Saturday, October 15, 2011
New York, NY 10003
Chinatown Brasserie is the type of place you end up eating in when you haven't really thought about dinner plans since you spent the day participating in a run for charity (The Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research) and then decided to spend the afternoon drinking in a dive bar (The Emerald Inn). So, after naps and getting ready for dinner, you haven't made any reservations and taking a cab to a random spot in the city where there are many places to eat seems like the most sensible thing to do. This is when you end up at Chinatown Brasserie.
We may have tried at least five different restaurants first but Chinatown Brasserie was the only one that remotely even had a table available within the next year or so which was puzzling since the place is gigantic. I think it has two floors with tables in every nook and cranny. We still ended up having to wait by the bar for about 30 minutes and immediately you get a feel for the place. It's one of those industrial sized trendy places, in this case it was Asian influences, that masquerades as a restaurant but really is just a drinking hole with a nightclub/lounge (downstairs!) complete with hulking doormen and beautiful people. I think we may have arrived about 10 minutes before it became a full fledged glow stick fest so our luck wasn't all bad that night.
The restaurant offers a variety of food but touts itself as a dim sum place. We tried a variety of foods ranging from Shrimp Dumplings, Roast Pork Buns, Pork Potstickers, Chicken & Shimp Lollipops, Mango & Vegetable, the Sea Bass and the Wok-Fried Noodles. What I think the restaurant is aiming for is more refined Chinese food. What it delivers are bland flavors and what feels like more greasiness than your average Chinese takeout. Thankfully, we were tired and just wanted some food to warm our stomachs. Now, I don't want to pretend that I'm not a big fan of Chinese takeout. I just don't want that type of food when I go to a "trendy" restaurant and pay the kind of prices we paid at Chinatown Brasserie. If you go here, go for a drink, maybe even dance the night away but make sure you get are already well fed when you arrive.