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Feb 1, 2014 10:43 AM

Solo Dining in Chinese Restaurants

There are several restaurants I want to try, Hunan Homes, Bund Shanghai, Utopia, etc., but I can't always find company so we can order several dishes. What's the best way for someone eating alone to suss out the quality of a place? If time of day matters, it would be either late lunch or early dinner.

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  1. Order what you want and take leftovers home?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Another idea is to order some cold dishes for takeout after you've finished your meal. Many good Chinese places have cold dishes on the menu. Such dishes are traditional for the beginning of a large meal.

    2. I eat alone in Chinatown semi-regularly when circumstances permit. I go during the day and have a soup or a noodle dish. These are often discounted during lunch and are a good indication of the relative quality level of the restaurant (rice plates on the other hand are not. I find they are often less interesting than the rest of the menu). Be prepared to share a table, usually the big round one, with other solo diners, often in complete silence.
      If the lunch is good and the rest of the menu looks interesting, I will return for dinner.
      This strategy worked well last week at the new House of Xian dumplings on Kearny. Lunch (dumplings and noodles in broth) was a tasty bargain. I'm looking forward to returning for dinner.