If you want Chinese food served in an elegant atmosphere, Third Avenue’s Xin is the place to go.
The restaurant opened just about a year ago anchored by a chef, waiters and bartender who all were fixtures at a longtime Bay Ridge restaurant, Lai Yuen, and they are still on staff, providing the meals and service that Lai Yuen aficionados missed when that eatery closed down.
“Nothing has changed,” stressed manager Pat Rourke. “The food is the same. The service is the same. It’s the same waiters, same bartender, same chef, all from Lai Yuen. And, it’s still the same supplier. A lot of the regulars still come back, and the food is still good.”
Ownership, Rourke stressed, remains committed to maintaining both the food and the service customers have come to expect, in an upscale environment that is both refined and understated, including a full bar and a nice wine list.
I sampled several of the restaurant’s favorite dishes, and enjoyed everything I tasted, and yes, the food is just like it was at Lai Yuen – flavorful and fresh, and full of spunk, without shocking the palate in any way.
I tried two versions of dim sum – the steamed Pork Dumplings ($7.95 for four), which were chockfull of ground pork and topped with a sweet sauce, and the Shrimp Dumplings ($7.95 for four), sesame oil-spiked morsels in which the tender pink crustaceans were visible through the translucent wrappers.
I also had the opportunity to sample several entrees including the restaurant’s showstopper signature dish, Grand Marnier Shrimp ($21.95), which features seven huge shrimp enrobed in a crispy batter crust and bathed in a sweet white orange-scented sauce, exactly like the Grand Marnier Shrimp I had at Lai Yuen during a visit several years back.
The Sesame Chicken ($14.95) combined large chunks of battered chicken and al dente florets of brilliantly green broccoli in a sweet soy-based sauce, and the Steak Kew ($24.95) – which was super-tender – combined chunks of beef atop a mélange of stir-fried vegetables including mushrooms, pea pods, red pepper and asparagus, for a dish that was as colorful as it was delicious.
I have a particular passion for Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce ($15.95) and Xin’s version offered everything I love about the dish – it was spicy, but not too much so, with a haunting garlic taste and fragrance, with the crispy vegetables (including water chestnuts) providing a textural contrast to the tender meat.
The Chicken with Broccoli ($14.95) was also garlicky. Shards of meat were set off by another bevy of crisp-tender broccoli florets, providing a counterpoint of flavors and textures.
The Pork Lo Mein ($8.95) was chock-full of goodies, the savory noodles enlaced not only with little bits of pork, but with carrot slivers, bean sprouts and lengths of scallion. And the Young Chow Fried Rice ($5.95, pint; $9.95, quart) was also studded with tantalizing tidbits — shreds of fried egg, cubes of pork, peas, chicken shreds, scallion slices – and topped with glistening pink shrimp.
The restaurant also has lovely desserts. Unfortunately, I was too full to try one, but I will return.
8320 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209
Free delivery with $10 minimum order
11 a.m.-11 p.m., Monday-Thursday
11 a.m.-12 a.m., Friday-Saturday
12 p.m.-11 p.m., Sunday