Restaurants & Bars

Down a hidden staircase in Chinatown, Eisenhower-era American food

Brian S | Feb 26, 200807:51 AM     27

Walk along that crowded, bustling stretch of the Bowery -- between that old old house that George Washington likely stopped to admire and the Civil War era tunnel under Doyers -- and I'll give a thousand to one odds you'll never notice that tiny doorway at 16 Bowery. Through the door and down a narrow staircase, beyond a curtain and around a corner is a restaurant that looks like a Polish luncheonette on Ave B with trendy lighting and paint job. That's Win Luck Restaurant, and it serves American food to adventurous Chinese people with a yen for the exotic.

You can get Steak Diana, or lobster with baked cheese, or maybe some eggs over easy with bacon. If you have a sweet tooth, you can try waffles with ice cream and a chocolate shake. A trendily-dressed young lady at the next table picked at fried chicken. An older, not very trendy lady near me exclaimed in Chinese, "This is western food!" I opted for red wine baked ox tail. First came cream of chicken soup and garlic bread. And then the main event, a ramekin with the oxtail, potatoes and carrots bobbing in a thick gloppy sauce that looked like Campbell's soup. Alongside, new potatoes and a vegetable medley. It was the sort of TV dinner food you'd expect to see Mom dish out in an episode of "Leave It to Beaver" -- though I don't think that The Beav was a big fan of oxtail. Still, the veggies were fresh not canned, and the sauce, despite its appearance, was rich and flavorful, redolent of wine -- though a bit too sweet.

Not bad for eleven bucks. And, for Chinese patrons, the added pleasure of being able to say, yes I've tried American food, and our Chinese food is so much better!

Win Luck Restaurant
16 Bowery

Win Luck
16 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

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