This is a reach out to fellow Upper West Siders and Morningsiders about Chinese cuisine in the neighborhood. A year or so ago our beloved Columbia Cottage shuttered. If all one knew about the Cottage was what Yelpers had to say you'd believe it's strong suits were chicken & broccoli, pork fried rice and the free wine that drew local Columbia students in. But those who explored their menu deeply knew that this was a brilliant and consistent restaurant. There was a talented chef (hired from a Mainland China hotel as I recall) in that kitchen who took delight in rewarding adventurous diners with authentic and spectacular tastes. Ordering from their Shanghai and Szechuan menus in particular yielded complex and refined dishes that rivaled or often surpassed offerings of restaurants specializing in those cuisines. How we miss the Cottage! And does anyone know where their chef went?
Since Columbia Cottage's closing we have tried just about every other Chinese establishment in the area (delivery and eat in) and have yet to find a suitable replacement. Without naming names or pointing fingers, while every candidate has been able to produce a worthy dish here and there, the next plate is likely to sadly disappoint. And a follow up order (if, with fingers crossed they get a second shot) might be carelessly inconsistent with the previous. Frustrating. I would truly value any suggestions or nominees for any hidden gems we may not have discovered yet. Thanks to all in advance.