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Best Chinese Food Midtown East

What's the best chinese restaurant in midtown?

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  1. I have three in Midtown East:
    Mapo Tofu
    Hunan Manor
    Phoenix Garden

    1. Hunan Manor is your best best. Phoenix Garden is an old style Cantonese - haven't been yet. There are much better Sichuan options than Mapo Tofu further west at Szechuan Gourmet or Lan Sheng on West 39th Street, between Fifth and Sixth.

      Hunan Manor:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/804061

      Mapo Tofu:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/710598

      1. La Vie En Szechuan.

          1. Hands down Hakkasan. There's NO comparison.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Pookipichu

              "Hands down" implies a challenge. I would like to put forward Szechuan Gourmet (@39 St) for comparison. I ate lunch there today: I had a very simple chicken dish, nothing fancy and under $10. Perfectly diced, lovingly stir-fried, tastefully seasoned. (Perfectly even-sized cubes, different cuts of chicken meat have appropriately different sizes, some juice on the plate--but not too much and the right--small, heh--amount of cornstarch, a nice balance of Sichuan peppercorns vs regular heat.) Yes, I like honest Chinese food.

              1. re: diprey11

                :) I've eaten at Szechuan Gourmet many times, it's affordable and the food is tasty but in my opinion, it is not in the same league as Hakkasan, not even close. Of course my ratio of dining at Szechuan Gourmet is going to be 10 to 1 due to not being able to afford Hakkasan.

                1. re: Pookipichu

                  We agree to disagree. :-) different people have different tastes of course.

                  I gave an example of a $9 item, but there are dishes priced $85 and up. There is no shortage of luxury food items at SG: you just have to ask the head waiter. It's not the price as such, rather it's a bang for the buck.

                  I wouldn't discount them for offering economy-style food: it's in their system of values, not an admission of inferiority. They have a seriously talented chef.

                  1. re: diprey11

                    I've eaten at both. At SG I have sampled many dishes over the years. I think it's a fine restaurant on the level of Hunan Kitchen of GS in Flushing. That being said, even though people have different tastes, they're not even aspiring to the same market. It's like saying that Carmine's is better than Del Posto. I'm not disparaging or downgrading SG because it's less expensive, it's about execution, quality of ingredients, ambiance all of which are superior at Hakkasan. Hakkasan has seriously talented chefs (not to mention a genius pastry chef), and a lot of the negativity directed toward Hakkasan is simply because it is expensive for a Chinese restaurant in NYC. Their Peking duck is phenomenal. Their chocolate orange has the showmanship of EMP and is beautiful.

                    1. re: Pookipichu

                      Then I simply have to try their Beijing duck. Thank you for the leads!

                      1. re: Pookipichu

                        As a Korean who used to live in Hong Kong for 10 years, I always crave fine dining Chinese cuisine and Hakkasan is indeed welcome rain to drought. My only complaint is Hakkasan's dishes lack seasonality unlike those haute Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong, but that's understandable given lack of locals in New York who appreciate such fine dining Chinese foods.

                        1. re: kosmose7

                          As somebody who has enjoyed HK fine dining over the years, I do agree. And I always ask myself, how is Hakkasan like Le Bernardin, my yardstick for fine dining in NYC? It's quite possible to name a comparable restaurant in HK, and the price tag will be appropriately high. But I think people tend to be overly generous in who they call "a talented chef". Well, I do (blush).

                          I would never call LB too expensive: just not everyday's meal. I hope the difference is clear, but to hammer things into the perspective, I do think MacD is expensive while LB is not.

                  1. re: GaryUES

                    You're right, I just read the body of his text and not the headline.

                2. Land of Plenty. Focus on their Sichuan dishes.

                  1. Land of Plenty for sure..I ate there 3 times this week.
                    .and I thought I wasn't a fan of Chinese food.
                    I feel lucky I work very close from the restaurant.
                    Plus the restaurant is actually clean and I love the waiters there.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Monica

                      Just ordered some beef tendon appetizer, tripe and ox tongue appetizer, zsechuan dumplings and pork with smoked tofu and chinese celery for lunch.

                    2. Honestly it's not even close. Hunan Manor, Szechuan Gourmet on 39th is also very admirable.

                      1. Since no one has mentioned it yet, Lan Sheng. It's terrific.

                        It's been awhile since I've been to Szechuan Gourmet but I've had plenty of very good meals there and no reason to think it's slipped. I've only eaten at Land of Plenty once but I liked it a lot.

                        I thought Cafe China was pretty enough but the food was good, not great.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          Since no one has mentioned it yet, Lan Sheng.
                          __________________________________________
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8980...

                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                              I was not a fan at first but they do have some stellar dishes, including a steamed pork rib dish in ground rice powder.

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/673788

                        2. No love for Shun Lee any more? Haven't been there in years, but...

                          1. Szechuan Gourmet and Lan Sheng are very similar, very good Szechuan restaurants on 39th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. I think SG is a little better, but Lan Sheng is kind of hardcore in a way that draws me there more often.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: guanubian

                              They are very similar in everything, except they are not in the same league. After eating there almost every week since 2005 I always recall the reaction of Paul, then the head waiter in SG to my question what he thinks of the competition from across the street. He said, please excuse an unfirm old man, I cannot see any competition.

                              1. re: diprey11

                                Yeah, I think SG is better, but I don't think the difference is that meaningful. I do think Lan Sheng sometimes overdoes the bitterness in the key Szechuan sauces. You can taste this most obviously in their rendition of the staple SZ cold noodles, at least on most days. I have Chinese (not Chinese-American) friends who also call it for SG, but do enjoy LS.

                                1. re: diprey11

                                  Funny. Michelin thinks differently.

                                  It doesn't diminish SG to say that Lan Sheng is a great restaurant.

                              2. Phoenix Garden is very good. I especially like the oyster-roast pig casserole.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: plf515

                                  Do you know how many oysters they typically put in the casserole?

                                  1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                                    I never counted them.... Maybe half a dozen? It's a big pot of food.

                                    1. re: plf515

                                      Thanks for the rec. I tried the oyster casserole for lunch today as takeout. A bit pricey for what they give you but it was tasty. I would have liked more than just 4 smallish pieces of roast pork.

                                      I also had :

                                      an over sauced version of "Pork Chop in Peking Style". I'll just ask for sauce on the side if I order this again.

                                      "Beef-Flank with Turnips in Casserole." I forgot to ask them to sub the daikon with bean curd sticks but I liked this version because they give you the three types of beef that should be in this dish. There was the gelatinous tendon, the brisket and very chewy connective tissue? (i'm not sure what that's called).

                                      Golden Fried Bean Curd meatless - I ordered this thinking it was something else. Fairly generic fried cubes of tofu with a shrimp on top even though it says meatless in the name. The best part of this was the soy sauce with scallions and cilantro that came with it.

                                      1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                                        Another good dish here is the salt and pepper shrimp.