Review: No. 1 Chinese


March 24, 2004 2004_03_no1chinese.jpg As you approach No. 1 Chinese, Frank Prisinzano's new restaurant on Avenue B (@ 4th St.), the stench of smug self-satisfaction intensifies. It's hardly an olfactory amuse-bouche. But you can't blame Frankie P., who knows full well that his ever-expanding below 14th food empire will suck you in and charge you twice what you'd pay for Chinese food twenty blocks south—and that, despite your better instincts, you'll like it. Over a year in the making, No. 1 Chinese reunites Frank with his partner at Hue, and apparently adds another partner to the mix. Whatever. The result is Supper gone Chinese, with a large open kitchen and dining area upstairs and a dark bar and lounge for dining downstairs. The food has a clean edge to it—General Tso was spared his usual drowning—and, despite the prices, it's a raw inevitability that the place will be jammed before the month is out. But last night, on its first night open to the public, the downstairs lounge was deserted, and we sampled food off the plates of the barstaff. The window is open—you've got a week of grace until NYMag blurbs it up next Monday.


Comments about this post (16 so far... Post yours below)

The darkly lit downstairs lounge is the ideal place to slide your hand down someone's pants without being detected. That's all you need to know about #1 Chinese. Oh yeah, and the waitstaff is f-i-n-e.

General Tizzle in the hizzle!

Posted by: blubox at March 24, 2004 04:03 PM

"LOCKHART STEELE"

Very off topic, but that's your name? You popped out of your mom and she screamed "LOCKHART"! What a cock you are!

Posted by: LOCKHARDUP at March 25, 2004 12:47 AM

the above comment was a bit harsh.

re: #1 chinese. why doesn't frank p save everybody the cab fare and just open a restaurant on the UWS. those people must get little hard-ons from dining "downtown".

Posted by: cdc at March 25, 2004 10:32 AM

Little know fact:

Lock was originally a boy named "Sue". But his mom thought that was too butch and changed it to Lockhart after a favorite family dog who saved the family from a farmhouse fire in 1897.

Hey, Iike the name.

Posted by: Calvin Thrilling at March 25, 2004 11:20 AM

Harsh? You should hear what the strippers in Vegas say when I introduce myself.

Posted by: Lock at March 25, 2004 12:26 PM

its too late. i was at No.1 Chinese on Thursday night and it was already packed. NYMAG is going to drown the East Village on Monday! in the meantime, go to my website and see my little review!

Posted by: Jill Donenfeld at March 28, 2004 12:28 AM

Chinese restaurants tend to have stenches.

Posted by: Jen at April 1, 2004 03:29 PM

what a breath of fresh air to see a palace so stunning without taking a plane ride or breaking the bank. as for whoever mentioned the prices 20 blocks south...have you seen a place down there that even comes close to this space???a little sexy cavern downstairs, great attention to detail, good food, sexy staff, what more could you want?!

Posted by: rg at April 8, 2004 02:57 PM

Does anyone know what the price range of No. 1 Chinese?

Posted by: Teresa at April 8, 2004 03:47 PM

no. 1 chinese stinks, literally. they leave mounds of garbage out in front of their 4th street entrance/exit, never mind the general stench of grease that emanates from it during biz hours. just what the neighborhood needed (and i've lived here for 12 years), an overpriced, unoriginal, uninspired/inspiring spot to lure more cheeseballs and idiots in uggs and von dutch. let them spend $14 for sesame chicken, suckers.

Posted by: red at April 10, 2004 01:18 PM

I found the restaurant to be the only place in the Village to finall yget some excellent Chinese food.

Posted by: joe at April 12, 2004 07:33 PM

ah joe, have you heard of chinatown?!

Posted by: red at April 27, 2004 06:54 PM

the food was average, at best, and the waitstaff was rude and seemed angry. the tables are tiny - there was barely enough room to fit the plates. and the prices were - while not outrageous - insultingly high for the quality of the food they served.

Posted by: Red Scare at May 9, 2004 11:17 AM

The restaurant was both intimate with great interpretation of chinese fare. Obviously, you can stroll to Chinatown for fresh-off-the-boat far, but why not take a chance and try chinese with a twist? great drinks and ambience.

Posted by: Bu at May 14, 2004 12:44 PM

I can't stop eating at #1 Chinese. For all you haters out there...you obviously haven't had the fall off the bone spare ribs and fresh vegetable fried rice...

Posted by: Allegra at May 18, 2004 04:28 PM

bu and allegra, get a BIG clue, you obviously don't live, or haven't lived in the neighborhood long . . . or nyc for that matter.

Posted by: red at May 19, 2004 04:36 PM