Chinese BBQ at Hao Noodle in Chelsea

Certain Asian cultures are known for their bbq, but Chinese has never been one of them. Grilled skewered meat, however, is actually a very popular street food in many parts of China. The new outpost of Hao Noodle in Chelsea devotes a portion of its menu to this relatively unfamiliar but very tasty Chinese bbq tradition. The cuts of meat are small and delicate, but the flavors are anything but. The lamb with cumin explodes with heat, while the pork shimmers in a sweet marinade. Once in awhile the flavors venture too far out into the deep end, as was the unfortunate outcome with the gloppy eggplant in fish-flavor sauce, but in most instances, the boldness hung comfortably by a thread. The most successful dish, in my opinion, was the one with the most restraint, which in this meal was the grilled steak. There were minimal seasonings and the meat was accompanied by just a side of garlic and salt and pepper, a less is more approach that was very effective.Read More

Hop Kee in Chinatown

cantonese crab at hop kee

Hop Kee is one of those old school Chinatown restaurants that look like it hasn’t changed since the 70s. The fixtures are a little frayed from the years of wear and tear and the gray-haired staff looks like it hasn’t turned over since the day it first opened. The only thing that’s changed is the number of people who’ve stumbled upon this hole in the wall, including myself a few weeks ago.Read More

Fancy Peking Duck at DaDong NYC

Everyone knows the Chinese have all the money, so now a bunch of fancy Chinese restaurants are opening up in New York to cater to this clientele. These places are big and swanky, having more in common with a slick and clubby Hakkasan than humble little Hop Kee on Mott St. The latest, and perhaps most anticipated, addition is DaDong (the restaurant has been booked solid on Opentable for months), a famous Beijing chain renowned for its roast duck. Its splashy U.S. debut in Bryant Park leaves no doubt that this is clearly a high end restaurant where no expense was spared in its design and construction. Guests walk into a sleek lobby and are greeted by an attractive host who shows you to the elevator, as if you are going to the rooftop of a nice bar for bottle service, except in this case you’re either going to the second floor for a la carte dining or the third floor for the fancier tasting menu experience.Read More

The Tang in East Village

In New York, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to Asian noodles. Ramen noodles have always been a longtime favorite, udon and soba are making some inroads, and now Chinese noodles of all forms are making a big splash. I’ve always had a soft spot for Chinese noodles in a thick, savory sauce, like dan dan or jjajangmyun, so I was especially excited to hear about The Tang, a Chinese noodle bar in the East Village that specializes in these brothless noodle varieties.Read More

RedFarm Upper West Side

The server at the UWS branch of RedFarm was pretty upfront with me in describing the food there as Americanized Chinese food, which I thought was super helpful in setting expectations. You shouldn’t come to RedFarm expecting cheap plates of tasty dumplings or noodles. This is Chinese food for rich white people, so prices will be at least double, and American tweaks will be made to some traditional recipes such as putting Katz’s pastrami meat into an egg roll or adding applewood smoked bacon to scallion pancakes. Some of the mashups are actually quite good, and others will leave you wondering where your money went.Read More