Magazine article The New Yorker

No. 1 Chinese;

Magazine article The New Yorker

No. 1 Chinese;

Article excerpt

50 Avenue B, at 4th St. (212-375-0677)--The fake take-out name and half-heartedly kitschy decor are warning signs that Frank Prisinzano's latest venture has more to do with his bombastic Vietnamese theme park, Hue, than with his chain of friendly neighborhood Italian joints (Frank, Supper, and Lil' Frankie's). In the entrance, backlit closeups of bamboo, lotus flowers, and pussy willows spoof the unappetizing overhead photos of dishes in cheaper Chinese spots. An open kitchen promises drama--flames do shoot up from the main wok now and then--but the conspicuously un-Chinese crew already seems to be just passing time.

The listings in the red-and-gold menu are so minimalist (#501 Pork with Cashews, #502 Spicy Pork with Bok Choy, #506 Pork with Scallions) that it's hard to fight a creeping feeling of pointlessness. The barbecued spareribs vary from bland to impossibly chewy, like a doggie toy, and the tangerine beef is so strange that it's scary to think what happened to it. …

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