380 Lafayette Street
New York, New York
We’ve covered Chinatown Brasserie before — but as it was the first night of service, the complete Dim Sum menu wasn’t yet fully established, and I wanted to try more. This last weekend, prompted by Frank Bruni’s perplexing 1-star review (which I can’t in good conscience agree with) I had Sunday dim sum at the restaurant with my wife and four friends.
I have to say that Chinatown Brasserie is producing some of the most exceptional and high-quality dim sum items in the city, albeit at prices that are considerably above the norm (about 3 times more than your average Dim Sum restaurant in Chinatown, such as Ping’s, or Dim Sum Go Go). However, Chinatown Brasserie isn’t competing with these places. All of the restaurant’s dishes are cooked fresh to order (no steam carts) and are ordered a la carte, and the ambiance of the restaurant rivals something more like a Chinese Balthazar than a 22 Mott Street. I think its a wonderful place to have a very classy Dim Sum lunch, with some nice cocktails, in a very cool atmosphere. However, If you’re looking for Chinese restaurant bargains it’s not the place for you.
While some of the people I brought took exception to the cost of the items and the portioning, everyone said the quality and flavor of the dishes were exceptional. There wasn’t a single dish we didn’t like.
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Dried String Beans with Pork
Pan Fried Turnip Cake
Pan Fried Dumplings
Fried Oysters (With Sweet and Sour Sauce, on the side)
Malaysian Eggplant with Shrimp. I really liked this one, a different take on the typical Cantonese with Black Bean Sauce version.
Pea Shoot Dumplings with Shrimp. Everyone thought these were the cutest.
Vegetable Dumplings with Peanuts
Fish Skin Dumplings
“Lasagnette” with Pork and Chile Sauce, a fusion dish that we thought worked really well.
Egg Custard Tarts
Sticky Rice Balls, filled with Black Sesame Paste
Warm Sponge Cake