By Joe Meny
The # 1 rated Chinese restaurant in NYC by Zagats
Brooklyn’s Pacificana Restaurant, located at the former location of Ocean Palace, at 813 55th Street in Brooklyn, opened its doors six years ago as the first upscale Chinese restaurant on Brooklyn’s 8th Avenue. And for the fifth year in a row, Zagat’s rated Pacificana the #1 top Chinese restaurant in all of NYC. Pacificana comfortably seats 500…and that’s with a dance floor!
Private VIP rooms are available, with seating for 10 to 22 people. Pacificana’s decor can be described as East meets West; an upscale hotel atmosphere without the hotel. The custom-made ceiling was imported from Japan with 24K gold-plated chandeliers from China. Hand-made cherry woodwork adorns the walls. The centerpiece of the dining room is a hand-carved dragon and phoenix from Hong Kong. This beautiful decor complements any special event that takes place at Pacificana; whether it’s a wedding, anniversary, engagement, birthday, Sweet 16, Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Banquets at Pacificana are traditional Cantonese-style receptions. However, Pacificana also does an outstanding job of satisfying the appetite of its multicultural clients.
It takes three separate kitchens and five chefs to make the food experience at Pacificana what it is: an amazing presentation of delicious food. Yuan Da Lu, or “Da”, perfected his cooking skills while back in China’s Guangzhou province, and is responsible for the entrees that come out of the kitchen. His specialty, the Seafood Crepe, is truly a testament to his skills as a chef.
Dim Sum chef Zhi Ting Chen, creates all handmade selections that include Pumpkin dumplings, Steamed Shrimp dumplings, Fried Taro with Fried Shrimp and Pork, Handmade Crabmeat Dumplings (there’s more crabmeat than pork in here!), Baked Scallop Tarts, Malaysian Sponge Roll, and Neptune Shrimp Fish Dumpling. Dim Sum is served 7 days a week, Mon. – Fri. 9-3:30, Sat. & Sun. 8 – 4. Pacificana’s dinner menu is available daily from 11 am. – 11 pm.. Nothing from any menu is ever pre-made.
Pacificana’s menu is primarily Hong Kong style mixed with Szcheun and fusion and boasts over 50 appetizers, and 200 entrees. The lunch menu alone has over 80 selections to choose from.
Some of the menu highlights include: Lobster Fresh Fruit Salad featuring four lobsters beautifully placed on a bed of fresh fruit, surrounded by sliced cucumbers and freshly shredded lettuce. Seafood Crepes made with scallops, shrimp and Alaskan crab meat cooked in butter with eggs and spinach, surrounded by orange slices, tomatoes and cherries. Pacificana Homestyle Seafood Dish made with Kowloon Squid, Sea Cucumber meat, and Macadamia Nuts all sauteed in XO sauce. Seafood Noodle ‘Gondola style’, made with Shrimp, Clams, Calamari and Scallops. There are 29 house specialities featured on the menu, most notable is a Bourbon Wokseared T-bone Steak. Wow!
Dessert recommendations include the Brown Sugar Honey Comb Sponge cake (very uniquebe sure to ask your server how they make it!), the Tapioca Dessert Squares, and Pacificana’s #1 dessert, the Durian Crepe, made with fruit imported directly from Thailand.
Pacificana’s co-founder and host, Jimmy, has been in the food/restaurant business since he was 14 years old working at his dad’s restaurant, Fu Wah Restaurant located on East Broadway in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Remarkably, no cooking school was needed for his success. Jimmy was always hands-on learning. An alumni of NYU, Jimmy is fluent in three languages and draws on his brief experince in International Relations to make all of Pacificana’s patrons feel not only welcome, but like family. Jimmy attributes one reason for Pacificana’s success to their passion to take care of all their customer’s dining needs, no matter what their background. His advice to any aspiring restauranteurs: “Put your heart into the business; you need to have the passion to be truly successful”. Pacificana gives back to the community as well by supporting several of Brooklyn’s Asian and non-Asian community groups and associations.
What’s in Pacificana’s future? Jimmy would like to add an additional floor, and possibly a hotel. Jimmy says he feels bad when Pacificana has to turn away customers looking for that really big event space or when they have a full house. We here at Asian Fusion always get excited when we find a restaurant to tell our readers about. But our new friend Jimmy put it best when he told us, “Pacificana Restaurant is not the ordinary; we’re the extraordianry Chinese restaurant”. We couldn’t agree more!