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John D. asks: My boss is flying in from St. Louis and he wants to eat lunch in Chinatown (they don’t really have a Chinatown there). Where should I take him?
Dear John D.: I’m assuming you mean Manhattan Chinatown – there are actually four other ones, two in Brooklyn and two in Queens.
Manhattan’s Chinatown presents plenty of places, cheap to medium-priced. Any particular kind of Chinese food? If you’re going for an early lunch, Royal Seafood has amazing dim sum, which you simply select from passing carts. It’s great fun, and you don’t have to know anything about the small plates to make a visual selection. And the bill will be very inexpensive.
For wonderful handmade noodles in a very modest setting, go to Sheng Wang and ask for the stir-fried peel noodles, or any of the Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles in soups. You can select beef or pork to be put in your soup, but many patrons select pork bones, from which they noisily suck the marrow. Spoon in the green pickled mustard greens furnished on each table, or pour in any of the soy, fish, or vinegar sauces also provided.
For a fancy Hong Kong style lunch, Ping’s is a good place — get the lobster noodles. They are especially famous for their seafood of all sorts, which swims around in tanks. Note that, even if dim sum service is in progress when you get there, you can ask for the regular menu and order from it.
Lunch is the best time to go to Mission Chinese which is one of the hottest restaurants in town right now, and the food might be called hipster Chinese, via San Francisco chef Danny Bowien. Most of the food is very spicy, though, so select this spot only if your boss is a very adventuresome eater. And note that the place is on the Lower East Side, though not far from Chinatown, if you want to stroll there afterwards.
Hope this gives you enough choices!
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