Some time earlier this year, Wah Kee Fast Food & Cafe, your typical Chinese restaurant in Chinatown with bubble tea and roasted meats hanging from the window, closed. Despite a really bad ventilation problem which made it quite apparent you ate a Chinese restaurant even hours later, the roast duck and roast pig was very good. Also, very cheap. This summer, Red Square Cafe opened in the former Wah Kee space. The ventilation has somewhat improved, and the bubble tea is still blending away, but the roasted meats are now gone from the window. Usually, if I don’t see any meats on display, I order something else, but last week I was hopeful. Did my optimism pan out?
Not exactly. I ordered duck noodle soup with ho fun ($5) and although the duck was meaty, it was extremely salty making me think there had been some sort of accident in the kitchen. The only saving grace was the generous amount of bok choy. One problem I have with a lot of the restaurants in Chinatown is that they skimp on the vegetables so you have to order a plate vegetables on the side. If I’m with a big group, that’s not a big deal, but at lunch when it’s usually just me and one other person, ordering a huge plate of bok choy or gailan (Chinese broccoli) is not an option. So at Red Square, I was happy to see some greens, besides scallions, in my soup. On another visit, I noticed there were a good amount of vegetables in the rice dishes as well. Are greens enough to warrant another visit? On days I feel need it, it just might be.
Red Square Cafe (CLOSED)
150 Centre Street (b/n Walker & White St; map)
New York, NY 10013