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Apr 11, 2013 01:33 PM

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:

      Mapo Tofu:

      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.