[Chinese Restaurant Review] Cho-Sen Island, Lawrence

It was time for us to return to their roots. Two of our last three Quests took us to Flushing, NY. We had to find our selves again. Center our being. Get back in to the ‘hood.

We’ve tried a mix of other styles of Chinese food. Cantonese, Szechuan, Singapore style. But, never Kosher Chinese food. There are plenty of Kosher Chinese restaurants in Manhattan. But, our Quest, as yet, isn’t to find the best Chinese restaurant on that little finger of an island that they call Manhattan. Our Quest is to find the best Chinese restaurant on LONG Island.

So, we had to find the most densely populated Jewish area we could possible find. The Five Towns. Destination: Lawrence, NY

And when we got there, we nearly missed it. It sure looked closed and out of business from the outside. But, we’re smart Jews. We’re literate. We know how to read. The sign said “Open for Business”. That must mean that they’re open for business.

So in we went.

For anyone who wants to follow in our footsteps, the restaurant is located at:

Cho-Sen Island

367 Central Avenue

Lawrence, NY 11559

And, oh what a schlep it was to get there. Oye vey!

The number of yarmulkes in the restaurant outnumbered the number of chopsticks by a ratio of 40-5 (or, 8-1 for those of you mathematician who like to bring their fractions to the lowest common denominator (Jews AND Chinese will love that reference!)

The restaurant was packed. And it was a Wednesday night. I can only imagine what the crowd is like on the weekend. Hmm… Shabbos. Perhaps Wednesday IS their busy night of the week. Dunno. Can anyone verify what crowds there are like on a weekend for us please?

There’s a sushi bar in the restaurant. We didn’t order. In fact, the fact that there was a sushi bar nearly disqualified the restaurant. However, we did some research and learned that sushi didn’t come from Japan. It originated in China. (check wikipedia if you don’t believe Mee). So, Cho-Sen Island was back… and we were there.

The restaurant also has a full bar (though no one was sitting at it, but they do serve a full slate of drinks). The mai tai’s, I must say, were fabulous. OK, was fabulous. I just had one. Could have had another… but, we did some pre-gaming of another sort prior to walking in.

We wanted the full Chinese food experience. An authentic meal. It’s a little hard with the restaurant being Kosher and all. No pork for example. D’oh!

But, what we saw on some other tables made me shake my head. Steak and potatoes. Really? It was seen at quite a few tables. Clearly THAT was NOT for the Mee’s.

So, what did we eat? We ordered:

  • Wonton and Subgum Wonton Soup
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Veal Spareribs
  • Dragon and Phoenix (tender chunks of prime-rib steak and succulent chicken sauteed & served on a “garden” of choicest Chinese vegetables. perfect for a prince or princess!)
  • Double Delight (seafood & veal)
  • Shredded Crispy Beef
  • Chicken Chow Mein
  • Vegetable Fried Rice

Some observations if I may. First it’s Glatt Kosher. Some of the dishes were extremely expensive (yet paradoxically, our bill was way lower than we expected. Mee’s do love getting a bargain. And, good food!)

And the food WAS good. Surprisingly good. A LOT better than some of the other Chinese restaurants we’ve been to.

A few complaints… the sauces tasted exactly the same on a few of our dishes. And, our taste buds detected a lot of sodium.

We left full, bloated in fact (none of us were hungry an hour later… I purposely waited not to wirte this review for 24 hours just to see when we’d get hungry again). There were left overs as the food was very filling. But, we didn’t fight over who was NOT going to take it. It was taken home gleefully.

Humbly submitted for your consumption,

–Lonnie Goldman aka Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)

Finding the Best Chinese Restaurant in Singapore

As one of the largest and wealthiest Chinese communities outside China, Singapore is not short of top notch Chinese restaurants and, as a matter of fact, it is one of the best places on earth to enjoy a truly sensational Chinese meal.

Finding the best Chinese restaurant in Singapore, however, is not that easy… Especially not for a first time visitor, who is not familiar with the city, and that is exactly why I wrote this article: To introduce to you five of the very best Chinese restaurants in Singapore.

Cherry Garden, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is best known for its amazing Weekend Champagne Dim Sum Brunch, although this fabulous restaurant also serves some of the best Cantonese cuisine in Singapore throughout the week, in elegant and soothing surroundings. Signature dishes include Roasted Kurobuta Pork (The “Wagyu of pork”… with relatively low and evenly spread fat), as well as Double-boiled shark’s cartilage soup, Oven-baked fillet of sea perch marinated in rose dew wine, Roast Duck and, of course… A selection of to-die-for Dim Sums.

Crystal Jade Golden Palace, one of the most-awarded Chinese restaurants in Singapore, is the high-end outlet of Ctystal Jade restaurant group. Housed within the Paragon Shopping Mall, right in the heart of Orchard Road, this splendid restaurant specializes in Cantonese & Teochew cuisine, with a contemporary twist, and the menu features some unique culinary creations like Double-boiled Sea Whelk & Chicken with Starfruit & Pomelo and Deep-fried Chicken with Black Truffle

Crystal Jade Golden Palace is also one of the only Chinese restaurants in Singapore that has their own wine-cellar, with thousands of labels from all over the world.

Hai Tien Lo is one of these restaurants where location plays as important role as the food itself. Perched on the 37th floor of the Pan Pacific Hotel, it offers magnificent panoramic views of the city centre, Marina Bay and the Singapore River… Food wise, it is Cantonese cuisine at its best, with a slight modern-western touch… Signature dishes include Pan-fried Foie Gras with Scallops & crispy Suckling Pig Skin and Baked Cod Fillet with Fermented Beancurd & Asparagus, but you can also opt for their fantastic Dim Sum set-lunch options.

Royal China at Raffles is the Singaporean offshoot of a top international Chinese restaurant group based in London. Nestled within Singapore’s classiest hotel, it specializes in what can be described as contemporary Chinese gourmet, with strong emphasis on Cantonese cuisine, but good representation of China’s other regions… Their favorites include Lobster noodles, Crispy duck in pancake, Roast suckling pig and traditional dim sum items.

Wah Lok is one of the only Chinese restaurants in Singapore to specialize in Hong Kong influenced Cantonese cuisine. Housed within the Carlton, it serves some of the most delectable Dim Sum dishes you can find in the city-state, alongside a wide variety of mouthwatering dishes such as Shark’s Fin with Crabmeat wrapped in Egg White, Spring roll with deep fried lotus root, Stir fried squid with onion and capsicum and Sea perch with crispy garlic and Roast duck.

Chinese Restaurant Business Plans – Why You Need One

When you start a business you have to know what you are getting yourself into. The restaurant business can throw many surprises at new owners so you must do your research and know exactly what to expect. Many owners of Chinese restaurants that failed within the first year will blame their failure on a lack of planning. If you spend some time researching and writing a business plan for your Chinese restaurant then you will be more likely to see your business succeed.

There are many reasons why it makes sense to prepare a business plan prior to opening a restaurant. Some benefits will seem obvious to you at first but others may not yet have occurred to you.

In the following article we highlight some of the reasons why you need to put together a restaurant business plan before you take the plunge and open up the dim sum or Beijing cuisine restaurant that you have been dreaming about.

Avoid Mistakes

When you start a restaurant you will have to make a lot of different decisions. Some of these decisions can be difficult or expensive to reverse at a late date so you must be sure that you make the correct choices the first time around. By doing the right kind of research and planning you will be able to make informed decisions instead of just guessing.

Imagine opening a Chinese restaurant and then discovering that there are too many located nearby or that there is a trend towards European style cuisine over Asian food among households in your area. In some cases you would have to correct a poorly informed decision by totally re-branding your business and paying for new interior decorating, a new logo, new menus and much more. Your business plan should let you know the right path to follow at the right time.

Clarify Thoughts and Ideas

By writing a business plan you will be able to turn your loose ideas into something more concrete. As you research and write you will allow some of your ideas to evolve and you may come up with new ideas altogether. You may even decide that the ideas that you had originally are not viable at all and look at a totally different business model or industry.

Prove the Viability of Your Proposal

While a business plan is essential for proving the viability of the proposed business to yourself as the future owner, you may have to provide proof to other parties as well. Lenders will want to know more about your business before you can borrow funds from them. Equity investors will want to know what kind of return they will be getting on their investment before they invest. You may even find that a business plan can come in handy when it comes to negotiating a lease with the owner of a commercial space that you would like to rent.

Identify Difficulties and Challenges

It is easy to dream about the Chinese restaurant that you would love to set up and how glamorous it must be to own a restaurant. However, you may be viewing the prospect of being a restaurant owner through rose tinted glasses without imagining the difficulties that go along with it. Some business plan formats encourage you to perform a SWOT analysis. In such an analysis you look at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By asking the right questions you will come to learn about the weaknesses of your business model and how you can strengthen them. You will also be challenged to analyze some of the threats that could affect your restaurant and to come up with contingency plans to deal with them.

Assess Startup Requirements

It is important to understand that launching a new Chinese restaurant is a process and a business plan can help you to manage this process. You must have a clear idea of what you need and a schedule so that you can proceed to set up an operational restaurant in an organized manner. There are many things that have to happen in a logical order before you can open your doors to diners. To fully understand each step you will need to know your startup costs, where the funding will come from, how you will acquire equipment, when you will hire staff and much more. There will also be actions that you have to take to comply with local rules and regulations relating to restaurant owners.

Understand Exactly What You Want

You need to know exactly what you want before you can map out a path to get there. Your Chinese restaurant business plan will help you to set some realistic goals and targets. Goals could be related to monthly gross or net profits, restaurant capacity levels or customer satisfaction for example. Once you have set some reasonable goals you can then look at putting systems in place to achieve them.

Make Your Chinese Restaurant Marketable to Potential Buyers

There comes a point in most restaurant owner’s lives when they decide to sell their restaurant. When this day comes you can be sure that prospective buyers will want to examine a huge amount of information about the business before they decide to make an offer. If you have an up to date business plan it could make it easier to supply most of the information that a buyer would need. If your plan does a good job at explaining the present situation in the restaurant and outlines a way forward to further growth then it could become an invaluable resource for you, and the new owner.