What can we say about Midtown Chinese restaurants that hasn’t already been said? They’re fancy. They’re packed with dudes in suits. They’re overpriced. This isn’t the $4.99 lunch special kind of Chinese joint that you find in your more residential neighborhoods. The waiters wear tuxes for god’s sake! It’s just hard for us to take an upscale Chinese joint seriously. There is something inherently good and wholesome about low-rent Chinese food–something junky and greasy. While Wu Liang Ye may use all white meat in its giant sweet and sour chicken chunks, there is that missing “eek, what the hell am I eating inside this fried, orange shell” that accompanies the usual plate of Chinese. There is something comforting about the white container, the bad decor and the bowl of fried things on your table that is missing in this place. Sure, the restaurant itself is a nicely decorated, upstairs space. Sure the waiters treat you more like a customer than a heard of cattle they need to get into a pen. Sure, there aren’t any red Christmas lights, tin foil dragons, evident roaches, old ladies sitting at tables destemming peas, squabbling cooks in plain sight (everyone sounds like he or she is squabbling when speaking Chinese), or meowing sounds emanating from the kitchen, but that’s the charm of Chinese restaurants… isn’t it? [MF]
36 W 48th St.