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Celebrate Lunar New Year at these Long Island restaurants 

Chicken and tofu custard in ginseng broth, part

Chicken and tofu custard in ginseng broth, part of the Chinese New Year pre-fixed menu at Pearl East in Manhasset. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Long Island diners hardly need an excuse to gather around a table for a multicourse Chinese feast but Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 25, provides a good one. This weekend and next, restaurants in Nassau and Suffolk will be offering a variety of special menus, many of them accompanied by performances of traditional Chinese lion dancing.

The rat, whose year we honor this year, might once have struck diners as an inauspicious mascot for celebratory banquets, but that was before “Ratatouille” was released in 2007 and introduced the world to a plucky rat named Remy whose goal in life was to become a chef. (Albert’s Mandarin Gourmet has a rendering of Remy on its banquet menu.)

Actually the rat is the first animal in the Chinese zodiac cycle, having achieved that position by outsmarting the other 11 animals when the Jade Emperor was deciding on the order of the calendar.

The traditional Chinese banquet often features 10 courses (10 being a symbol of perfection), each of which symbolizes a wished-for outcome in the new year such as wealth, health, harmony. Roast suckling pig, whole fish, noodles and the oyster-sea moss dish, “ho see faht choy,” are common. On Long Island, most authentic Chinese eateries just serve their regular menus. It’s the Chinese-American restaurants that tend to do a special banquet menu and these often comprise dishes that appeal to more assimilated tastes.

Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find this year. Most menus are served at specific times and seating is limited. Reservations are highly encouraged.



Where: 730 Franklin Ave., Garden City

When: Jan. 24-25

Price: $50

Lion dance: Yes

Orchid will be serving four appetizers, three main courses and, for dessert, chocolate or cheesecake and coffee.

More info: 516-742-1116



Where: 623 Hicksville Rd., Bethpage and 511 N Broadway, Jericho 

When: Jan. 24 to 26, Feb. 1

Price: $39.99, four-person minimum

Lion dance: Yes

These restaurant cousins are each offering 10-course banquet that includes boneless spare ribs, seafood dumplings, pork-shrimp shumai, jumbo shrimp with walnuts, pork tenderloin with string beans and long peppers in basil sauce and udon noodles with mushrooms and Chinese sausage.

More info: 516-822-1010, and 516-719-0021,



Where: 1191 Northern Blvd., Manhasset

When: Jan. 25 and Feb. 1

Price: $85

Lion dance: Yes

The banquet menu includes four appetizers (such as crab claw stuffed with shrimp, pan-seared pork-shrimp dumplings), a soup of chicken and tofu custard in ginseng broth and seven mains (among them, Peking duck, X.O. lobster with eight-treasure, Australian Wagyu steak, peacock-shaped asparagus and tofu custard and miso black cod). Dessert is ice cream, mini pastries and fresh fruit.

More info: 516-365-9898



Where: 269 New York Ave., Huntington

When: Feb. 5-6

Price: $55

Lion dance: Yes

Huntington’s stalwart Chinese is serving a four-course dinner: your choice of soup (seafood, chicken-corn or vegetable), appetizer (crab claw, tropical shrimp or lamb chop) and main (steamed sea bass, steak imperial and Mandarin pork, among them). Dessert is “fruit fantasy.”

More info: 631-673-8188,



Where: 30 Route 25A, East Setauket

When: Jan. 21 to 31

Price: $5.99 per dish

Lion dance: No

Dumplings are traditional for Chinese New Year. Jiang Hu’s regular menu features soup dumplings (pork and pork-crab), pork-cabbage dumplings (pan-fried or steamed). For the last ten days of the month, the kitchen will also prepare lamb dumplings, pork-chive dumplings and vegetarian dumplings. All come eight to an order. Crystal shrimp dumplings come three to an order.

More info: 631-364-9811,



Where: 55 W. Main St., Bay Shore

When: Jan. 26 and 31, Feb. 9

Price: $28.95

Lion dance: Yes

Peninsula’s menu kicks off with wonton soup or salad, then chose one among six appetizers (such as egg roll, spring roll, pork dumplings) and one among 11 mains (such as General Tso’s chicken, pepper steak with onion, crispy shrimp with honey walnuts) and finish with fresh fruit.

More info: 631-666-8811,


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