Monday, December 14, 2015
I’ve recently moved to the village from the Upper East Side and cannot find a good dine-in Chinese restaurant in the area. I liked Mr K's uptown - do you have favorites down here I can try?
After much internet research and polling of our highly knowledgeable tour guides (including our Chinatown tour experts! http://www.foodsofny.com/chinatown.php), we found this question to be a tough one. It seems that an equivalent to Mr. K’s, which is dine-in traditional Chinese in a very fancy, white tablecloth, nice silverware setting does not EXACTLY exist in the Village. (Business idea, restaurateurs! 10% finder’s fee for Ann and myself).
Never fear! I have taken on this challenge wholeheartedly and found three great options for you, depending on your mood. I compared apples to apples (or sesame chickens to sesame chickens, as it were) at Uncle Ted’s, Grand Sichuan, and Buddakhan. Read on for my delicious findings.
For excellent traditional Chinese in a surprisingly beautiful setting: Uncle Ted’s
Uncle Ted’s is a port in a storm of bars and their patrons spilling out onto sidewalks. Located on Bleecker Street, sandwiched between the likes of Thunder Jackson’s and Wicked Willy’s, one might wrongfully assume that Uncle Ted’s is owned by Ted from Phi Beta Kappa and stop in for a pint. You can certainly get a pint here, but you’ll want to stay for the Chinese. You’ll be welcomed by modern white and red décor, and friendly and lightning-fast wait-staff.
I ordered the lunch special of sesame chicken, which came with a hot and sour soup to start. Right around $10! The soup was soul warming on this chilly, early fall day.
The sesame chicken came out at the tail end of my soup and was truly a perfect dish. The breading was so light that for once, this dish did not feel gluttonous. Normally, the breading to chicken ratio skews more towards breading. With this dish, I was truly tasting the delightful white meat chicken and the sauce, with just a hint of breading. There was an abundance of green and red peppers which made the dish feel downright healthy! A small side of fried rice meant more chicken and veggies, which is always a nice ratio. Plenty of sauce to coat the rice as well.
This is a great place to come for date night, solo dining AND certainly after spending time on your Bleecker Street bar crawl. Nothing coats a boozy belly quite like delicious Chinese.
|Hot & Sour Soup|
Details: Uncle Ted's163 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
Visit Uncle Ted’s after our Heart of the Village tour!
For very good Chinese in a no-frills setting: Grand Sichuan
Do a google search of Grand Sichuan in NYC. Humor me, just go ahead and do it. You will find a ridiculous number of places called Grand Sichuan. Sifting through reviews to figure out which one to try proved to be one of the more difficult things about this reader’s question. I wanted to make sure I delivered and did not end up at a sub-par Grand Sichuan. Fortunately, I chose wisely and ended up at the Grand Sichuan on 7th Ave.
No-frills interior but the wait-staff was delightfully attentive and the lunch special was on point (coming in at under $10!). It came with a spring roll, which was fresh and light.
The sesame chicken itself came with crisp, bright broccoli. It was a great dish overall. Good sauce, more chicken than breading.
An all-around solid choice if lost in a sea of Grand Sichuans while glazing over staring at Yelp.
|Egg Roll & Tea|
Details: Grand Sichuan
15 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014
Visit Grand Sichuan after our Original Greenwich Village tour!
For inventive food in a spectacular setting: Buddakhan
So the closest I came to finding a very fancy setting for Chinese was Buddakhan, next to Chelsea Market. It is dark and sexy with truly breathtaking décor. The requirement that this restaurant didn’t meet was the traditional Chinese fare that Mr. K’s has. However, what Buddakhan does offer is AMAZING food, Asian with a wonderfully inventive flair.
You forget that you’re not having traditional dishes because what they’re offering is beyond what your tastebuds could’ve dreamt up. Because they don’t have traditional Chinese dishes, I went with the General Tso’s dumplings. I have NEVER had a more informative waiter than what I experienced at Buddakhan. He even mentioned that I should poke a hole in the dumpling with my chopstick before eating, or else the hot juice would squirt out. He was right, that absolutely did happen. I made sure to poke the hole in my next dumpling. These dumplings were delicious, spicy and literally bursting with flavor.
I cannot wait to go back and taste what else Buddakhan has up their sleeve.
|Private Dining Room|
|General Tso Dumplings|
75 Ninth Ave, New York, NY 10011
Visit Buddakhan after our Chelsea Market tour!