David Chen

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

david-chen-chinese-restaurant

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