There's never been a better time to eat Chinese food in New York, and here's our comprehensive-but-selective guide to it all: the good, the great, and the decent, all to help you find the best Chinese food across the boroughs.
'Legend' on Serious Eats
The scallion pancakes at Legend are some of the best I've had of late, though they come with an opinion about what scallion pancakes should be.
Come warm weather, we're all up for cold noodles: cool, nutty soba; Korean nang myeun in ice broth; tongue-tingling Chinese noodles laced with chili oil—we'll take 'em all. What will we be eating when the thermometer rises to three digits? These are a good start.
Recently, a branch of Legend opened up in the old Rack and Soul space on 109th off of Broadway (may it rest in peace). The Chelsea location of the restaurant is up there with Cafe China as my favorite hot-and-spicy Chinese in Manhattan. The Upper West Side location has nearly the same menu (albeit with slightly higher prices and lacking in the strange Vietnamese tack-on the downtown location has), all the way from the steamed chicken in chili oil to the beef and turnip casseroles. Here's how it stacks up.
Only after putting together my list did I realize that a full seven out of eight of the very best bites I had in New York this year were from East Asian restaurants. Not a single burger or pizza on the list!
You may have occasion to be eating Chinese food in a couple days, and if so, you're likely looking for a movie theater afterward. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite Chinese restaurants with directions to the closest movie theater.
Think of these cakes as delicately fried mochi, coated in sesame seeds and stuffed with a sweet potato filling that's custard-soft with a bit of chew. The jolt of warm sweet potato flavor is enough to shock you out of the ma la monotony that can sometimes accompany even great Sichuan meals.
Eggplant is one of those culinary chameleons that can take on the flavors of just about any cuisine. Italian? Bring on the mozzarella. Japanese? Hello, miso. Indian? Israeli? Sichuan? Azerbaijani? All good. The humble eggplant has an awful lot of stamps in its passport. So let's look at our favorite eggplant dishes in the city.
We've eaten at all sorts of excellent restaurants in the city this year, but what were the dishes that truly stood out? Here are my best bites of 2011.
The Chelsea Vietnamese fusion restaurant Safran has recently undergone a transformation into a bona fide, full-fledge Sichuanese joint, Legend. We decided to take a full-staff field trip to see how it stacks up to its other Manhattan competitors. Long story short: It beats 'em all, hands down.