Mon-Sat, 11:45am-11:45pm; Sun, noon-11pm
6 at 51st St.; E, V at Lexington Ave.-53rd St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
This distinguished midtown Chinese restaurant has a deservedly strong reputation and a well-heeled clientele—primarily business diners at lunchtime and a medley of business and tourist types at dinner. The restaurant’s three main rooms are decorated with small art objects or old sepia-toned photographs, while the indirect overhead lighting and well-spaced tables convey a leisurely, reserved ambiance. The appetizers are the restaurant’s gems: from the light and crunchy chicken soong in a lettuce pocket to the pricey Maine lobster roll to the gorgeous thousand-year-old egg (it’s actually a preserved duck egg and is never more than a couple months old), sliced into thick crescents and served with wonderfully fresh, pungent strips of ginger and pickled shallots. The egg white is glassy and slippery, the color of black amber, and the darkly opaque yolk has a creamy texture that melts on the tongue. Many of the Cantonese and Sichuan entrées are also exemplary, if sometimes unusual. The crisped orange beef, for instance, arrives as a pile of leathery logs that look and feel like petrified wood, but has a provocative crunch and is deliciously tender and flavorful inside. On the other hand, the highly recommended Grand Marnier shrimps are a bust, slathered in mayo with barely a hint of Grand Marnier. For the most part, however, you can expect to be wowed.Extra
The $27.08 lunchtime prix-fixe is a steal.Recommended Dishes
Thousand-year-old egg, $10.50; Maine lobster roll, $28.50; crisped orange beef, $24.50; tea-smoked duck, $21.50