I’ll admit it – sometimes I can be wrong. Â While last year I may have had a terrible experience at Chinatown East as far as takeout goes, this establishment has slowly started to become one of our favorites in the city. Â Why? Â All you can drink sake (no, that doesn’t rhyme with cake).
We’ve spent a few birthdays and half-birthdays at Chinatown East, and it is probably the only establishment in the city that doesn’t care how crazy you get. Â For $14.95, you have unlimited sake and beer. Â According to the menu, this includes house wines as well, but let’s face it, you are probably going to sake bomb if you head to Chinatown East, so there is really no need to get fancy. Now in order to take advantage of this all you can drink deal, you have to order $10 worth of food. Â Keep in mind, you only have two hours to drink. Â You can also do unlimited sushi and sake for $31.95.
The waitresses at Chinatown East are pretty good, considering we’ve broken many glasses and have gotten rowdy there several times (we may have sang “Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole” to couples who have left the establishment who weren’t bombing), they are fairly quick to refill our pitchers.
As far as the food goes, my recommendation is to stick to Chinese food, don’t try to venture off and try the ThaiÂ specialties. Â The general tsao is pretty good, as areÂ the dumplings. Â Every time I don’t order the general, within 10 minutes of getting my food and trying a piece of someone’s, I wish I had ordered it. Â I’ve also had the sushi before and while it isn’t award-winning, it is decent. Â One tip though is to keep pretending like you are eating, even if you are finished with your meal. Â The portions are huge, and you’ll probably have a lot of food on your plate, but if you are quick to say you are done, your plates will be removed, the check will come and then before you know it, the sake will stop.
Also, see if you can sit in the front of the restaurant, also known to my roommate as “the center stage.” TheÂ back room they try to sit large parties in is way too hot, which makes for a miserable sake-chugging experience. Â By sitting in “the center stage” you will also have the opportunity to socialize with other tables. Â Often, we like to get the whole restaurant involved with a sake bomb, and have a group sake bomb experience. Â The wait staff is also happy to participate in a bomb, and if you are lucky, they will take a photo with you. Â I’m also going to go out on a limb and also suggest getting the whole restaurant in a group sake waterfall. Yes, we’ve had every person in the restaurant take turns sake bombing and have a video to prove it.
So the next time you want to do a big birthday dinner with your friends and have unlimited drinks, ask yourself:
- Where can I interact with other patrons (I’ve made friends in the bathroom line and have watched people get out of the bathroom line and engage in sake bombs with strangers)?
- Where can I engage with a friendly wait staff?
- Where can I get sloppy, spill drinks and break glasses without getting kicked out?
- Where can I scream and chant without other patrons getting upset (i.e. scream Hideki Matsui after the Yankees win the World Series)?