After the sun has set and the mid-day rush of food purveyors close up shop, I head down to Chinatown. I love walking the seemingly endless streets of Asian restaurants and food vendors when it’s quiet and peaceful, which one would never expect of Chinatown. In truth I’ve only been down there a handful of times, once to take the bus to Philly (which I do NOT recommend), another to visit a shady Bahn-Mi sandwich shop that serves delicious iced coffee reminiscent of a slushy, and my favorite being a trip to the New Green Bo (Nice Green Bo). The New Green Bo is one of my favorite restaurants down there and also the only one I’d visited.
But I returned to Chinatown a few weeks ago for the same reason as most people, to get a phenomenal yet inexpensive BYO Chinese dinner. I had planned to go to dinner with a large group of friends and figured a restaurant in Chinatown would be perfect for us. After doing some research, I made an 8:30pm reservation for 10 at New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe. I’d seen a review on Serious Eats that had spoken fairly well of the place, and it being a BYO pretty much sealed the deal.
Being notoriously late, I was pretty much the last one to arrive, and was immediately informed that the restaurant had a BYO WINE only policy. Seeing as half of my friends brought beer, this was not the most ideal situation. Though I used my best arguing voice, the maitre d’ refused to allow us to drink our beers and my friends were forced to purchase a few bottles of wine from a nearby bodega. Luckily, our beers were returned after we had finished dinner, and celebrated the triumph by successfully smuggling them into Happy Ending. But that is a story for another time.
We began our meal with a variety of steamed and fried pork and vegetable dumplings. Even in my first bite, I could tell you I’d had better. The New Shanghai Deluxe dumplings paled in comparison to the steamed Spinach dumplings at the New Green Bo.
We also tried the sesame noodles, which again, nothing special. The sesame sauce, my absolute favorite, was very bland and there was not nearly enough of it.
Luckily our main courses were good overall. We decided to order eight dishes for the table that we would happily pass around on our lazy susan. My favorite of the eight was the Sesame Chicken, which I’m usually not a big fan of, and the Orange Beef. I think the majority of our group also enjoyed those two dishes the most. I was somewhat disappointed with the Shanghai Noodles with Shrimp but pleasantly surprised by the Shrimp Lo Mein. The Lo Mein was served with a thicker noodle which added a nice texture to the dish.
I would certainly recommend New Yeah Shanghai for big groups and someone new to Chinatown. The service and food were both good and was unbelievably inexpensive. I believe it came out to about $11 per person for a great array of Chinese fare. Just be sure to make a reservation in advance and stick to the wine!
New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe
65 Bayard Street (near Mott)