Once upon a time, the Upper West Side was teeming with delicious Chinese takeout options. There was Ollie's on 84th Street, from which bright green vegetable dumplings would arrive at my doorstep within minutes. There was Ollie's on 68th Street, which was full of high schoolers who tipped in quarters. And there was Hunan Balcony—beloved Hunan Balcony—where dishes like Lover In The Stars dazzled anyone who came in contact with it. Now they are all gone, and there is nothing.
Sure, Han Dynasty opened an Upper West Side outpost this year, but that place is for fancy Szechuan food, like spectacular Dan Dan noodles and fiery dry pepper chicken. That's all well and good when you're in the mood, but there's still a General Tso-sized hole in the UWS's heart where Ollie's, Ollie's, and Hunan Balcony used to be. My fellow UWS residents, both temporary and permanent, and I have tried many Americanized Chinese places in the neighborhood, and all have failed. New Asia on Amsterdam Avenue serves trash dumplings. The subpar sesame noodles at Concord Garden on 109th Street can't hold a candle to the good stuff whipped up at Hunan Balcony, and Ollie's To Go on Broadway is just...not Ollie's. It is JUST NOT.
Even The Cottage, a spot residents in the West 70's swear by, isn't quite right, as evidenced by the Jewish Christmas dinner I ordered last night. The rice was undercooked, the sesame noodles were weak, and the Lake Tung-Ting shrimp was...fishy. Sure, The Cottage is fine, but it's not good, and if you're going to submit your body to that kind of sodium intake it better be goddamn worth it.
Chinese takeout places, hear my plea. Come to the UWS and feed us, for we are sorely in need. We will repay you in Absolute Bagels and eternal love, which, if you think about it, are pretty much one and the same.