Chef Yu

Discerning one Chinese restaurant from another is a tough. Especially, that is, if the place is nothing special or extraordinary or beyond the chicken with mixed veggies lunch special. The one thing I remember clearly about Chef Yu was waiting in the doorway with a large-ish group of other daytime workers for my take-out order. And waiting. And waiting. Have I mentioned how much I hate standing in doorways? Nothing annoys me more than having to move this way and then that way and then saying excuse me and excuse you as people pirouette in and out of the restaurant and to the cash register and in to the corner. I ended up standing with my head in a ficus as some woman with a double stroller decided it would be smart to try to ram that contraption into the ever-shrinking standing room. Is there really such a dearth of Chinese food in this neighborhood that every asshole and her twins and her husband and her boss have to cram into the vestibule to get that omnipresent lunch special? The actual eat-in space looked decent, but who really has the time these days to sit down to chow down? I have nothing against this place per se, but I want some sort of guarantee that if I ever go back to get my lunch special that the same mob won’t be hanging out waiting top ruin my day. Or maybe I’ll just go to one of the other fifty Chinese restaurants within a mile radius (or eat my typical 2:30 lunch, at which time no normal person is begging for wontons and dried bean curd). [MF]

520 8th Ave. (bet. 36th & 37th St.)