Located Midtown Manhattan, Café China is a discreet restaurant that won a Michelin Star this year. With its 1930s Shanghai decor, this non-pretentious place serves Sichuan dishes. Service there was good, courteous and efficient, but I found the food to be ok, not that amazing to the point that I would die to go back. Is it because we did not order the right dishes? Maybe. I let you judge after you read what we had:
Vietnamese iced coffee: they do not use a coffee machine to make it, but rather let the coffee drip onto a small quantity of condensed milk. It was good, perfect if you like coffee as stronger than a café au lait, but I admit that it does not beat the Malaysian coffee at Laut, that is also made with condensed milk.
Crystal shrimp dumplings: quite good, the shell being perfectly made.
Bang bang chicken: it is a cold dish made with shredded chicken in a sesame sauce with peanuts. It was ok, a bit spicy but not too much.
Scallion pancakes: good, slightly greasy as you would expect them to be.
Stir-fried assorted fresh mushrooms, made with oyster mushrooms and vegetables. I found the dish bland...This was in fact my least favorite.
Eight Jewel Rice: this was a dessert that is like a Chinese rice pudding, made with sticky rice, raisins and red bean paste in the center. This is apparently typically served in Chinese banquets, the number 8 being a magic number in China, pronounced like the word that means rich or to thrive in business. It was quite good, not too sweet, with a nice texture from the rice.
So it was fine but not earth shattering. Other dishes like the tea smoke duck or dan dan noodles might have been a better choice. So I am a bit on the fence concerning Café China. I might have to try another time to see if I get why they obtained a Michelin Star as, after this visit, I am not sure...
Enjoy (I did)!
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Café China - 15E 37th street, New York, NY 10003