Potluck Club is a Cantonese-American restaurant that reflects the intersectional nature of its surroundings. Situated at the nexus of Chinatown, Nolita, and the LES, it pens a love letter to a shifting landscape. This is a cool concept in and of itself, but the fact that the food is awesome makes it even cooler.
From the moment you enter the space, you know there’s something different happening here. Is it a bar, a lounge, a restaurant, the concessions section of an imaginary movie theater? The room is large, pleasantly noisy, and full of things that briefly catch your attention before you notice another interesting detail on the other side of the restaurant.
There’s a sort-of chef’s counter at the back, separated from the kitchen only by a marquee and a pane of glass, that’s held for walk-ins. These are the best seats in the house—unless you’re here with a big group, in which case the curved corner booth in the back right corner is the table you want. But if you’re here on a date, the two-tops scattered throughout the space (equally good for intimate conversation and eavesdropping) are also great.
The unequivocal best thing on the menu is salt & pepper fried chicken with scallion biscuits and chili crisp jam. It feels like a cheeky nod to the Popeyes down the block, but also to the boba shops that sell paper boxes of Taiwanese fried chicken, the neighborhood grocery stores where you can walk out with five kinds of chili crisp in tow.
Other menu items toe a similar line. A pretty endive salad would be at home on the menu of any sleek little wine bar, except here, it has dragon fruit. Deeply savory rice rolls are chopped up, kissed with wok hei, and given the “eat your vegetables” treatment. Dessert reminds you that the people who run this place cut their teeth at the popular soft serve spot Milk & Cream bar.
This is a restaurant with a strong sense of place, and that’s just as present at the end of the meal as it is at the beginning. For anyone who’s ever clutched a bolo bao and a milk tea wandering the neighborhood early in the morning, the crumble on top of the Dole Whip will bring a moment of pure comfort.
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Salt and Pepper Chicken and Biscuits
If for some reason you’re only getting one thing at Potluck Club, make it this. The scallion biscuit is incredibly tender and flaky, the jam has depth and spice, and the chicken is crisp and just the right amount of salty. It's a dish worth coming back for again and again.
In a city of boring little gem salads, the endive salad at Potluck Club stands out like a jewel. Not only is it beautiful to look at, it hits a lot of sweet and savory notes thanks to fresh fruits paired with grated pecorino and bitter lettuce.
Jellyfish Tiger Salad
This salad makes use of ingredients like jellyfish and Chinese celery to create a delightful combination of bouncy, crunchy textures dressed in a tart sesame-laced vinaigrette. It's one of our favorite ways to eat jellyfish.
Berkshire Pork & Chive Potstickers
These are a little more delicate than your average potstickers, and you really pick up on the almost bacon-like flavor of the Berkshire Pork. The chili crisp on top is made in house.
Oyster Mushroom Rice Roll Noodles
If you like both charred, savory things and vibrant, green things, then you'll love Potluck Club's take on rice roll noodles.
Braised Short Ribs
The short ribs in this dish are sticky and smoky, a nice compliment to the lightly charred squash that comes with it. This isn't our favorite thing on the menu here, but it's very good.
Dole Whip with Bolo Bao Crumble
If you've had Dole Whip before, then you know this is going to be good. If you're new to this frozen dessert, Potluck Club is a great place to try it. The bolo bao crumble on top adds a pleasant crunch and buttery flavor.