One of the newest of the Fujianese restaurants that are changing the face of Sunset Park’s Chinatown is Sheng Xiang, whose chow is tasty, rustic, and uncompromisingly authentic, according to our first report. KRS describes a dinner highlighted by curry beef casserole, a pot of long-stewed miscellaneous meat plus taro, onion, bell pepper, ginger and greens–“food for peasants, but amazing.” Fuzhou dumpling soup is also quite good: modestly stuffed meat wonton in delicious pork broth. Other winners: sauteed snow pea shoots, house special noodles in terrific mushroom sauce, and taro pudding for dessert.
The menu is heavy on seafood, much of it pulled from tanks aswim with fish, crabs, turtles, and other critters. Also: numerous Fujianese soups and stewed dishes, duck or rabbit Fuzhou style, goose and pork innards in various preparations, and other regional specialties. “The dishes are not adapted to American tastes,” KRS writes. “The broth in the soup was unsalted and took a moment to get used to. The beef in the casserole was the cheapest possible cuts, cooked forever to make it chewable. Get there quick, while they’re serving the food as they themselves would eat it.”
Many of the same dishes turn up on the menu at Everett, another newish Fujianese restaurant just down 8th Avenue from Sheng Xiang. Isabel loves their pork dumplings and clams sauteed with chiles and cilantro. Two other places offer similar menus: Wang Cun Ju and, to a lesser extent, Min Jiang. “There seem to be a growing cluster of new Fujianese restaurants in this area ripe for exploration,” notes jen kalb. “Great to see a fullish menu with rabbit and mutton noodle soups, even a goat casserole, in addition to a lot of seafood, frog legs, interesting vegetable dishes, etc.”
For a lighter bite, Sunset Park is full of little shops that make northern Chinese-style dumplings. One neighborhood favorite is Family Dumpling, a bare-bones corner joint a block off the busy 8th Avenue strip. Dumplings with pork, chives, preserved vegetable and other fillings are made by hand as you watch, then steamed or pan-fried. It’s great stuff dirt cheap, says Amy Mintzer; she also loves their rich yet feathery-light scallion pancakes and noodles with a rotating choice of sauces.
Closer to 8th Avenue, Northern China is a fine option for dumplings and scallion pancakes, reports Chandavkl. Others recommend the nearby Kai Feng Fu Dumpling House, which offers a similar lineup of dumplings plus a huge, tasty sesame pancake that can be ordered stuffed with slices of spiced, long-cooked beef–a delicious budget sandwich, says jen kalb. All three shops are mostly takeout with limited seating.
Sheng Xiang Seafood Restaurant [Sunset Park]
5318 8th Ave., between 54th and 53rd Sts., Brooklyn
Everett [Sunset Park]
a.k.a. C & C Everett
5721 8th Ave., between 57th and 58th Sts., Brooklyn
Wang Cun Ju [Sunset Park]
5609 8th Ave., between 56th and 57th Sts., Brooklyn
Wang Cun Ju [Sunset Park]
4922 8th Ave., between 49th and 50th Sts., Brooklyn
Min Jiang [Sunset Park]
5121 8th Ave., between 51st and 52nd Sts., Brooklyn
Family Dumpling [Sunset Park]
5602 7th Ave., at 56th St., Brooklyn
Northern China Dumpling [Sunset Park]
775 49th St., between 8th and 7th Aves., Brooklyn
Kai Feng Fu Dumpling House [Sunset Park]
4801 8th Ave., at 48th St. (entrance on 48th), Brooklyn