New York's "other Chinatown" can be found in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The main drag is located on 8th Avenue, between 49th and 60th Sts. It's a bustling business district with open air markets selling Chinese vegetables and seafood. In between you'll find loads of Chinese, Vietnamese and Malaysian restaurants. One of the standouts is Lucky 8 Chinese restaurant on 52nd Street.
The minute you walk in you're greeted by a friendly staff and a huge selection of Chinese meats hanging in the window. The restaurant has a bustling takeout crowd, and with good reason. There's fresh duck, suckling pig, roast pork, spare ribs and chicken. For about 5 bucks you can pick one and make a meal out it atop a healthy portion of white rice and sauteed bok choy. The roast pork we sampled was tasty and filling.
But if you're not interested in a quick meal, you'll want to step further inside for the table service. Unlike most of the restaurants in the area, Lucky 8 offers smaller tables for two to four persons, meaning you most-likely won't have to share a table, although that can be part of the fun.
There's plenty of seafood to try and not just on the menu. It's actually swimming around in the restaurant's tanks. We spotted dungeoness crabs, lobsters, numerous types of fish (some of which I've never seen before) and slippery looking eels. They'll catch it live and cook it up on the spot.
We opted for a huge bowl of clam soup. Baby clams and bits of silky smooth tofu in a light broth flavored only with bits of ginger. Singapore style rice noodles with mixed meats and prawns got its kick from curry. We loved the veal short ribs in a potent black pepper sauce. We found ourselves pulling every bit of meat off the bones and licking our fingers. It's that good. The mini spare ribs were also a big hit in a pungent pineapple sauce. The house special crispy chicken is also terrific. A half chicken arrived with a crunchy crust perfect for dipping in the house garlic sauce. We actually wound up ordering way too much food for the three. The good news is, we got to take the rest home for a follow-up meal.
So, if you're lucky enough to have read this review, you'll want to head over to Lucky 8, especially for Chinese New Year. Be sure to try the succulent roast pig.