Aberdeen Seafood & Dim Sum

3 Barker Ave. White Plains, NY 10601 • (914) 288-0188 • aberdeenwhiteplains.com/index.html

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This place is the real deal. Down and dirty (emphasis on dirty). Locals only. And by that I mean we were the only honkies in the joint. Which is usually a good sign that you’re in for a nice plate of authenticity.

What isn’t such a good sign, however, is that it’s located in a Marriott hotel and the fish tanks that line the entrance are all brightly lit- kinda cruel for your more nocturnal sea creatures, such as lobsters, but then again, they are about to be eaten, so who really cares I suppose.

On the plus side, the fish tanks make for a highly engaging distraction with the kids while you wait for the food to come. But just wait until you have to pry them away to eat. It’s as if they learned a thing or two from the octopus and grew suction cups on their face to keep it stuck to the glass.

As for the food, there are only two ways to go here, dim sum (only served for lunch), because their dumplings are killer (if we had stuck with these, I might go 4 knives). Or seafood, as the wall of fish tanks might imply. And if you look around at what all the regulars are ordering, it’s pretty much fish across the board.

If, however, you choose to stray off of the recommended path, I think you will come to regret it (I speak from experience), because the chicken lo mein and orange beef were both oily as hell, like any number of other Chinese restaurants you’ve probably tried, with the exception of a scant few such as Rice in Armonk (RIP), Chin Chin, Shun Lee, China Grill and from what I hear, Han Dynasty. Still on my wish list if anyone wants to take me. Hint, hint.

Lastly, the service it’s definitely friendly, but not very thorough, which I found pretty unforgivable considering we were only one of two tables in the entire place for at least the first half of our meal.

2 teeth

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BaoHaus

238 E 14th St. New York, NY 10003(646) 669-8889baohausnyc.com

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I didn’t actually dine here. We only ordered take out through Trycaviar.com, which has lost a step as of late, I am sad to report. Taking much longer than their already lengthy estimate and then delivering only three quarters of the order correctly. But to be fair, that’s Trycaviar’s problem, not the Baohaus.

As for Baohaus’ problems, it doesn’t travel well, so I can’t recommend ordering it as take out or delivery. But seeing past the limitations of transit, I can tell there is promise in those buns. The most promise being in the Chairman Bao (a.k.a. pork belly). Even after an hour and a half on a bicycle, riding around the city, it still tasted executive worthy (with the addition of Sriracha of course).

The Birdhaus Bao (fired chicken) was just okay by comparison, but against pork belly that’s to be expected. It was also pretty dry as a result of the city bike tour, again to be expected I suppose. But even as dry as it was, it still bested the fried fish bao, which was disturbingly rubbery and chewy.

Making up for the fish bun, however, were the taro fries. Now I wasn’t exactly sure what the hell taro was, but it sort of looks like the eggplant in a bag of Terra Chips, only in fry form. Turns out, after looking it up, taro is a root vegetable from Asia. And while by themselves the taro fries are quite boring, the haus sauce they serve them with is amazing. So good, in fact, it makes up for the fact that they were soggy as hell.

So, as much as I love the name, not to mention the school of design, Baohaus is teetering on the edge of two and three knives. But because my sampling was tainted by Trycaviar, I am giving them the benefit of the doubt…. on the haus.

3 teeth

Waka

95 King St. Chappaqua, NY 10514 • (914) 861-2727 • wakafusion.com

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I have only actually been there once, so most of this review is based on delivery, which I have done about fifty times. Usually for sushi, although this last time I tapped into their pan Asian offerings and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised on the Chinese. Thai not-so much.

But first let’s get back to the basics. The décor is contemporary and clean. Service is warm and friendly, with that local, small-business vibe about it.

And as for the sushi, it’s pretty impressive by delivery standards. I honestly don’t think we have better sushi delivery in Northern Westchester. In fact, when we lived in the city we didn’t even have better fish. Which is really what makes Waka shine. They seem to always get extremely fresh tuna, salmon and yellowtail. Eel is cooked so it doesn’t count.

They also have a ton of inventive rolls, but freshness is obviously the true measure of a Japanese restaurant. You can always hide sub-par fish beneath a gaggle of maki companions and still make it taste good.

So apart from Azuma in Hartsdale (haven’t tried Nanase yet), there’s none better in the burbs.

And to think that they can pull off Chinese well too? Two hats off. The Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce was on point and so was the crispy shrimp with pineapple. Haven’t ventured into their lo mein as of yet. Or any of the other Chinese, staples, but I will, so stay tuned.

Unfortunately they fall WAY short of the trifecta, however. Their Thai needs some serious help. Both the pad Thai and red curry beef tasted like the cardboard partition they stick in the delivery bag.

But please don’t let that discourage you from giving them a try, after all, doing two things well is still mighty hard. Heck, Michael Jordan couldn’t even do it!

3 teeth

Spoon

415 King St. Chappaqua, NY 10514 • (914) 238-1988 • spoonasianfusion.com

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Sadly it appears as though Rice in Armonk closed down. Granted I can’t say I’m surprised considering it was in the most hidden location ever. So, the wife and I decided to give Spoon a try, because we were craving Chinese and Spoon was nice and close.

Now I didn’t actually dine here, however, we only ordered take out, but considering how long I had to wait for my food (more than two and half times the wait they told me on the phone) I felt like I dined there. Which wouldn’t have been such a bad thing as the décor is actually quite nice. But when you are standing around with a five year old in tow, he can only entertain himself with mixer straws and toothpicks for so long.

As for the food that eventually came it was awful. The shrimp dumplings were so mushy and gross I wouldn’t even feed them to my dog. Granted my daughter gobbled them up, but I’m chalking that up to the delirium of sleep deprivation.

The veggie lo mein was equally unpleasant, being that it was greasy and very weak on veggies. A bit shocking that they would skimp on what is essentially one of the cheapest ingredients in restauranthood.

Rising slightly from the abyss was the sesame chicken. Not that it was great mind you, Just typical, and by that I mean passable. Same stuff you’d get from any local Chinese in anywhere USA.

Slightly up from there was the spicy mango beef and a notch up from that was the miso soup- the only thing from the entire meal that would even remotely rise about the line of crap-i-tude.

And adding insult to injury, after all of the horrible food, they didn’t even bother to give us spicy mustard or even friggin’ fortune cookies! Not even napkins or chopsticks. Prices were cheap though, so I guess you get what you pay for. And speaking of getting what you deserve, it probably goes without saying that Spoon is only getting one knife.

In all fairness, however, I haven’t had their sushi (pictured), which is supposedly pretty decent, but after this performance, the thought of eating something uncooked from this place scares me. I’ll stick with Waka, thank you.

1 tooth

David Chen

85 Old Mount Kisco Rd. Armonk, NY 10504 • (914) 273-6767 • davidchens.com

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Remember about 30 to 40 years ago when most Chinese restaurants were decorated like a Disney theme park? So much so, that if you saw one today and the owners weren’t actually Chinese, you’d probably accuse them of playing into racist stereotypes. Well, that’s David Chen- the dated part, not the racist part.

The place literally feels like it crawled back out of the 80’s. It also feels like they haven’t updated a single thing since. The table we were seated at was literally falling apart, sagging like the back of an old horse. The glasses, while not technically dirty, were so old, they were permanently fogged from being in a dishwasher 10 million times. Even the fish in the tanks look pre-historic.

But let’s try to look past all of this for just a second and focus on the food. While nothing was out and out bad, per se, it was very old school Chinese (shocker). Very oily lo mein. Over-cooked and under-meated crispy orange beef that would’ve had the old lady from the Wendy’s commercials of yore rolling in her grave. And shumai the size of baseballs. The only thing that rose above a snarky dig was the seafood pot, loaded with a variety of fresh shellfish. Granted I can’t say I loved that either because the sauce was just okay.

And as for service, even that was a little iffy. Beyond the language barrier, which naturally has its issues, we were served entrees before appetizers and everything came out SO quickly it gave you the unnerving feeling that it had been sitting in vats dating back to their grand opening. And as we dug in, we noticed we actually DIDN’T have the obligatory chopsticks that you’d expect to find in a place like this. We also didn’t seem to have knives either. So not sure which cultural norm they were trying to appeal to on this one, so I’ll just chalk it up to a poor table setting.

But before I leave you on a down note, as you hopefully know by now, I like to offer solutions. And fortunately this one is VERY nearby. Less than 2 minutes. Rice is FAR superior in every way. The food is cleaner, fresher and flat out better. With contemporary twists on classic dishes as well as décor. Service is better too. The only nit there is location. It’s in an inward facing strip mall. But whatevs. I’d rather have good food. From this century.

2 teeth

 

Rice: Modern Chinese Cuisine

111 Bedford Rd. Armonk, NY 10504 (914) 273-3880ricearmonk.com

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Most of the reviews on this place are pretty useless thus far, so I will try to make mine a little more utilitarian.

First off, the decor is fine. Not what I would call “serene” as some suggest and not “horrible” either. It’s pretty basic, with a slight nod toward modernity. Nothing you would ever swoon over. And nothing worth commenting on. So I’ll stop commenting on it now.

The service is fine. Not unfriendly. Not creepy. No eavesdropping either. Again, nothing worthy of note in either direction so again, I scratch my head at other reviewers.

The food, however, IS worthy of note. It was quite good actually. The lo mein was done very well. Most places tend to make it too oily. The orange crispy beef was also better than most, layered with some nice heat and even a touch of herbs to give it a complexity you seldom see in this dish.

The dim sum, was also pretty good- the kids gobbled them up, but what little I tasted was a solid good.

The only true drawback to this place worth mentioning is the location. It’s in a sad strip mall down a hallway that doesn’t face the street, so it’s empty as a result. As is the Italian place across the hall. And the lack of energy/life that this creates makes for a rather unattractive experience overall. But, compare to David Chen, it’s like eating at North. I mean, at least you don’t feel like you’re eating at the Chinese Pavilion in Epcot.

Also, it is worth noting that it’s the best Chinese we’ve found in Westchester so far. So it has that going for it too. But because of its locale, I fear it’ll be gone in a year.

3 teeth