A garden of Chinese fine dining at Lai Yuen

November 26, 2013 Heather Chin
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“Lai Yuen” roughly translates to “garden” in Mandarin and at Lai Yuen Chinese Cuisine in Bay Ridge/Fort Hamilton, everything is as delightful, fresh, and delicious as you could expect.

Diners at the 14-year-old restaurant can tell that as much attention is paid to the cuisine as to the décor and service because every dish is elegantly plated and freshly prepared, every table has an in-season bloom in a vase, and every move from the friendly waitstaff is to improve your dining experience—whether with a never empty water glass or a warmed wet wipe between courses.

“We have high quality food and friendly service,” said general manager Nick Myrianthoulos. “Here, we have Chinese, American and other Asian food as well. There are steaks, lamb chops, sushi. People love the appetizers, the Grand Marnier Shrimp, Beijing Duck, Marco Polo Chicken or Shrimp, Filet Mignon, General Tso’s Chicken and the Lai Yuen Lovers Delight for two.”

It is easy to see why these dishes and more are so popular.

Among the appetizers, the Bo Bo Platter for two ($18.95)—fried fantail shrimp, spareribs, boneless ribs, shrimp toast, beef and chicken skewers, and dim sum shumai—is an ideal sampler of flavors and textures, garnished with an “orchid” formed of carrot ribbons.

The spare ribs, whether bone-in or boneless, were perfectly prepared – with an unctuously sweet exterior and tender meat beneath. The dim sum comprised tender dumplings surrounding a tasty pork meatball and artfully finished with brown sauce that was sweet and salty at once. In contrast, the fantail shrimp were perfectly battered and deep-fried, and delightfully crispy on the exterior. Also crispy was the exterior of the shrimp toast, triangular wedges of deep-fried goodness filled with shrimp pieces.

The soup options include familiar names, like Egg Drop ($3.50), Wonton ($4.25) and Hot and Sour ($4.50), and ones you might not recognize, like Thai Baby Octopus ($10.95) and Tomato Seafood ($6.95). The Seafood Chowder ($6.95) is a comforting bowl full of bits of shrimp, scallops, egg whites and peas. The Hot and Sour soup is rich with shredded vegetables and pieces of meat and tofu, subtly flavored so you can enjoy the varied textures of the ingredients.

General Tso’s Chicken ($17.45) is well known around the country, but even regular Chinese-takeout-eating New Yorkers will be pleasantly surprised by the sauce-covered chicken’s tenderness and the fresh—yet not over- or under-cooked—broccoli.

The Grand Marnier Shrimp ($21.45) also stands out, with eight toothsome jumbo battered shrimp and wedges of honeydew and cantaloupe bathed in a sweet white sauce.

Vegetarians aren’t ignored, either, as there are plenty of noodle and rice dishes to choose from, such as Vegetable Pan Fried Noodles ($11.95 for takeout) and Braised Tofu with Assorted Vegetables ($9.95 for takeout). The latter’s tofu is impressively crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, and the vegetables have room to shine on their own and with the brown oyster sauce it is served with.

Top it all off with one of Lai Yuen’s desserts, from the decadent Bananas Flambée ($14.50) and the Fried Bananas or Apples in a crispy honey and sesame shell ($9) to the simple Sorbet ($5.50, your choice of lemon, coconut or orange) and Lychee Nuts ($5.95).

Reserve Lai Yuen’s downstairs party room, which comes with its own full bar, for your next special occasion. Splurge on a nice dinner or an affordable date night out. There isn’t another place in the neighborhood like it.


10033 Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209

718-567-2300 or 718-491-5689


Free delivery to 65th Street and to Bay Parkway

Opens daily at 11 a.m.

Closes at 11 p.m. (weekdays), at 12 a.m. (Friday-Saturday)

Karaoke every second Friday

Live DJ Thursday-Saturday

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