Chop Shop II
 
 

The not-so-well-kept secret for Asian fusion in the Flatiron

By Erik Mathes

After 16 years of running the successful Tuscan restaurant, Bottino, in West Chelsea, Danny Emerman wanted to do something a little different. So in 2012, he decided to open a new place just down the street, and base it around a cuisine he knew little about: Asian fusion.

Thankfully, Emerman had worked with several proficient Chinese chefs since hitting the scene in the ‘80s, and tapped a few of them as partners for the new venture. To stand out from the city’s countless carbon copies of Chinese restaurants, the team curated a boutique menu of international wines, and designed the space in Bottino’s fresh style of white brick walls with light wood tables and chairs, so their colorful dishes would pop. For the coup-de-grace, the menu brought in eclectic ingredients and rotating dishes to allow for the unexpected, such as spicy margaritas with Thai chiles, coconut curry “risotto,” and seasonal gelato studded with candied ginger.

The concept caught on quick, and in 2015, Emerman and team expanded with Chop-Shop II, which became a Flatiron favorite nearly overnight. Tucked away on a relatively quiet side street, this place fills up fast with a decidedly hip crowd, making you feel as if you’re in on the neighborhood’s best-kept secret—when you’re lucky enough to snag a table.
Just don’t expect a replica of the Tenth Avenue location. The sequel has its own unique vibe—and menu—with plates like avocado-mango summer rolls with curry dipping sauce, and steamed lamb dumplings with chile, sesame oil, and peanut sauce.

The possibilities here are almost endless. You could go with spicy cucumber salad, crab fried rice, and fried chicken lollipops with lemongrass, lime leaf, brown sugar, and garlic-chile sauce. Or perhaps you’re feeling more like braised pork belly buns, poached salmon with ginger scallion sauce, and pad Thai. Then there’s Emerman’s recommendations of cold noodles with sesame sauce and poached chicken, green curry with shrimp and eggplant, and the lightly breaded and fried salt and pepper baby chicken with flash fried slices of red onion and sweet bell peppers, all of which are sharable.

So, the next time you’re about to order in mediocre Chinese, Japanese, or Thai (again), remember there’s a place nearby where all three (and more) cuisines intermingle—a place where you can sip Spanish tempranillo with sweet and spicy Szechuan orange beef, or pair Prosecco with pan-fried pork dumplings. With all these delicious options, you have no excuse not to indulge.

hours

Lunch: Mon–Sat noon–3:30 PM
Dinner: Mon–Wed 5:30 PM–10 PM; Thu–Sat 5:30 PM–10:30 PM; Sun 5 PM–9:30 PM

price range

$14 (Penang vegetable curry) to $20 (Thai fried bass filet)
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