By Christopher Pape
Here in the city we are spoilt for choices when it comes to Asian (pan, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc...) food. From the high to the low and everything in between, options abound for the picky New Yorker eater. And it isn’t necessarily the case (as it is typically in French or Italian) that cheaper means lesser quality. In fact, there are two places that I frequented recently, whose prices are modest but whose taste is great, which should definitely be on your radar. Take my word for it; these are two places that can’t be missed.
Full House Café:
Located on the outskirts of Chinatown on Bowery, Full House Café is designed for a younger crowd of native Chinese customers and in the know non-Chinese seeking authentically delicious food at reasonable prices. With a modern décor and a full assortment of Chinese delicacies they are poised at becoming one of the hottest Chinese restaurants in town. It was telling that even my friend, who originates from Beijing, was impressed with the quantity and quality of their offerings.
From their steamed crab meat and pork juicy dumplings (a perennial favorite of this journalist and done perfectly here) to Shanghai salted duck, each dish was made with care and consideration to the real flavors of the particular region of China they are highlighting. My friend, of aristocratic means and a fan of more subtle flavors, thought that the Peking duck was pleasantly plump with a full range of smoky flavors which is to be expected (and is to be demanded) from the moist flesh. But whatever you choose Full House Café is sure to delight and please. Take it from this Sinophile, there are few Chinese restaurants in the city as good as here!
Popular among the NYU crowd, Republic located in the northwest corner of Union Square serves up deliciously prepared pan-Asian dishes that are sure to please. From appetizers like Fried Calamari which were breaded and had spicy mayo, watercress and sesame seeds which were equally imaginative and hearty to soups whose rich broth made me swoon – we were smiling through the whole meal. Their noodle dishes must be tried. Amongst their varied and interesting choices, our favorite was the spicy duck served with rice vermicelli, shredded duck, curry, coconut milk, bean sprouts and cilantro. Its play on Thai flavors was clear, yet with the rice vermicelli it also recalled Vietnam. The cilantro added needed brightness and the duck was succulently tender. Perfect for late night cravings or brunch plans, Republic has been churning out quality food at reasonable prices for years. Besides their savory options their dessert and drinks deserve praise. Go for yourself and you’ll see what I mean – it’s more than a bargain, it’s delicious too!