Grub/Spirits Restaurant Reviews — 15 June 2011
CLOSED: Chinatown Brasserie: A Restaurant Review

 CLOSED: Chinatown Brasserie

380 Lafayette St
(between 4th St & Great Jones St)
New York, NY 10003

Getting There: 6 To Astor Place


(This restaurant is since CLOSED)

New York City’s Canal Street houses one of the finest collections of Asian restaurants in the west, which are fun and hectic at the same time. But in this city one doesn’t necessarily have to head down to Canal to get the authentic Chinatown experience. That is where Lafayette street’s Chinatown Brasserie comes in. The Chinatown Brasserie comes from the same team behind the wildly popular Lure Fishbar, so you know they are bringing some true talent to the kitchen.

The eatery is strategically located on a bustling NoHo street corner, which instantly catches the eye of anyone who walks passed it. The color palate of both the exterior and interior stays true to traditional Chinese culture with reds and yellows interwoven throughout the restaurant, either on lanterns or curtains. Ornate cherry wood lines the walls and the bar, with Asian inspired etching in the woodwork, reminiscent of the Chinese restaurants of my youth.

As soon as our group entered the restaurant, we were quickly brought over to a large, round table- similar to the setup at some of our favorite Chinatown spots. The Chinatown Brasserie has a large menu, which is broken down into distinct food categories which made having a friendly, and knowledgeable server all the more important. The restaurant serves Dim Sum and family style plates and our server made sure to make suggestions that would fill us up and satisfy us.

We selected a few Dim Sum and appetizer dishes before our main entrees and we decided upon the “curry black bass avocado tart” ($12) and the “chicken and pine nuts” ($16) wraps. While both dishes provided us with a few bites of some of their exciting menu options, we preferred the “avocado tart” as each morsel combined the taste of perfectly seared fish with a flaky pastry crust, and the wraps were relatively bland.

Moving toward the family style dishes, we tasted a fantastic “garlic and mango roasted chicken” ($19) and a “sauteed duck” ($20) dish. The garlic mango provided a sweet and savory flavor, without either of those powerful ingredients taking over the dish. The chicken was moist and capably held these saucy flavors. The duck dish provided us with generous cuts of this succulent and salty bird, served with a smattering of colorful Asian vegetables.

Our group closed out our meal with the “wok fried BBQ beef” ($18) which was by far our favorite dish of the evening. First off, the presentation was excellent. The beef was paired with chopped asparagus and hot peppers which were vibrantly red. The beef arrived cubed and covered in the sauce used during its wok cooking. The texture of each uniform beef cube, was tender and moist. The saltiness of the beef cubes was not overshadowed by the sauce, they seemed to work perfectly in concert with each other. This is a must have dish, as we highly recommend you make it a part of your visit to Chinatown Brasserie.

Chinatown Brassiere has something for all Asian food lovers. Be it some dumplings and a drink, or a full five course family style meal. The chef and your server have you covered. Sure, you could head over to the actual Chinatown on Canal. But why not head over to a place that is innovating classic Asian dishes and bringing them into the twenty first century.

-Alan Smithee

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