Mon Lung Chop Suey opened in 1982, before East Village's Polish and Latino immigrant population made way for American artists and yuppies overflowing from Wicker Park. The eatery has stayed a stronghold in the neighborhood even through the change, relying on its fresh ingredients and impeccable service to keep drawing patrons back year after year.
Since the interior was remodeled in spring '05, the dilapidated, seventies-style sign that greets you to Mon Lung no longer foreshadows what's to come inside. The restaurant's previously garish blue and green tones have been replaced with glistening wood floors, an in-wall fish tank, marble tabletops and an overall subdued feel.
Mon Lung's never-ending menu meets the needs of everyone, ranging from a wide selection of tofu dishes for vegetarians to lobster egg foo young for experimental eaters to chicken nuggets with fries for picky, Chinese-food-hating youngsters. Customers rave about the egg rolls, which include the atypical combination of shrimp, barbequed pork, cabbage and onions (two for $2.20). For lunch, stop by Tuesday through Saturday between 11:30 and 3 p.m. and get your pick of 18 dishes plus an egg roll and shrimp fried rice for between $5.15 and $6.65. And until the upstairs bar opens, it's BYOB with no corkage fee.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Laura Brown