Shun Lee or not... a little neighborhood drama (UWS/NYC)

1 Like

It’s been packed every time we’ve walked by, I thought it surprising given the prices and other options on the uws. We were at szechuan garden on 104th last week, prices have risen but so has portion size and wow, it was good again! we’re going to put it back in the rotation even though it’s a crosstown bus and a 20 minute walk away…just nothing as good on the UES.

on an unrelated note, while we haven’t been thrilled with the restaurants on the UES, between the Q and the lex, pretty easy to get to queens, brooklyn and manhattan.

I’ve had good takeout from Hui a few times (after giving up on Wa Jeal). Try Dim on the UWS is pretty serviceable, but I haven’t tried the UES location.

i’ve been wanting to try hui for a while, you know all the interesting places!

Did anyone think Shun Lee is still any good? I grew up with it, and in a haze of I-dunno-nostalgia, I took my kids, brother, his kid there for our Jewish Christmas dinner about ten years ago, and it was uniformly awful (and expensive). Haven’t been back, but this article makes it sound like people still love it?

Tri Dim is okay, not great IMO, and glad to hear that Szechuan Garden is back. And sorry, don’t know anything about UES dining, but would be willing to cross over
to try Hui, or at least try ordering from there with your thumbs up!

25 or 30 years ago, before CH existed, some good friends decided to take me out to a top notch Chinese restaurant for my birthday. Having gone with them to all sorts of places in Manhattan C’town where we could eat for $10pp, they thought I’d enjoy being part of the other side of things. Well, my one and only trip to Shun Lee Palace was, in fact, enjoyable, but mainly because I’d never eaten Chinese food in what was, to me, an upscale setting – this was pretty cool. Great ambience, service, furniture, art work, etc. I’ve since been to upscale places in Flushing where the prices eclipse Shun Lee by quite a bit and thought that the food was worlds above my usual milieu, but this wasn’t the case when I was treated to Shun Lee. Nothing we ordered seemed better than what I was used to &, in fact, a lot wasn’t as good. Remember it fondly because of my friends’ thoughtful gift, but never went back.

1 Like

Shun Lee is old enough to have swung back & forth from great to good to avoidable several times over. I also think what food people associate with it may impact the opinion of how good it is/was.

For years, it was our regular Sunday friends-and-family dim sum (we alternated between it and the Irish pub across the street for burgers). It was also the first place my baby nephew ate real food (no, not restaurant fare, he ate homemade baby food while we ate dim sum).

Then, the food deteriorated and we stopped going (also life events, people scattering, and so on). A few years later, we tried again, and the food had improved to previous levels. Post-pandemic, down again.

It’s still a place I visit a few times a year because their spring rolls and peanut dumplings are on the same (grown) nephews’ top-in-NYC must-eats (and those things are indeed very good). But my own uptown dim sum spot is now Jing Fong. (Tri Dim UWS is trying too hard to be Shun Lee imo, though my friends who live near there love it.)

I am just impressed that Shun Lee is still around, and appears to be going strong.

Says something about the restaurant for sure, and perhaps even more about the clientele in UWS.

You’re dating yourself – you must be nearly 31.

Apart from the fact that I might be old enough to be your father, my experience matches yours. I was taken to Shun Lee by a friend, remember liking it, but never felt the urge to return.

I’ve also been unfairly prejudiced against it because social sets we belong to in Cambridge, MA, contain a loudly outspoken, self-proclaimed foodie who offers unsolicited advice on what to eat and where to eat it. Every time they say that “Shun Lee is the only place to eat Chinese food in NY” I unjustly strengthen my resolve never to eat there again.


I think I must have gone to Shun Lee once, without realizing it. This was when my parents first brought me to ny for college in 1969. I had never been in the City before. We had always eaten at the nicest Chinese in Columbus Ohio (Jong Mea, and it was very good when you ordered the right things). I member going to this very fancy place on the East Side and the food had lots of ginger, which I liked and cilantro, which I had never tasted before and which I just hated. That I think must have been Shun Lee. Working mostly dowtown and living since 1980 in Brooklyn, Ive never been moved to go back.



Whew! (But, I expected that, given your wide eating.)

we walked by last night, the “n” in shun lee might actually be an “m”. i’m reminded of purchasing a pashmina shawl for my wife from a street vendor only for her to notice the label actually said “pashmink” when she opened the box.