When we asked our friends and sources where to find good Chinese restaurants outside of Brooklyn’s Chinatowns in Sunset Park, Bensonhurst, and Sheepshead Bay, the response was almost universally : “Oh … I don’t know.”
Luckily, we’ve got spies all over the borough who helped us compile a shortlist of Chinese chow worth checking out if you’re not willing to make the trek to Brooklyn’s ethnic enclaves. They might not be traditional options — in fact, on the contrary — but we’ll bet these eats will curb your craving for Szechuan — at least until the next time you find yourself south of Prospect Park.
This Bay Ridge staple has two menus — one for takeout, featuring Americanized favorites a la General Tso’s Chicken and Beef with Brocolli; and one for those looking for a traditional dish, one that includes proteins along the lines of jellyfish, tongue, and tripe. Watch out for the peppercorns; they’re hot hot hot.
Grand Sichuan House [8701 Fifth Ave. at 87th street in Bay Ridge, (718-680-8887)].
A brownstone Brooklyn favorite, Red Hot specializes in fast, tasty Szechuan cuisine, which means dark sauces and hot, spicy flavors. But the hottest thing about this restaurant is undisputably its location. Right smack dab in the middle of Park Slope, Red Hot is your best bet for predictable, reliable Chinese that’s cheap, quick and close by.
Red Hot Szechuan [347 Seventh Ave. between 10th and 11th streets in Park Slope, (718) 369-2577].
Yen Yen Chinese Restaurant in Flatbush/Dyker Heights
This Chinese joint isn’t just known for its food — it’s campy, well-priced and tasty. We like this place because it serves old-school cocktails like a mai tai — complete with brightly colored paper tropical umbrellas perched in the glass; it makes us feel like we’re in the 1960s, and it’s Christmas eve.
Yen Yen Chinese Restaurant [404 Church Ave. at E. Fourth Street in Flatbush/Ditmas Park, (718) 633-8711].
First things first: this resto bills itself as a Chinese “bistro,” so you should know ahead of time what you’re dealing with. It’s not authentic, and it’s not trying to be. It is, however, pretty delicious. The noodles are hand-pulled and tender, the soups are savory but the real draw is the soup dumplings, mostly because they’re hard to come by in North Brooklyn. A plus: there are six varieties of soup dumpling to choose from — even one for your vegan pals (because remember, we’re in Williamsburg).
292 Grand St. between Roebling and Havemeyer streets in Williamsburg, (718 384-9300)].