Tang Pavilion trots out some of the usual Chinese-American suspects, but buttertart says the smarter orders are specialties from Shanghai and thereabouts. She finds the bean curd skin with fresh soybeans the best and most refined version in town. "I love the slight texturing on the bean curd sheet," she says, "made by its being drained on a cloth."
Other good bets include tender lion's head meatballs, chicken with yellow leeks, asparagus with lily bud, West Lake vinegar fish, scallops with pickled vegetable and bamboo shoot, and rice cake with Chinese sausage ("splendidly chewy and savory"). This Midtown restaurant is a step above the norm in appearance, "nicely appointed with oxblood ceramics any one of which I would be delighted to own," buttertart adds.
Tang Pavilion [Midtown]
65 W. 55th Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), Manhattan