The Cottage: Ordinary Chinese Cuisine WITH UNLIMITED WINE

The Cottage

33 Irving Place

New York, NY 10003

http://www.thecottagenewyork.com/

I first heard about the Cottage through a friend when she enthusiastically exclaimed, “You can get unlimited wine with the purchase of a $10 entrée!”….Oh. Okay. Obviously my mind did a rewind and had to process this news, but once it did, I made it a personal goal to go to the Cottage to check out if this “unlimited wine” thing was true.

So when my friends asked if I wanted to go to dinner, I decided that we should all go to the Cottage for a nice Wednesday night feast. I planned on having a dinner with four of my friends, but our plan quickly changed when we decided to invite ten people instead, just for fun. Because there were so many people at the table, I did not have a chance to try all of the dishes, but I did end up trying two that I am going to review for you all.

First off, when I walked into the restaurant, it just felt like a basic Chinese cuisine. There was nothing exciting about the atmosphere, but we were all excited because of the unlimited wine. So when I asked the waiter about the unlimited wine and he tried to make a deal with us (if we all spent $10 we got 4 bottles), I was kind of frustrated. Not that 4 bottles would not be enough (it obviously would), but I felt cheated because everyone I knew who had gone to the cottage had gotten unlimited wine. Unlimited just sounds so much better than 4 bottles. We could not argue with the waiter, so we decided it was a pretty economical deal.

After we all ordered, our wine came. We had two bottles of house red wine and the house white wine. Each was pretty good for being house wine and actually surprised us because we were expecting pretty terrible wine.

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(taken with @nycdining Instagram)

Then our appetizers came out. I ordered “spring roll” on the menu, which I thought would mean two spring rolls, but nope. It was just one measly spring roll! Not that the spring roll was bad; it was actually quite good with a savory sweet and sour sauce that complimented it. However, for some reason, I was just wishing for two. But over all, great spring roll.

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(taken with @nycdining Instagram)

My friends got the edamame which also tasted like a standard edamame. It was warm and I could see the salt crystals on top of the shell. They do not serve soy sauce with it though, so you may have to ask if you prefer eating edamame with soy sauce.

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(taken on @nycdining Instagram)

When the entrées came, we started our third bottle of wine. In an effort to be healthy, I ordered the Sliced Chicken with Mixed Vegetables. The chicken was white and was cooked nicely in that it was not too dry or undercooked and the vegetables…well they were vegetables. Nothing too special about them. This dish was not great because the brown sauce that was mixed in with the chicken and vegetables had no special or distinct flavor. It tasted very bland almost as if it was a mixture of soy sauce and teriyaki sauce. The sauce was also very thick and had a “syrupy” texture. It really added nothing to the dish, and over all, the whole dish was pretty plain. But, then again, you can’t really expect much when ordering chicken and vegetables.

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(taken on @nycdining Instagram)

One of my friends got the Sesame Chicken (sorry for the poor quality photo). When I tasted it, I noticed that it was spicier than the average sesame chicken and the piece that I had did not have a crispy, fried shell. It felt soggy as I chewed it in my mouth, which may have been a product of it sitting in the sauce for twenty minutes. However, I bet if I ate this right as it was brought to the table I would have liked it more.

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(taken on @nycdining Instagram)

One thing I was pleasantly surprised about, and unfortunately I do not have a picture of it, were the Chicken Pad Thai noodles. The sauce was sweet, but it did not taste like peanut butter (as a lot of sauces usually do). There were also red peppers in the noodles, which enhanced the flavor of the sauce because of their sweetness. Also the chicken was fresh (just as the chicken was in my dish) but it tasted so much better with the Pad Thai sauce! If you end up going to the cottage, you definitely need to try the sauce.

Like I said, I was not able to taste all of the dishes. However, I do have a significant amount of photos that I will put here with the name of the dish underneath.

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Broccoli in a Brown Sauce

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Chicken with Three Different Nuts: my friend said this was delicious — you all should get it!

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Chicken Fried Rice

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Peking Duck Chef Special also reportedly fantastic!

(taken on @nycdining Instagram)

Hopefully this gave you an idea of the food at the Cottage. But I would categorize it as basic Chinese food. It’s sad to say that there was really nothing outstanding about the Cottage and they did not even let us truly have unlimited wine. One thing to note is that I think the Cottage would definitely be a better dining experience if you go with a small group of people. 2.5/5 stars.

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