Our 10 Best NYC Chinese Restaurants, 2010 Edition
The "boiled beef with hot-spicy sauce" is every bit as mouth searing as it looks, but there are plenty of blander options -- such as "special spinach pancake" -- on Lu Xiang Yuan's menu.
Like an arcing missile, Chinese cuisine in New York moves so fast, you can barely keep track of it. Thus, our list of favorite Chinese restaurants is quite different from the one published 15 months ago, which also indicates how much our own tastes have changed under the influence of newly introduced regional cooking styles. Where once the city had mainly Cantonese places, now we have at least 15 regional cuisines, and we only expect that number to grow as new immigrants arrive.
Here, then, are Our 10 Best Chinese Restaurants.
10. Café Kashkar -- Named after a town in Xinjiang that's really just one gigantic medieval bazaar, Kashkar offers the Silk Road cuisine of far-western China, which means heavy on the Asian cumin, wheat-based breads resembling pitas, humongous lamb dumplings, and the rice dish called plov in Uzbekistan -- here comically referred to as "fried rice." 1141 Brighton Beach Avenue, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, 718-743-3832
9. Royal Seafood -- The premises have changed hands several times over the past few years, but the dim sum remains just as good, maybe the best in the city. After brunch hours, the place reverts to its status as a southern Chinese seafood specialist, but it's the perfect shrimp rice noodles, pork har gow, and homemade tofu with ginger syrup that we'll return for again and again. 103-105 Mott Street, 212-219-2338
8. Xi'an Famous Foods -- The lowly but impressive stall that started out in the basement of Golden Shopping Mall has now spread like a friendly virus to Manhattan, and the liang pi noodles, lamb noodles, and so-called lamb burger (cumin-braised meat in a homemade pita) are every bit as good as at the original establishment, which is why we're listing all the addresses. 81 St. Marks; 88 East Broadway; Golden Mall, 41-28 Main Street, Bsmt #36, Flushing, Queens; Flushing Mall, 133-31 39th Avenue, #FC10, Flushing, Queens
7. Szechuan Gourmet -- The second branch of an always-crowded West 39th Street lunch spot is even better than its sire, with a commodious second floor able to accommodate large parties. The restaurant offers a refined take on the world's hottest cuisine, and, while the spice component has been toned down somewhat, the peppercorns are still there, along with standard Sichuan dishes pristine in their preparation. 244 West 56th Street, 212-265-2226
Dotted with cracked black peppercorns and pine nuts, mounted on a bed of rice noodles and fried spinach, Yee Kee's Chow Zhou chicken represents the cooking of the city of Chaozhou, as interpreted by Hong Kong chefs.