In this city, restaurants come and go faster than you can say "sustainable locavore burger." And even though there are great new additions to the culinary landscape popping up every week, you've gotta give kudos to anyone who can stick it out for over a year. With that in mind, we bring you Still Got It, our tribute to establishments that continue to serve mouthwatering meals and drinks long after the buzz has faded—or if the lingering hype is still justified.
There's enough excellent Chinese food in this city that you don't need to shell out big bucks for a fancy meal. But if you get the urge for some high-end Chinese grub, veteran midtown spots Shun Lee Palace and Shun Lee West offer an upper-crust ambiance and well-crafted menu that'll tempt even the most discerning tastebuds.
Both Shun Lees offer noteworthy specialty menus for holidays and special occasions—a Chinese New Year visit to the Lincoln Center Shun Lee proved particularly memorable last February—but you can't go wrong with their standard dinner dishes, either. Start with appetizers like the savory Szechuan Wontons ($17) or an order of piping hot barbecue spare ribs ($20.50); you can also score a la carte helpings of steamed, fried and boiled dumplings off the traveling dim sum carts pushed by jacketed waiters.
For entrees, Shun Lees Palace and West offer some exquisite meat and fish dishes. Try the Beijing Duck ($30 for half, $50 for whole, which comes seasoned in hoison sauce, delicately shredded and wrapped in fresh crepes. The baked Lobster Cantonese (Market Price) is another Shun Lee specialty, a spicy combo of ginger, scallions, black beans and minced pork cooked in soy sauce and rice wine. And the moo shoo pork ($22), made with pork loin, vegetables sautéed in hoison sauce is another fine offering, served rolled into homemade pancakes.
Shun Lee Palace's quality is a notch above its West Side counterpart, and the service at both spots can feel a bit stuffy at times. But the food is noteworthy enough to keep you coming back, if just for special occasions; they've also got solid deals for lunch if you work in Midtown and don't want to shell out the big bucks.
Shun Lee Palace is located at 155 East 55th Street between Lexington and 3rd Aves in Midtown East (212-371-8844). Shun Lee West is located at 43 West 65th Street near Central Park West on the Upper West Side (212-595-8895, shunleewest.com).