This week, Untapped New York is gearing up for what I believe may be the most under-publicized event in the history of Manhattan – Chinatown Restaurant Week, Restaurant Week’s friendly Asian sibling. As a writer who often spends three to four days per week exploring and discovering the tastes of Chinatown (check out my Sunday in Chinatown column here on Untapped), this is really everything I’ve ever wanted.
But wait. Before we get too excited, let’s go over some details. The idea is simple – starting tomorrow, March 9th, pay $18.88 (we’ve tried very hard to figure out where this number came from… still nothing) to sample a multi-course prix fixe meal at one of over a dozen Chinatown restaurants. The question remains, of course, how do you possibly decide where to go? After all, countless restaurants in Chinatown offer incredibly delicious, filling dinners for well under $10.
Well, lucky for you, we’ve already been to a bunch of these spots… and we know where you can get your money’s worth. We made a list of restaurants where the chances of you finding me face down in a dish of Chinese bliss are the highest. Don’t forget to click on each restaurant name to read its accompanying Sunday in Chinatown piece. Here we go:
1. The Golden Unicorn – We spent our Chinese New Year here for good reason. A sprawling, dim sum mega-house features one of the most exciting dining experiences you’ll find in Chinatown. Draped in seemingly ancient Chinese tablecloths and decorated with LED-eyed dragons, Golden Unicorn takes excess to a whole new level. Did we also mention that the food was delicious (and plentiful)? We think you’ll get more than your money’s worth here.
2. Nha Trang One – Though its namesake suggests that the restaurants participating should come from a single country, Chinatown Restaurant Week wouldn’t be complete without a heaping bowl of steaming Vietnamese Pho… and Nha Trang dishes out some of the best. Trust us – you won’t feel sorry for parting ways with your strange sum of money here.
3. New Malaysia Restaurant – This spot served us one of our favorite ‘Sunday in Chinatown’ dinners yet. Tucked into the Chinatown Arcade, a narrow pedestrian alley bridging Elizabeth St and Bowery, New Malaysia’s menu is huge, its offerings well worth a few extra dollars (I had my first taste of aromatic crab here, now one of my favorite dishes in New York). Just make sure you get here early, New Malaysia may be hidden, but it’s not a secret anymore. We hope you’ll find out why soon enough.
And our wild card pick…
4. Peking Duck House – I can’t speak for Peking Duck House personally, because I have not had the opportunity to sit down and devour one of their famed birds just yet. But I’ve known plenty of friends who have left PDH as changed men and women. This is where we’re headed for this coming week’s Sunday in Chinatown… maybe we’ll see you there! Note: While nearly every restaurant offers a dinner option for CRW, Peking Duck House only offers a lunch option.
As you can tell, we’re beyond excited for the inaugural Chinatown Restaurant Week. Chinatown’s restaurants have long deserved more attention among the culinary elites (thankfully, we’ve always had Anthony Bourdain), and we can’t think of a better way for the old neighborhood to get it.