March 28, 2018 Update:
Pinch Chinese is clicking on all cylinders. There’s something about sitting there at dinner time looking through the glass at that kitchen. Like watching a team of physicians conducting a well orchestrated surgery. If they would be making cupcakes I would be probably standing on a line for cupcakes, hoping they come with a side of soup dumplings.
Boy those bite size seafood/pork soup dumplings are explosive. And the flavors on the room temperature cumin ribs really come through nicely. Hard to try new dishes here when its just the two of us, and you want to eat the same things again. But the Steak fried rice featuring a tender ultra beefy Wagyu sirloin, is the one big addition to the list.
“Snow Crab in a Chinese Restaurant” is still fantastic, and a good source of vitamin Crab, with those silky glass noodles. The Peking Duck here is becoming very popular, and looks rather scrumptious. In previous visits for lunch I enjoyed the Taiwanese Beef Noodle soup, a current NYC trend it seems. This is a major go!
May 16, 2017 Post:
As the wise Yogi once said… “Its so crowded, nobody goes there anymore”. Have you been to Soho lately? Spring and Price are giving Times Square a run for its money. I wonder whats the rent like these days. On the flip side, I was picking up visitors from Sixty Soho on back to back mornings for a Brooklyn Tour, and I couldnt believe how charming and quiet that area can be in the morning. I heard cab drivers singing and birds making mating calls (or is it the other way around). Even Dominique Ansel had no queue! It was as shocking as your spouse telling you out of the blue, “I didnt know the Bee Gees were all male”.
Pinch Chinese is sticking out of Prince Street like a zebra in a nudist colony. There’s nothing like it in the area, serving solid elevated Chinese in a comfortable setting. One of the partners is a veteran of the famed Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung, known for their soup dumplings (Xiaolongbao). Inside, once you look passed the seriously focused crew behind the glass, its quirkiness galore. From the menu, quoting Yelp reviewers, to the bathroom, warning employees about the consequences of not washing hands. A lot of effort into the decor. We ate…
Seafood/Pork Dumplings – Smaller than your average soup dumplings, but more concentrated and potent. Wife was wishing for bigger (what else is new) but I thought they carried enough spark. Something I would definitely order again
House Special Shrimp – Fine! No issues with the perfectly cooked tiger shrimp and sauce, just nothing new and exciting flavor wise.
Niman Ranch Cumin Ribs – “tender, fall-off-the-bone – jocelyn on yelp” menu description is spot on. But to me its all about the dressing of these babies that made us eat the leftovers with a spoon. One of those rare awkward “Are you done with that” moments. And it just goes to show you how flavorful Chinese Cumin lamb or pork can be without the numbing heat
Dan Dan Noodles – Yet more pinches of brilliance. And more Niman Ranch pork, with heat this time, and hints of star anise. Its a peanuty sauce a la Han Dynasty.
Snow Crab in Chinese Restaurant – A dish of the year nominee. Something Jocelyn and all her Yelp colleagues missed out on (I didnt see any mentions of it when I ate there). Glass noodles with heaps of crab, dressed with an outrageously delicious fermented bean sauce with chilies and scallions. The crab was plentiful and delicious, but it almost plays second fiddle to the noodles with sauce. I would even order this without the crab
Eggplant in Garlic Sauce – Exactly what it says. A regular, but solid, Chinese style eggplant in garlic sauce
177 Prince St (Sullivan/Thompson), Soho
Rating: Three Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that.
Recommended Dishes: Seafood/Pork Dumplings, Cumin Ribs, Dan Dan Noodles, Snow Crab in Chinese Restaurant, Steak Fried Rice, Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (Lunch)