Welcome to Chinatown 2.0

The Chinese Tuxedo ushers in a serious Chinatown facelift

By Shari Gab

Welcome to Chinatown 2.0
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09 January 2017

Restaurant openings in NYC are a dime a dozen.

Know where to look, though, and you’ll find diamonds in the rough.

A place where you don’t just want to eat — you want to move on in. A place to take dates, clients, parties and parents. A place that breathes some much-needed life into an oft-forgotten neighborhood.

That’s Chinese Tuxedo.

Enter restaurateurs Eddy Buckingham and Jeff Lam, with a contemporary destination set in a former opera house on historic Doyers Street (the bi-level space was also the headquarters for Chinatown’s notorious tong gang wars in the early 1900s). Taking its name from the hood’s original fine-dining restaurant, the new eatery features a menu of Chinese banquet dishes inspired by the food that Buckingham (born in Singapore, raised in Australia) and Lam (who is Chinese American), both grew up eating, as reimagined by Chef Paul Donnelly.

And when the owners aren’t at their hip new Doyers Street space, they’re wandering the neighborhood to figure out what Chinatown 2017 is all about.

Lunch: “In the daytime, we love to hit the Dim Sum Lunch Service at The Golden Unicorn On East Broadway. In addition to being the coolest-named restaurant in the city, Golden Unicorn might be the best old-school New York Dim Sum in Chinatown. Set over two floors, both dining rooms look and feel amazing, and the lunch service can feel appropriately intense. Anything off the carts is going to be good, but make sure to get the Flat Shrimp Noodle, Chicken Feet and Bean Curd Skin Roll.”

Dinner: “We like to dine around the corner with our friends at Ping's Seafood on Mott Street. Ping's do the neighborhood's best traditional Cantonese. Make sure to go with a large party to really make the most of their menu. Ask your server what's good from the fish tank — think live shrimp, mud crab and sea bass. Head chef and owner Ping is there most nights — great guy!"

Drinks: “Newly opened Lalo on Bayard is getting rave reviews for their food and rightly so, but they are also worth visiting for a cocktail at the bar. They do a small signature list, but the bar team are well-versed in the classics too. It's a really pretty space and the drinks are on point.”

Nightlife: “Definitely at our next door neighbors: Apotheke at 9 Doyers Street. This place is a cocktail-scene institution. We most enjoy it in the early evening when it is still pretty chill. Expect big crowds in the middle and later evening as the live bands heat up. Irrespective of how busy the bar gets, the drinks off the signature list are always exceptional.”

Weird: “No matter what ails you — anything from a hangover to a busted knee — Lin Sister Herb has the magic to fix you. It's a super traditional Chinese pharmacy in a beautiful store at the bottom of the Bowery staffed by the Lin family of doctors. It's good people peddling good wares: health and wellness before it became #goals.”

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