6.8
NYC

Chinese Tuxedo

Perfect For: Big Groups
PHOTOS: Noah Devereaux

Being a location scout seems like a fun job. As far as I can tell, your life entails knowing about assorted cool random old-timey theaters and scary-looking alleyways, but also sometimes convincing penthouse-dwelling people they should take money to let an actor shoot a movie in their penthouse.

Why are we telling you this? Well, first of all to tell you that Chinese Tuxedo would be a great place to film a certain kind of movie. It's also a nice way of getting to our main point, which is: we like things about this restaurant (the space in particular), but it's not a home run.

Located in an old opera house on Doyers Street in Chinatown, Chinese Tuxedo is a big space with unfinished concrete walls, a lot of plants, and a generally club-ish feeling room. It looks like the kind of place you'd see in some HBO version of 21st century New York, but which you don't actually end up at all too often unless you're a model or magazine editor. The whole windy alleyway of Doyers Street, actually, feels like it was made for a movie set version of New York: right next to Chinese Tuxedo is Apotheke, a "speakeasy" with an old European pharmacy theme that people line up for on weekend nights, and next to that is Nom Wah Tea Parlor, a dim sum place dating back to 1920 that people line up for on weekends during the daytime. Chinese Tuxedo could feel a little like it was trying too hard, but actually, the service is friendly and welcoming, and it's a good, unpretentious time here.

The food, which is a modern take on Chinese, is what we haven't been totally amped about on our visits. Almost everything is tasty, but lacks that f*ck yes factor that makes us truly excited about our favorite restaurants. Things also get pricey, and not just in comparison to the excellent but cheap food you can get throughout Chinatown - a few orders of $20+ noodle dishes and $30+ entrees mean it's easy to have one of those nights where you're not sure how you ended up with an $85 per person check.

Chinese Tuxedo might be a fun suggestion for a group that's looking for a party-time dinner, without the terrible-ness of the places you might end up at in Meatpacking or the Lower East Side for such an affair (though it's worth noting they don't have a license for hard liquor yet). We just wouldn't tell you coming out of your way here was a total must. Unless you're a location scout.

Food Rundown

Crispy Eggplant

These eggplant strips come with sichuan spice and peanut caramel. In other words, it's a fried thing with some spiciness and some sweetness and some saltiness.

Tuxedo Dumpling

There's no doubt these are some tasty dumplings, and to be fair, they're not the only place charging $16 for a plate of five dumplings. But there's a bit of sticker shock when you're in such close proximity to so many of the cheap dumpling greats.

Liang Mein

These are some very thin cold noodles, that sort of look like Cup Of Noodles in a fancy peanut sauce. They're light and really tasty - we only wish the portion were a bit bigger. If you're more than two people, you'll go through these fast.

Grilled Calamari Salad

A totally pleasant, vinegar-y calamari salad. We'd happily eat it again, but we also wouldn't have remembered much about it if that wasn't our job. Actually, it is our job and we still don't remember that much.

Whole Crispy Squab

In photos, this squab looks like a peking duck, so after scanning Instagram, this seemed like a great order. In reality, it was a highly salty dish with a very tiny amount of meat. That part's more the fault of the squab as an animal than the restaurant, but either way, you don't need to spend $32 on this dish.

Black Bass

A pleasant, if not super interesting piece of fish with ginger, soy, and chili.

Honey Glazed Char Siu

A fairly traditional plate of char siu pork - again, a solid but not highly memorable dish.

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