When you decide what to order at a restaurant, usually you are guided by what the restaurant says it is good at. When my wife Jun and I visited Pinch Chinese a couple of years ago (https://kenscale.com/2017/08/11/pinch-chinese/), we were generally pleased with an assortment of dim sum dishes and other small plates that were prepared with consistent execution. It also happens to be that Pinch Chinese also has a Peking duck offering; I don’t have a great recollection of whether we saw it on the menu when we had first visited. In any event, a friend of ours who was in desperate need of some solid Peking duck meats recently invited us to join her and her friend for a weekend dinner at Pinch Chinese and she had already ordered the Peking duck dish (at $105 price tag with an “advance recommendation highly recommended” label on the menu).
Let’s first talk about the Peking duck. Both Jun and I are happy to report that the duck at Pinch Chinese was quite outstanding. A server brings a whole duck to the table for display before he starts carving the meats. The texture of the duck meats was just about right without being too tough, and Jun appreciated that there was little gamey taste that could undermine the quality of meats. Using the typical wraps and vegetables, the four of us at the table quickly disposed of the entire duck in a short amount of time. Before the duck came out, we also tried a couple of dumplings. The xiaolongbao pork soup dumplings could have been more generous in size, and I thought the spicy kick from the wontons could’ve been sharper; on the other hand, the mushroom dumplings with shiitake and truffle were quite nice.
The underrated part of the menu at Pinch Chinese, somewhat surprisingly, lies in the vegetables. Everyone enjoyed the Sichuan string beans with dried shrimp and pork that gave the nice spicy flavor, and I was also quite impressed with the dish called “8 Treasures” using different types of vegetables mixed with house ma la sauce to nicely complement the seafood fried rice with Bay scallop, blue crab and shrimp that was one of the better fried rice dishes I’ve had in a while. The duck itself is also accompanied by zha jiang noodle so by the time we emptied these plates, we were all very full and didn’t even bother thinking about desserts.
Our friend was able to secure a prime time table for four on a Saturday evening on relatively short notice but the restaurant was fully packed when we showed up so do try to make a reservation in advance. The dining space has the similar trendy SoHo vibe that works for a number of different occasions. The wine list at Pinch Chinese on our visit was a lot more varied but I probably shouldn’t have tried to be too adventurous. The first bottle of French Grenache we shared was floral and therefore ideal for the beginning of the meal, but the second bottle of German pinot noir was a bit too acidic. While Jun and I don’t go out that often for Peking duck feasts, Pinch Chinese’s offering is definitely something we will keep in our mind as an option going forward.
KenScale: 8.0/10 (Jun’s Score: 8.0/10)
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 7.5/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
- Value: 8.0/10
Address: 177 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012
Telephone: (212) 328-7880