Originally Posted by lawyerdad
Originally Posted by Bounder
Always a problem with ethnic food. Go to a Chinese Chinese restaurant (as opposed to an Americanized one) and you take your life in your hands.
I'm not sure if the second comment is really meant to relate to the first one (and by extension to gomestar's post) or if they're independent observations.
Things that Americans like are not necessarily things that are popular in a cuisine's home country. Consequently, a lot of ethnic recipes get adapted for local tastes and, so, aren't considered particularly great by people who grew up in that country eating that cuisine. In New Zealand, Mexican restaurants serve lamb tacos with mint sauce. We've all been subjected to, ahh, whimsical adaptations of well-known dishes while traveling.
So, as Gomestar notes, an ethnic restaurant that's popular isn't necessarily going to be any "good" in the sense of authentic. In fact, there's probably an inverse correlation. Do not, under any circumstances, take an Italian to Olive Garden.
With respect to the second, in LA we have a ginormous Asian community with tons of non-Americanized, "Chinese Chinese" restaurants. I've had fantastic meals at some of them, so-so meals at others. I never felt I was taking my life in my hands any more than when I eat at "non-ethnic" restaurants. Not sure why NY would be particularly different.
Maybe you're just tougher than I am. But Chinese Chinese restaurants in particular are a culinary minefield. I don't think correctly-prepared drunken prawns are even legal in the U.S..