Is there anything better on this earth than the Chinese-style spare ribs that many of us grew up on? I don't think so. The good ones are tender, porky, and just sweet enough. The late Jerry Nachtman once wrote something to the effect that "I used to think that I could never get enough spare ribs." I'm that guy. I never think that I'll get enough spare ribs, especially now that a small order usually is less than six ribs.
Anyway, here's my top five list for Chinese-style spare ribs in NYC, in no particular order:
- Chinatown Brasserie: 380 Lafayette St. (Great Jones), 212-533-7000. They hired away the long-time barbecue guy at one of the Shun Lees. The ribs and duck here are amazing.
- Big Wong: 67 Mott Street (bet. Bayard and Canal), 212-964-0540: Big Wong ribs make a great Chinatown walking lunch, though you will need an entire roll of paper towels. The ribs are small, sticky, sweet four bite jobbies, served the traditional Chinese way, at room temperature.
- Pig Heaven: 1540 Second Ave. (80th and 81st Sts). 212-744-4333: Love the name, and they back it up with great ribs and even better suckling pig. The ribs here are long, lean, and incredibly meaty.
- Greater NY Noodletown: 28 1/2 Bowery (Bayard), 212-349-0923: Yeah, they're rude, but the barbecue, soups, and a few other dishes are outrageously good.
- Tang Tang: 1328 Third Avenue (76th St. 212-279-2102, 243 Third Ave. (20th St.) 212-477-0460: The crisper, crunchier ribs
There are holes on this list. Brooklyn or Queens Chinese ribs joints, anyone?