I am not really sure how to begin. Chinatown Brasserie opened with not a huge amount of hoopla. I didn’t realize they were connected with Lure and Lever House until I went and saw the cards from their other restaurants where the hostess stands.
The restaurant is quite large. The design could be categorized as modern China. There is a large bar to the right and some of the walls have very ornamental paintings. Downstairs, where there are open tanks with fish, is a lounge. There are a variety of different seatings areas which actually makes the area you are sitting in more intimate than a huge room. Very red in color.
The staff is young and seem slightly inexperienced. Everyone we came across seemed a bit shell shocked to be working there. It wasn’t that packed. We got a seat just walking in but it was a Monday night. The patrons were from families to hipsters to business people etc. All over the place. Everyone likes Chinese food.
There are plenty of dumplings to choose from. There were four of us and we shared. We started with the soup dumplings. Not as liquidy as I thought they would be. They were good but a bit tight for a soup dumpling. We also had the pork bun. The menu said pork bun vs. pork buns so I assumed we’d only get one. Nope, just a typo. We got four. Small spongy steamed pork buns with a nice spicy pork mixture inside. I would have liked to see more pork and less bun. We also had the lotus root which was deep fried and perched on top of a concoction of pork. It was good but wasn’t sure what I was eating except for the lotus root.
We split 2 main entrees. The classic General Tso’s Chicken. Deep fried white meat chicken with a not too spicy sauce and some vegetables. It was good. We checked out the barbecue section and went with the St. Louis Ribs. Large pork ribs roasted in a Chinese sauce but not sticky or gooey. The ribs were served like a small rack on a plate cut into individual ribs. Meaty and hoisin flavored.
Dessert we passed on but they served us chocolate fortune cookies with fortunes inside that were quotes from famous people, movies etc. A different take.
As a whole, the place is good not great. I still had that Chinese taste in my mouth when I got up at 2am this morning. It was $130 for dinner that included 1 glass of wine, one vodka and a pot of tea. The food is definitely better than your local Chinese hangout but not as good as Mr. Chows. The dumplings didn’t compare to the ones we ate on our walk through Chinatown.
I wonder if they deliver but for the price, I might stick with the local Chinese restaurant.