There are more Chinese restaurants in the United States than there are McDonald’s, but that doesn’t mean you should assume you’ve ever tasted anything like the fare served at Madame Zhu’s. This is the kind of cooking you’ll find only in the most accomplished restaurants in Beijing, Chongqing, and Shanghai….which makes sense since those are the cities where the proprietress opened her first (celebrated) establishments. Top dishes include a smoked sole that melds a campfire’s essence with soy sauce and ocean brine; the pleasingly sour and just fiery-enough fish stew; bacon siu mai dumplings; and the searing hot pot beef noodles. Madame Zhu’s is also prettier than your average Chinese food joint, with flowers on the marble-topped tables and a twinkly light sculpture over the long wooden communal table (it’s nice enough for a casual date night).
- Pauline Frommer