What's the best Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn, not for take-out, but for going out?
That depends on whom you ask, and what you like.
To get the flavor for what New York's famously cranky food critics like, here's a brief summary of which Chinese eat-in restaurants in Brooklyn have caught the attention of various professional foodies from New York Magazine, the Daily News, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, and The New York Times, as well as websites and influentials Yelp, Chowhound, and Zagat, among others.
Ten Best Chinese Restaurants in Brooklyn
1. Pacificana: There's agreement among the Daily News food editors, Zagat and the The New York Times that Pacificana is worth a visit. This big, open place upstairs from a bank is the only New York Times Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn that earns a "critics pick." They serve traditional Cantonese and fusion dishes for dim sum -- and large portions of both. This Sunset Park favorite attracts locals and visitors, so arrive early to avoid a wait.
2. Grand Sichuan House: New York Magazine's "critics picks" include Bay Ridge's Grand Sichuan House for fiery Szechuan dishes.
3. Yun Nan Flavour Snack Shop: Sunset Park's Yun Nan Flavour Snack Shop draws accolades for southwestern fare from Yunnan province. Recommended by New York Magazine, this little restaurant also earned high marks from citizen reviewers on Yelp.
4. Dao Palate Vegan: Located on Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Heights, Dao Palate Vegan gets a shout-out for both healthful food and decor. Their Asian-fusion menu includes some Indian spiced dishes as well, expanding the usual range of options.
5. Lucky Eight: Food editors at two newspapers, the Daily News and The NY Times both happily stumbled on tiny Lucky Eight, which draws a family crowd for cheap, filling, Cantonese cuisine. A "small place with a big repertory," is how the Times described the Sunset Park restaurant, which is presumably named after Eighth Avenue on which it is located.
6. Chance: Time Out New York critics like the upscale restaurant Chance in Carroll Gardens, notable for an unusual fusion menu featuring French and classic Chinese dishes such as House Peking Duck.
7. East Harbor Seafood Palace: For dim sum, Yelp reviewers by the dozens give high marks to the family-oriented East Harbor Seafood Palace at the border of Sunset Park and Bay Ridge, known for its banquet style presentation, and of course, seafood dishes.
8 & 9. M Shanghai Bistro and Garden and M Noodle Shop: Foodie Williamsburg, too, has a few very good Chinese restaurants. New York Magazine likes M Shanghai Bistro and Garden on the south side and M Noodle Shop on the north side of the neighborhood.
NOTE: THERE'S STILL A RESTAURANT HERE, BUT IT'S NOW UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT, NEW NAME: 10. Yee Kee H.K. Style: Village Voice food critic Robert Sietsema unearthed a gem along multicultural Asian Avenue U, Yee Kee H.K. Style. (The "HK" stands for "Hong Kong," as in "Hong Kong Style" food). It's located deep in Brooklyn, on Avenue U, in Homecrest, sometimes also conflated with Sheepshead Bay. (See his review, however, we can't promise the food is the same, due to recent management change.)
Finally, for an exotic twist, the Village Voice's 2010 list of Best NYC Chinese Restaurants includes the Brighton Beach Cafe Kashkar. This may be stretching it a bit for lovers of classic Chinese food; think Silk Road. Food critic Sietsema informs us that the restaurant is "named after a town in Xinjiang that's really just one gigantic medieval bazaar" and features the cuisine of far-western China, "which means heavy on the Asian cumin, wheat-based breads resembling pitas, humongous lamb dumplings, and the rice dish called plov in Uzbekistan." 1141 Brighton Beach Avenue, (718) 743-3832.WHERE TO GO FOR CHINESE FOOD:
BROOKLYN'S 10 BEST CHINESE RESTAURANTS (EAT IN)
(Check here for an at-a-glance list of 2012 NYC Health Department Grades on the restaurants below: Brooklyn Chinese Restaurants by Neighborhood.)
223 Smith Street, Carroll Gardens
329 Flatbush Avenue at 7th Avenue, Prospect Heights
East Harbor Seafood Palace
714 65th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, Sunset Park
Grand Szechuan House
8701 Fifth Avenue, Bay Ridge
204 Eighth Avenue, Sunset Park
M Noodle Shop
549 Metropolitan Avenue. Williamsburg
M Shanghai Bistro & Garden
292 Grand Street, Williamsburg
813 55th Street, Sunset Park
Yee Kee-Hong Kong style
1232 Avenue U, between Homecrest Avenue and 13th Street, Sheepshead Bay
Yun Nan Flavour Snack Shop
775A 49th St., near Eighth Avenue, Sunset Park
Note: Restaurants open and close frequently; we try to provide up to date information but please call before going to the above.)