MANHATTAN – A pioneer in the fine dining scene for Chinese cuisine in New York City, the Shun Lee chain of restaurants is expanding to the Upper East Side, bringing a second, more-casual dim sum spot, Shun Lee Cafe, to the vacant storefront left empty when Mad River Bar and Grill closed permanently a year and a half ago.
Brand new signage for the Shun Lee Cafe went up outside the former bar space on Third Avenue just south of East 82nd Street on Wednesday.
Construction workers were busy installing new windows on the storefront when Upper East Site visited the location on Thursday, and the new cafe appears to be a long way from completion at this point.
Here’s what to expect when it’s done: a relaxed, fun dining experience nibbling on its extensive menu of dim sum— small sharable plates of snacks like a dozen types of steamed dumplings, shumai, pork buns, fried spring rolls, pancakes and even a selection of sweets to finish your meal.
The weekend specials include chicken feet in oyster sauce, baby spare ribs with black beans and hot peppers and fresh bean curd skin rolls.
If the pricing remains the same as it’s sister cafe on the Upper West Side, each and every dish will set you back eight dollars per order— but customers warn it can add up very fast.
While the Shun Lee Cafe is a little more casual than its fine dining siblings, the original Shun Lee Palace— founded in 1971 on East 55th Street in Midtown— and Shun Lee West (which sits next door to the cafe) on the UWS, it is still an upscale experience with white tablecloths and attentive service from the staff.
Upper East Site reached out to Shun Lee restaurants for more details on the new restaurant, we’re waiting to hear back.