Tony Hu's Chinatown Square Mall mini-empire grows with this spot, located mere steps from his Lao Sze Chuan
. The menus at both spots carry many of the same staples. Here, diners who don't want to walk on the wild side will find the usual array of pan-Chinese dishes available to them (to be frank, if they're truly lacking ambition in their culinary choices, they can head to Joy Yee's
across the thoroughfare). The true emphasis of Lao Beijing can be found in its name. Hu is emphasizing Pekinese-style cuisine here, with succulent dishes like smoked Peking chicken, pork buns and an amazing northern Chinese-style pancake sliced to ribbons. The menu items (most $6-$15) are small enough so that multiple meals can be ordered and shared.
The decor at Lao Beijing is comfortable and efficient, which shouldn't come as a surprise to fans of Lao Sze Chuan. The well-lit dining area is packed with large round tables in the center and multiple four-tops along the walls. If you're in a party of two it may seem like a waste of space. But Hu doesn't mind, nor should you.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Chuck Sudo