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Chinese place to meet the parents?

janbrady Feb 15, 2014 04:12 PM

Looking for someplace quiet with a bit of ambience and, of course tasty food. But nothing TOO adventurous, and Szechuan is out, as boyfriend's parents can't do spice. Hunan Manor perhaps--anyone been?

  1. scoopG Feb 15, 2014 04:57 PM




    1. p
      Pookipichu Feb 15, 2014 05:25 PM

      Many of the dishes at Hunan Manor are spicy. Hunan province is famous for the chili peppers.

      Do you have a budget/price range for the meal?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Pookipichu
        janbrady Feb 16, 2014 04:21 AM

        No--price is no object! My parents are Asian, though, and aren't into "upscale" froufrou Asian/Asian fusion, if you know what I mean.

        1. re: janbrady
          Pookipichu Feb 16, 2014 04:18 PM

          I hope you enjoy Tang Pavilion, I've only been once many, many years ago so I can't really comment. Let us know how it is :)

      2. s
        Simon Feb 15, 2014 05:34 PM

        hmm, this is tricky one as, imo, Manhattan's best Chinese restaurants are Sichuan...is there a reason why you've specifically picked Chinese?...if so, here are couple ideas...

        -- China Blue...i haven't been there, and i'm unlikely to ever go there as i had a very poor experience on my last visit at the same-owners other place Cafe China...but: China Blue is Shanghainese (sweet and sour flavors and not spicy) and it's supposedly nice ambience and might work for this meal...there are some recent positive reviews here...

        -- while Legend is Sichuan and its best dishes are Sichuan, it could still work for this meal if you order the non-spicy dishes...not optimal at all, but ok as a backup if the meal has to be Chinese...not heavy on ambience but not divey either...

        -- Hunan Manor has some good points, but a) it's low on ambience; the vibe is generic/divey, and b) a lot of the top dishes are spicy...so i don't think it fits your criteria

        -- someone will undoubtedly hype Hakkasan, so i'll preempt by saying it's wildly overpriced and the food was terrible when i went and the ambience is nice only if you like gaudy Vegas hotels...

        -- You'll prob want to specify a price-range for the meal, so other commenters can recommend places in the budget you want...and also tell us if you are open to other cuisines...and clarify more what you mean by "not too adventurous"...cheers...

        5 Replies
        1. re: Simon
          janbrady Feb 16, 2014 04:23 AM

          Thanks! So, the groom's parents are Jewish/Italian, the bride's are Chinese/Indian, and non-spicy Chinese falls into the small space on the Venn diagram of foods they all like. Bride's father does not like most American or European foods, nor Thai. Groom's parents are actually quite adventurous but cannot eat anything very spicy and are not Indian food fans. So we figured Chinese was a good way to meet in the middle. Price is no object, but see note above--parents are not into frou-frou Buddakan-y fusion-y food. We just want a nice meal where we can all get to know each other over tasty food in a quiet atmosphere that isn't dingy or dirty.

          1. re: janbrady
            kathryn Feb 16, 2014 07:34 AM

            Would Japanese work for somewhere quiet, clean, relaxing, etc.?

            1. re: kathryn
              janbrady Feb 16, 2014 08:07 AM

              Bride's parents don't like Japanese. This is tough, I know!

            2. re: janbrady
              Simon Feb 16, 2014 08:48 AM

              Tricky indeed...i'll see if i can think of anything besides the above places Legend and China Blue...

              I can't imagine what your wedding banquet is going to look like ;)

              1. re: janbrady
                coasts Feb 16, 2014 08:58 AM

                the large booths at Congee Bowery could work well. that stretch of Bowery isn't the nicest, but the restaurant itself is decent inside.

                not sure why you are quick to dismiss Szechuan food, though. You'll only need a few non-spicy dishes for the groom's parents. At Szechuan Gourmet, two of my best dishes aren't hot at all - string beans with yibin and braised beef with mushrooms.

                at the end of the day, the meal is more about getting to know each other than it is about great food, right?

            3. ipsedixit Feb 15, 2014 06:04 PM


              1. d
                diprey11 Feb 16, 2014 06:03 AM

                How about Tang Pavilion on 55 St?

                The decor is very reasonable, food is not spicy at all, you can find both decent fusion food and Shanghai seafood specialties. Although I've never tried anything from their JiangSu specials menu (in the front, in Chinese only), friends highly recommended it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: diprey11
                  janbrady Feb 16, 2014 09:14 AM

                  Ding ding ding--this looks perfect!

                2. d
                  debinqueens Feb 16, 2014 07:24 AM

                  how about Chin Chin on 49th and 2nd?

                  very nice ambience -- old-school medium upscale (cloth napkins, nice banquettes, good waiters) but not slick or overly modern.

                  menu has Cantonese basics with a few surprises, and I've never had a disappointing meal there. entrees are reasonably priced for the area/quality -- $20 ish for chicken/beef, $30 ish for prawns/lobster.

                  recommend the tea smoked duck (served with a mini-peking duck set up) and all the sliced steak dishes.


                  1. j
                    janbrady Feb 16, 2014 09:14 AM

                    Thanks so much, everyone! I think we're going to go with Tang Pavilion (thanks for the rec, diprey11). This is one case where decor and comfort might outweigh food. Love Szech Gourmet, and do want to try Hunan Manor at some point.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: janbrady
                      Simon Feb 16, 2014 03:50 PM

                      great...please report back and give us a review :)

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