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Jul 31, 2013 07:34 AM

Chinese Restaurants in Northern NJ

So...if we are talking Bergen County, the Northern NJ area (Passaic County, etc.) -- what are some of your favorite Chinese restaurants?

I know that many people look at "authentic" as being a major benchmark. Sure, if that's what you are looking for, that's fine. I also think the more "typical" American'ized version of the Chinese restaurant can be good too. Perhaps that's what you are looking for -- fresh/quality ingredients, good taste, flavor, good implementation and your basic sesame chicken can be very good. LOL.

So where are your favorites? I've heard a lot about Chengdu 46 (Clifton). Years ago I had heard this was one of the top places in Northern NJ (not sure if it was this location, or I am confusing it with another place, similar name, etc.). I've also heard a lot about the other Chengdu's -- Chengdu 1 (Cedar Grove) and Chengdu 23 (Wayne). Any thoughts and/or comments?

I remember enjoying Hunan Taste (Denville, I think) years ago, but I haven't been there in quite some time. What about Chef Jon's (Parsippany)? While it's not "gourmet" nor do I view it as a typical chain -- I've always enjoyed the food and experience at PF Chang's (Hackensack). Between the atmosphere, service, quality, taste/flavor and implementation -- I liked it. Very good alternative/option for me. My first time at PFC was many years ago in FL, and I when I got back from my trip the closest one was in Westchester, so I went one night.

Silver Pond in Fort Lee is well liked, very good, etc. I recently went to China Paradise in Wayne. It was very good. They have been around a long time -- 30 plus years. Nice atmosphere, bar area, dining room. The food was very good -- quality, taste, flavor, and everything was well prepared and executed. I would go back there again, and I will.

Others? Thank you in advance.

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  1. Chengdu 23 in Wayne would get my vote for best / most authentic Chinese resto in the area. Fantastic Szechuan cuisine. Also really enjoy Tina Louise in Carlstadt.

    5 Replies
    1. re: yogi70

      Thanks. I am not familiar with Tina Louise in Carlstadt. What kind of place is it? Thanks in advance.

      1. re: ELA

        I guess it would be considered an Asian fusion / Chinese dine-in restaurant. It is byob and has traditional and nontraditional dishes with very nice presentation. Quaint "hole in the wall" that's a fun place with another couple and a few bottles of wine. It is part of the restaurant group that owns Mignon in Rutherford and Taos's wok in East Rutherford

        1. re: yogi70

          Fwiw I think mignon has been closed for a while...

            1. re: Curlz

              Had dinner at the Mambo Tea house in Rutherford a few weeks back and didn't even notice Mignon was closed. Im assuming a new restaurant took the spot? Last time I had dinner there was in the fall sometime (October?) thanks for the heads up.
              PS - Mambo tea house was very tasty, really good Cuban food (Braised Oxtail was outstanding). BYO Rum and they make Mojitos for you. nice...

      2. You'll find plenty of detailed posts on both, but the UN-related Chengdu 1 in Cedar Grove and Chengdu 23 in Wayne (in the West Belt Mall behind Willowbrook) are the places you want to hit FOR CERTAIN.

        In my opinion, both do the 'typical' Chinese dishes extremely well, but of course, you can (and SHOULD!) venture in to legit Chengdu territory when in their capable hands!

        I've been to Hunan Taste a few times in the last year because my friend's 80+ parents like it, and they also do the basics + more very well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Curlz

          Thanks. Like I said, I haven't been to Hunan Taste in quite some time. First time there, when I drove up and then walked in, I thought I was walking into one of those old fashioned Chinese restaurants of the 70's when I was a kid, LOL. It had that traditional theme/look, and at first glance the menu wasn't far different either. But looks are deceiving.

          I remember I enjoyed the place. I didn't get many dishes the few times I was there, and I stuck with what I liked -- but everyone who I went with enjoyed their dishes very much.

          Any thoughts on Look See (Rt. 17/Ramsey)? The original location (Fort Lee) was excellent. That location became Sally Ling's and this Look See opened. It's a totally different kind of place, atmosphere, and the food in the Ramsey location doesn't compare to what the Fort Lee location was doing.

          Thanks again.

        2. There are more than a few different types, or styles of cooking. What appeals to one may not appeal to another one's preference for taste. Personally, I don't have the love for some of the board favorites of others...and they may feel exactly the same for mine. The better Chinese restaurants, regardless of region....tend to specialize in Seafoods and
          Whole Fish. These places generally are not well received because they tend to be much more expensive than the typical Chinese-American / Polynesian fare. The AYCE buffets really ruined it for many restaurants, and in order to compete in some cases, the restaurants have had to compromise on quality of ingredients to survive to cover overhead.

          With that said, I enjoy....

          Silver Pond
          Petite Soo Chow
          Lotus Cafe
          Qin Dynasty

          For take-out, Zen Kitchen and Joy Food Kitchen, cook food reminiscent of my youth.

          3 Replies
          1. re: fourunder

            Having lived in CP and FL for a long time, I am familiar with those places -- all very good. Thanks.

            Qin Dynasty -- is that the place in Parsippany? Isn't it connected to the Red Roof Inn or something?

            I've never tried the other two/take out. ZK was relatively close (Teaneck, right?). The other is in Northvale or Norwood I think. Not sure. Thanks again.

            1. re: ELA

              Correct on all the locations....that's pretty impressive.

              Here's my Dim Sum Report for Qin Dynasty.. The furniture is crappy, but the food is good.


              Chef Jon's


              Zen is not your typical Chinese Take-Out....the portions are smaller, but I find his style of cooking to be very good. The Hot & Sour Soup rivals Petite Soo Chow's version. They also make their Egg Rolls on premise. If you like Fried Chicken Wings, give them a try here. The coat with a hint of curry....very tasty.

              Joy Foo is a throwback kitchen in the Style of true Cantonese ....just like I remember from the 60s-80s.....they were also rated one of the Top 100 take-outs in the country by a Chinese Food Trade publication.

              1. re: fourunder


                Unless it's really uncomfortable, I don't care about the furniture. LOL. Don't get me wrong, the experience, ambiance, etc. can be important. Certain places I go to for the experience -- but not if the food is bad. Other places you go to is because of the food -- and the ambiance is what it is. Sometimes it adds to it, LOL.

                Who goes to Libby's or Rutt's for the furniture? LOL.

                Anyway, thanks for the heads up. I probably won't get a chance to do take-out from either place, unless I am visiting a friend and can talk them into it. Maybe use their house for a delivery, LOL.

                Thanks again.

          2. I haven't been to many North Jersey Chinese restaurants, but if you want to have a proper comparison of the different Chinese joints you really need to break it down by region. I haven't been to 23 but Chengdu 1 is one of the best Sichuan joints I've been to. Be warned though, you need to go ready to tango with some serious heat.

            Unfortunately I don't really have any experience with the other places you mentioned...definitely check out Chengdu 1 though.

            2 Replies
              1. Interesting--today's Munchmobile article:

                How they did this trip without going to Chengdu 1 or Chengdu 23 is BEYOND me...but, hey--they're busy enough already!

                ETA: If you go to Chengdu 1 and aren't sure about which of the many special dishes to order, ask to have Jessica come to the table! She's a huge help and has rarely steered us wrong.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Curlz

                  They went searching for authentic dishes and ordered sesame chicken at Shanghai Noodle house? Pfft.