lot of experience living in or visiting Hong Kong, like Lau, have denied that Dim Sum Go Go is either fusiony or, still less, "inauthentic," as some others have stated. Instead, it's more modern Hong Kong-style dim sum, rather than 80s-style with carts.

                                      Though I'd say that a degree of fusion is probably inherent to the cuisine of a huge port city like Hong Kong, in any case.

                                      1. re: Pan

                                        i dont consider dim sum go go fusion. dim sum in new york is old school like basically what was offered in the 80s and before, so its traditional in that sense, but it never really developed as it did in Asia. As Pan said if you go to hong kong you will see alot of new dim sum dishes that you've probably never seen before. the only places that have some of this stuff in the US are places in CA like Koi Palace, Sea Harbour, Elite etc. I mean inherently dim sum keeps developing so the line of what is traditional vs fusion is blurring anyhow. also, personally i don't really care if it's "traditional / authentic" or not only that it's delicious

                                        I consider something fusion where it has a distinct american influence to it like red farm which has pastrami egg rolls, which is something that would be very unlikely to develop in asia

                                        1. re: Lau

                                          To be clear, I recommend Dim Sum Go Go and bring people there. It is especially good if you have vegetarians or people with food concerns of any sort with you as there are many options for both and the ingredients are listed.

                                          1. re: batterypark

                                            yah i was just answering the question of whether its fusion or not...i also find it to be an easier experience for most people as well since it's not so old school

                                    2. i would recommend Nom Wah or Dim Sum Go Go as I find they have the best quality dim sum in chinatown (although chinatown's dim sum is not great on an absolute basis) and they are also english friendly. it's menu ordering not carts, which i much prefer as carts are a relic of the past in asia any good dim sum place will be menu ordering b/c the food will be much fresher

                                      i think experience wise it is sort of fun to go see the carts at the big places like jing fung etc, but the quality of their dim sum is borderline awful in general


                                      34 Replies
                                      1. re: Lau

                                        I last had dim sum at OG a few years ago and found it limited but good quality. But isn't dim sum really an anachronism? As far as I know, it was born as a leisure class thing in HK, and was more about the tea and the leisure than the food. T hen it became all the rage (maybe 60 years ago) and the dim sum chefs were the best paid and the most inventive. But now it seems much less in the main stream of Cantonese food. I never get a satisfying meal at dim sum even in HK except as a leisurely breakfast. As a real meal, surely one can do much better elsewhere, especially in NY.
                                        The snacks at Nam Wah are OK, but if one wants the dim sum experience---the only reason IMO to waste so many calories on a basically misbegotten meal--then other places are better. I agree that the food is often mediocre, and there are far, far better dumplings at any number of other places in Chinatown or Flushing (sadly, I don't know Brooklyn's Chinatowns.)
                                        Nevertheless, I trust Lau, so if he says OG is no longer good for dim sum, I tend to believe him.
                                        A nd Lau, when will you write a good long article on Yuen Yuen???

                                        1. re: swannee

                                          As far as I know, it was born as a leisure class thing in HK,....

                                          i was under the impression it was born out of creating something new for the Emperor of one of the past Dynasties.

                                          1. re: swannee

                                            hmm anachronism, i mean its possible it started out like that, but the origins of dim sum are very old, so you're really talking about something like hundreds of years ago that is probably not relevant today. I was born in the 80s, so it's difficult for me gauge was it was like prior to that as I started eating dim sum in the late 80s (at least that's when i actually remember it; i probably ate it before that, but was too young to remember)

                                            In hong kong today there are some old (and famous) places like Lin Heung where i think it is like that (i.e. its a bunch of old people eating kind of crappy quality dim sum), but in general I don't think that is correct at all, any of the top dim sum places are serving great food that is excellent quality. If i only thought it was social thing and thought the food was not satisfying you would never hear a word from me about dim sum b/c i don't care about nostalgia at all really; in fact i somewhat despise places living on nostalgia or reputations made a long ago that serve crap food (i.e. like veniero's).

                                            where do you normally eat dim sum in hong kong?

                                            However, all that said I think for some old people it is a social experience to get together with family and / or friends. I think eating for chinese families can very much be a social thing and I think that is very much the case in NY. when i was a kid, it was very much a family affair to get dim sum. I had dinner at my grandparents house on saturdays for most of my childhood and even into partially into my teenage years and often had dim sum with them the next morning on sundays and it was more of a family thing as opposed to lets go find the absolute best dim sum in LA.

                                            1. re: swannee

                                              re: Yuen Yuen - it's coming, but i'm trying to finish my asia posts (i have so many), but i've been throwing in a few NY posts so i'm not only writing asia posts

                                              1. re: swannee

                                                Dim Sum (點心 or 点心 - diǎn xīn in Mandarin) was first used as a verb in the Tang dynasty (618-907) and meant “to put a little bit into the stomach” before the main meal. By the Song dynasty (960-1279) dim sum came to denote snack. The more contemporary meaning of pastry type snacks dates from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).

                                                In old pre-revolutionary Canton, dim sum was ordinarily served from 6 am until noon at tea houses, of which there were thousands. Some had several stories and prices increased as one rose from street level to the top floor, where the well heeled dug in. Young boys would carry the dim sum through the tea house on trays hung from their necks. Business was so brisk that the practice of having waiters not prepare bills emerged; they would merely count the number of empty tea bowls and saucers and call out to the cashier the bill amount.

                                                1. re: scoopG

                                                  Thanks for that great history lesson!

                                                  1. re: scoopG

                                                    It's never happened to me anywhere else, but in China at a few places, the waitstaff "expects" the customer to use a certain denomination, so that when they get to the table with the bill they already have change. Works best if you know you have a counterfeit 100...I've only ever gotten fake one yuan coins anyhow.

                                                2. re: Lau

                                                  I think for first time dim sum eaters, the "carts" are an experience. The "point and eat" not really knowing what you are getting , this would be the most memorable dim sum meal. IMO Golden Unicorn is the place to get dim sum , with carts. The best time to go would be around 11 AM - Noon. After noon the line is way too long. After 2PM the food quality goes down. I have had horrible food at DSGG, i have not been back since my last terrible ( inedible) meal. In their defense, my terrible dim sum was in the evening. They do have a "different" selection than most other places. I do not like Jing Fung, I find that the har gow always is "iodine" in taste. 30 Pell St used to be fantastic, but I haven't been to the new restaurant there in years. Nam Wah was cool to go to in the 60's when it was the only dim sum restaurant. Red Egg I think has a cute name, the food I don't find very good at all. Triple 8's ( I forget the real name) 88 E. Bway is pretty good. Hop Shing is my "go to" take out dim sum place.
                                                  But overall Golden Unicorn will give the first timers the best experience IMO.

                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                    nom wah is basically only a dim sum restaurant, it was actually awful before the grand son took it over and re-did the menu and place...now its reasonably decent

                                                    never had dim sum at night at DSGG, i think the traditionalist in me finds dim sum at night really weird

                                                    red egg was decent when it first opened, but they it got pretty bad b/c they consistently oversteam / overcook their food

                                                    1. re: Lau

                                                      We went to Dim Sum Go Go this past Sat. morning at 11:00. There was no wait and the place was 2/3s empty, though an hour later, when we left it had filled up (tho still no wait). The food was good - the non-veg dumplings were definitely tastier then the veg. We also liked the turnip cakes and the steamed and roasted pork buns. Also good egg custards. The dim sum at Hakkassan in Miami is much better but much more expensive. The 3 of us ate at DSGG for about $34 and we were very full. It's a very easy place to go for dim sum novices if the OP hasn't made his/her choice yet.

                                                      1. re: tlubow

                                                        There are some really good vegetarian dumplings, such as the mushroom and Chinese parsley (cilantro) ones. Which did you get?

                                                        1. re: Pan

                                                          We got a mushroom dumpling which did have something green in it - but didn't taste at all like cilantro, which I love. It had a lot of carrot in it. We also got the pea shoot dumplings which just tasted like boiled greens inside a wrapper. Blah...Our favorites of the dumplings were pork and chive and shu mai.

                                                      2. re: Lau

                                                        Yeah I know it's weird to have dim sum at night,,i only did it once and it was at DSGG. I'm a traditionalist also. It is interesting to know Nam Wah is different now, I will give it a try. Red Egg I never liked. But some family members of mine went to Triple 8's last week , i think it is called Amazing 88 now, and said it was excellent. So I guess I will try there again also.
                                                        Another place that used to be amazing and turned hands many times is 30 Pell St,, i think they even changed the address to 28 Pell, I will try that , since it's been 4 years since i have tried it. I had dim sum in Queens on Main St. last weekend, was not impressed at all. I think Queens might be overrated. I need to get to Hong Kong.

                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                          I don't think you can conclude that Queens might be overrated based on a single visit to a single restaurant, but that's an argument that should be joined (if at all) on the Outer Boroughs board.

                                                          1. re: Pan

                                                            Pan, you are right.about making judgement based on a single visit. It was just the single visit that triggered the response, But I have been to many queens restaurants ,, and nothing "wowed "me,,, although I used to like a place with two big lions outside, that is no longer there. and yes I should go to Outer Boroughs for further discussion on this., I agree.

                                                            1. re: Pan

                                                              Well, I can't quite recall a decent dim sum place on Main St. in Flushing either. :-)) JMHO

                                                              Jade Asian is usually considered the best. I had quite a good recent experience with Good Kitchen (東溢豐) on 37th Ave, better than I'd expected.

                                                              1. re: diprey11

                                                                i heard 東溢豐 is pretty good, but i haven't been...they keep changing their english name, but its the same chinese name

                                                                actually that is the only one i haven't been to

                                                            2. re: foodwhisperer

                                                              which restaurant did you eat at in Flushing?

                                                              when you go to HK let me know and ill tell you some great places for dim sum

                                                              1. re: Lau

                                                                Went to mall, i think it's called Grand Restaurant, big place this past weekend. Prior to another big escalator place, #1, and one other dim sum place. Other than that Sweet n Tart, joe's Shanghai, a few Taiwanese places, and I forget the names of several others. I did enjoy the Taipei bakery i think the name is for a few items, i had a $10 coupon , so I thought I'd use it.
                                                                I read a review of yours about J&B Seafood , formerly King. In manhattan, the dim sum there was terrible,, The only cool things were, it said SEAFOOD, so the tourists stay away because they don't know it's dim sum,,and the entrance through an elevator in a clothing store was kind of interesting. What is where Nice Restaurant used to be? i used to get dim sum there many years ago.
                                                                Thanks for offering help when I go to HK. That won't be until March.

                                                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                  ahh i haven't been to Grand, but from everyone i know who has they said it's fairly mediocre although I'd need to judge for myself

                                                                  I think Jade Asian is better than the places in Manhattan although I don't think it's great dim sum simply pretty decent competent dim sum. The other places I've been to like Ocean Jewels are mediocre. Guangzhou / Perfect Team was on par with Jade Asian (it was actually better than Jade Asian when it first opened), but now that's closed.

                                                                  There are actually only three restaurants in the US that I've been to (there are probably some I haven't been to) that offer good quality dim sum that could probably stand on their own in HK (most dim sum restaurants here would go out of biz very quickly in HK):
                                                                  1) Sea Harbour in LA (i think this is the best in terms of the actual quality)
                                                                  2) Koi Palace in Daly City (greatest nouveau type dim sum, but execution isn't as good as Sea Harbour)
                                                                  3) Elite in LA (it might be as good as Sea Harbour, but I haven't been in a while)

                                                                  Generally, I think Flushing Chinese is substantially better than Manhattan Chinese, but I don't think it's like it's God's gift to chinese food like some make it seem to be, but it does have its good spots for sure.

                                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                                    Thanks Lau. I'll try Jade Asian. I'll keep better notes on names of places I try. I am in Flushing every week and will keep trying to discover. I'm usually better off when I go with a friend who speaks the language. By the way, I didn't see any difference in food quality between Brooklyn and Queens. I did see more Taiwanese food in Flushing though. I also had bad Char Siu Bao in Brooklyn ( at a Chinese Bakery).

                                                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                      i havent eaten much in brooklyn b/c its so far, so can't comment specifically on most of the restaurants, but the diversity in types of chinese food in Flushing is far greater than Manhattan or Brooklyn (cantonese, sichuan, hunan, shanghai, various northern cuisines etc etc) and generally the quality is definitely better than manhattan (again hard for me to comment on brooklyn) except for congee / cantonese BBQ / bakeris which i dont think are much different

                                                                      However, I think you were referring to cantonese, so you should get a few people together for dinner (don't go to lunch its much worse, B team chefs) and go to Imperial Palace / East Lake and order what I order:

                                                                      1. re: Lau

                                                                        Thanks Lau i'll check it out. The name East Lake sounds like another restaurant I've been to in queens, I wonder if there were 2 big lions outside . Was there another East lake restaurant that stands all by itself? Anyway, I will definitely let you know what I think and I had no idea that the better chefs were there for the dinner crowd. You are a great help

                                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                          there have been a couple of restaurants called east something or another, i dont think there are lions in front so must be a different place

                                                                          since you have the choice, you might as well go to Imperial Palace b/c its original

                                                                          generally for most of these sit down family style dinner places i'd generally stick to dinner b/c thats when they have their real volume and their main chefs cooking

                                                                          1. re: Lau

                                                                            I'll +1 Imperial Palace as the place to check out in Flushing for that style of cuisine.

                                                                            Also, for something quite different, I've had a couple of great meals at SN New Restaurant (formerly M&T Restaurant) on Kissena Blvd. It got a lot of hype from Robert Sietsema a couple years ago, and was well worth it. Check the Outer Borough boards for ideas on what to order before going, though. Personally, I liked the pork chop marinated in shrimp sauce (and I'm not a big fan of the fried pork chop, usually), the sea intestines (they themselves were a little bland, but the dish overall was nicely seasoned), cumin lamb, and the clams with cucumbers (really more like new pickles) - most seafood dishes in general I found quite solid. But YMMV, of course. The flavors are very big & bold, and occasionally they've got a bit too heavy a hand with the garlic, but overall really good stuff to my palate.

                                                                            1. re: sgordon

                                                                              CH was covering that long before Sietsema showed up...new favorite for Romanian models too!


                                                                              SN replaced M&T – same Chef, same cuisine:

                                                                              1. re: scoopG

                                                                                Romanian models who like sea intestines? Tell me more.

                                                                              2. re: sgordon

                                                                                I tried SN New sometime over the summer and was disappointed - nothing like M&T and nowhere near as good as far as I remember. A much better restaurant nearby is Jiang Li, a northeastern Chinese favorite of mine.

                                                                                1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                                                  Maybe it was an off night? Because from what I gathered it's the same chef in the kitchen, and the menu hasn't changed... it's the identical restaurant to M&T, at least on paper, just a name change. Unless there's been further change since I last went (I think June was my last visit...)

                                                                                  1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                                                    I liked Jiang Li, which is directly across the street from SN New but have not been there in a long time. I wonder if it your negative expereince at SN New was an off-night too. I tought it was actually better than M&T in some regards.


                                                                                    1. re: scoopG

                                                                                      I'll give it another shot. The menu definitely wasn't the same and the people working front of house were different from what I could remember.

                                                                                      1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                                                        James and Mei sold M&T in January of 2012 and the new Owner changed the name to SN New. At that time he retained the chef but later changed the menu while still keeping it Qingdao style.

                                                                        2. re: Lau

                                                                          Did you see New York food writer tweet that Dim Sum Go Go and Oriental Garden were "horrible", presumably in comparison to the California places you list? Sad that dim sum choices in New York are so limited. Maybe we should take out loans and check out Hakkasan. I believe they're opening up in Beverly Hills and Las Vegas, too.

                                                              2. Neither a reply to the OP nor anything else, but I dim sum'd in Chinatown (the Manhattan one) for the first time a few weeks ago, at Jin Fong. Went quite late (around 13:30), but the atmosphere was convivial enough.

                                                                Though, what was going on the side in between the center stage and the Elizabeth St. stage? It seemed like there was a buffet of drinks? But they were closing up shop so I couldn't tell (and neglected to ask).

                                                                Also, sat in a good spot right by the escalators. Once I started blabbing in Chinese, they kept coming by. Not rude at all, much different from my trial runs in Hong Kong.

                                                                1. Just to bring this thread up to date, we went to Jing Fong around 1100 on a Thursday. Loved, loved, loved it! The teenager was a little apprehensive about some of the dishes, but I finally managed to snag enough things she recognized that nobody went hungry. I liked the shu mai and a couple of dumplings that I really didn't recognize. I was very surprised at how low the bill was, too. Thanks, everyone, for the recs!