Nearby Subway Stops
L at Third Ave.; 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R at 14th St.-Union Sq.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
- Hot Spot
- Full Bar
8th St. to 23rd St., First Ave. to Fifth Ave.
This venue is closed.
Chino’s doesn’t label its multiethnic small plates “Asian tapas,” but if it had any interest in jumping on the current menu-concept bandwagon, it could. Its roster of salads, rolls, noodles, and skewers is a little Kuma Inn, a little Ruby Foo’s, and very Chow Bar, the West Village Pan-Asian place that happens to be its parent restaurant. Like Chow Bar, Chino’s feels like your friendly neighborhood pub given a liberal dose of Far Eastern exoticism on what was surely a shoestring budget, if the flimsy red banquettes are any indication. But minor discomfort is a small price to pay for Chino’s tasty food, friendly service, and absurdly low tabs. Chef Peter Klein whittles down some of Chow Bar’s greatest hits, shaving the price and the portion size (a good thing, since the tables are so small). Bypass ho-hum edamame for the green salad tangily dressed with citrus and soy, or lightly fried tofu skewers—crispy outside, soft within, and served with lively sesame-wasabi soy. Red-pepper-flecked coconut-curried udon noodles with moist chunks of chicken are pure comfort in a bowl, and much better than the house chow fun, which is done in by overpowering and superfluous truffle oil. It’s easy to imagine the roast-pork sandwich becoming a new addiction, with its sweet shards of mahogany barbecued meat garnished with cilantro and kimchi and tucked inside a dense grilled “bao” bun from Chinatown. It’s delicious to start with, but the accompanying creamy hot Chinese mustard makes it. Klein’s got a deft touch with all his sauces, in fact—the nearly greaseless chicken tonkatsu’s chili-lime dip; the red-chili-basil sauce coating calamari “noodles”; the pickled ginger ponzu that graces the tuna sashimi. It all adds up to a cheap, fun place for the neighborhood to congregate, over a nibble and a theme cocktail or a multicourse meal of lively, low-cost bites.
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