It’s never a good day to be a rat. Unwelcome in the kitchen, the streets, or the picket line, rats have a bad rap for a reason. But starting January 25, the tables will turn, as millions of Chinese people around the world gleefully celebrate the coming of the Year of the Rat.
Generally a symbol of vitality, wealth, fertility, spirit, wit, and cleverness, those born after February 4, 2020 (the day the zodiac sign officially changes) are believed to be additionally blessed with enhanced self-awareness and the power of persuasion, thanks to the metal element associated with the lunar year 4718. However, it’s not just parents of rat babies who have a lot to celebrate—as the start of a whole new cycle in the Chinese zodiac, all of us should be in for a year that focuses on renewal and evolution, providing auspicious fortunes for those embarking on entrepreneurial journeys.
To welcome the rat right, here are a lucky eight ways to, as superstition has it, smooth out a year of prosperity.
48 Deer Park Avenue, Babylon
Offering one of the best deals around, this NYC-style Asian eatery will celebrate the New Year with a $29.95 three-course prix fixe every day from January 19—25, featuring specials that make our mouths water just to read them. Think wild mushroom chow fun, Cantonese lobster rolls, a char siu sampler plate with both pork and chicken, vegetable dumplings, baked sea bass with kumquat chili sauce and roasted garlic pea shoot salad, wok-fried dry-aged ribeye steak, soy-glazed black pepper chicken with ginger, and crispy salmon chow mein. Duck lovers ought not to miss the Cantonese roast duck soup, steamed bao with duck, and the classic Peking option, especially notable here for the lightly pickled cucumbers that come on the side. Don’t miss the lion dance show at 10 p.m. on the big last night.
730 Franklin Avenue, Garden City
Party old school or party new—it’s your choice depending on which seating you pick. On January 24, $50 gets you three courses to be enjoyed between 7:30 and 10 p.m. as a full lion dance delights; the same deal applies for the following day, January 25, but from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. instead. But if you’d rather do the dancing yourself, a DJ comes on at 8:30 p.m. on the 25th, and tunes will be spun until midnight. A three-course menu is included with this second seating, which runs $60 per person.
623 Hicksville Road, Bethpage
The more, the merrier, and we don’t just mean the company you’ll keep for this $40 per person and $25 per child banquet dinner. You need a party of 6 at the very least to secure a reservation, but takers should be plentiful with offerings like seafood dumplings; boneless spare ribs; tangerine chicken; pork tenderloin with string beans and long pepper basil sauce; filleted fish sauteed with asparagus and lotus and black bean sauce; Steak Kew, and fried jumbo shrimp topped with walnuts in a sweet fruit salad sauce. Udon noodles with mushrooms, Chinese sausage, and sesame oil and a special fried rice round you out with some carbs. Get here before 7:00 p.m. on January 24 and 25, or earlier still, before 6:30 on January 26 and February 1 to catch their lion dancers!
1191 Northern Boulevard, Manhasset
In western cultures, 13 isn’t a lucky number. However, not so to the Chinese, nor the diners here on January 25 and February 1—that’s the number of courses being served at their 7:30 seatings for $85 a person! This traditional banquet means everybody gets to gorge on a gorgeous array of dishes that’ll fill up the tables as lion dancers frolic through the restaurant. Shrimp-stuffed crab claws, seared pork and shrimp dumplings, chicken shu mai, Peking duck with scallion pancakes, chicken and tofu custard in ginger broth, Chinese rice cakes with chicken and shiitake mushrooms, Australian wagyu, and miso black cod require no romantic names to sound appealing, but dishes like XO Lobster with Eight Treasure Sticky Rice and Abalone in Swan Lake add a splash of mystic poeticism to the menu for good measure.
3601 Hempstead Turnpike, Levittown
The closest you can get to an authentic Flushing dim sum experience without crossing county into that borough, this restaurant is already fully booked for their January 25 lion dance show, taking place during regular dim sum service between noon and 1:30 p.m. However, that’s not to say you can’t try your luck next year by bookmarking this option. It’s this popular for a reason!
269 New York Avenue, Huntington
Late to the party? Catch the tail end of the festivities on February 5 and 6 at this venue that offers modern Asian fusion along with authentic Chinese classics. A four-course prix fixe for $55 begins at 6:30 on both nights, with entertainment that kicks off with a literal bang at 7:30 with firecrackers at the front door, a lion dance through the entire restaurant, and a performance by kung fu students. The party starts with your choice of three types of soup and appetizers that include lamb chops, crab claws, or “tropical shrimp.” It continues with options of a Happy Family, traditional steamed sea bass, Steak Imperial, Shrimp Chinatown, lobster tail, sesame chicken, and Mandarin pork. A fruit dessert ends the show.
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A holiday, celebratory dinner-themed #boozeandbites! New episode is out on @facebook, @igtv_id, @rokuplayer and more … And this time, I get to sit with and actually #interview the chef! We're chatting with Gabriel Cruz, assistant executive chef at RW Prime Steakhouse at @resortsworldnyc. So proud to have been the one to host the this one for main sponsor of @theloungetalkshow! Thank you, @chrissygerani and @the_imageamb! Happy holidays, everyone, and may you have much to celebrate over #surfandturf this season!
110-00 Rockaway Boulevard, Jamaica
Ready to test your luck to see if the fortunes hold true? This gaming and dining destination is celebrating in a big way every day from January 18—31. A lion dance takes place on the 25th, but bookended around this performance is a lucky red envelope giveaway promotion, a shopping market, and “celebrity” photo opps with their very own Caishun, the Chinese god of wealth.
97 Main Street, Stony Brook
Close out the end of the festivities with a family-friendly event that does honor to the culture. For only $15 an adult ticket and $12 for children under 12 and seniors, you can learn more about Chinese heritage on February 2 by witnessing Shaolin kung fu demonstrations, Taiko drumming, and a performance by the Long Island Chinese Dance Group. A lion dance is also scheduled with an included kids craft activity to follow. All of this takes place from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., making for a jam-packed, exciting afternoon as the zodiac sign officially changes to the rat.