If it’s authentic Chinese food you’re after, Yao’s Diner is the perfect fit. If it’s romantic setting or Americanized Chinese food, definitely go ahead.
Clearly not a place you would go on a first date. Although there was a couple who seemed to be on a first date. I’m not giving him a good chance for a second date!
And, the bathroom is clearly there for emergency purposes only.
All that said, the servers were excellent and our waitress offered us suggestions as we were looking for authentic Chinese food. And that’s exactly what we have.
Yao’s Diner is definitely a hole in the wall, and if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll sure pass it by (just ask Wandering Jew, err Mee Yong Joo … it finally arrived once the appetizers were on the table. Maybe he knew what he was doing after all!)
Yao’s Diner is located at 2503 Middle Country Road, Centereach, NY 11720.
Even with the help of an address, if you trust Google Maps on an Android phone, then you might be better off looking for visual clues. Like this:
The restaurant was BYOB (at least we think it was … they didn’t speak much English there so we took the liberty of doing that). That always scores high with us. We know that if a restaurant is not dependent on income from alcoholic beverages, it must focus on the quality of the food.
So what do we ask for? Our waitress chose all the dishes we ordered with just a few requests from us. We start with some appetizers:
Pork ribs of various flavors (They are NOT the typical pork ribs you would expect to find in a Chinese restaurant. They were meaty and tasty … not sweet)
Szechuan pork dumplings
Next, we ordered some starters and a side of vegetables:
Sliced Basa fish with pot of silken tofu (that was a famous Szechuan dish (that’s what was listed below the menu … so it must be true!)
Spicy Potato Chicken with Mixed Vegetables
Pulled pork with bamboo shoots for babies
Sauteed Dried Beans
I’ll leave the detailed analysis to the other Mee who said they wanted to post a separate review. I’ll let them break the dishes later.
Yao’s Diner now ranks first in our survey of Chinese restaurants on Long Island. We still have many ways to go. Will Yao stay at No. 1? Time will tell.
As it has become our tradition, here are the fortunes we received (the spelling IS correct):
- “Your adventure could lead to happiness”
- “The kind of advice we don’t like to receive often turns out to be the best”
- “The life of every woman or man – her heart – is pure and holy joy”
- “The road is getting easier from now on. Luck is helping”
Thank you, my friends, for allowing this meeting the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.
– Lonnie Goldman aka Mee Magnum “Chop Chop!”