What Number Did We Get?
An appetizer. An entrée. A noodle dish. Every #1 Chinese Restaurant across America must serve The Critic these three orders. Their destinies change forever.
With their new social cachet, #1 decides to franchise the restaurant and turn their humble establishment into a chain of bonafide #1 Chinese Restaurants. As their restaurant empire expands and more time is spent on business operations, their food begins to lack the homeyness, care and “oomph” of their original recipes.
The success of their neighboring Chinese restaurant begins to wear on #372. As their business rapidly declines, the family decides to do some soul searching. They take the family van on a cross country road trip, touring other former Number One.
A Mexican family takes over a former #1 Chinese restaurant. Rather than changing the name and sign, they simply add “& Tacos” and continue serving the old Chinese fare. Their high ranking comes as a surprise, even outrage, to the Chinese restaurant owners, who refuse to believe a Mexican could cook good Chinese food.
Last Days on Mott Street
Gentrification continues its ruthless march through NYC’s Chinatown, and the neighborhood’s old guard is quickly being phased out. One owner anxiously awaits their ranking, which could breathe new life into the restaurant or determine how much time they have left to stay. They receive #60, which in most parts of the country would be fantastic. However, in this market, #60 might not be good enough.
Wizards in the Kitchen
A little boy attends a banquet commemorating the work his grandparents have done in the local Chinese community. Bored out of his mind, he wanders into the kitchen and imagines a big fantasy world overhead of chefs sprinkling magical spices and performing spell-worthy flourishes to the food.
Dim Sum Drama
This Chinese restaurant is an experience. Snazzy mood lighting, pictures of celebrities on the wall, and a pretty waitstaff deliver typical dim sum offerings with flair. The owner’s hardworking son is surprised that their average ranking has little effect on their business, before receiving a lesson from his mother on the restaurant’s philosophy of style over substance.
“That Was Fast”
Every diner of #352 has the same reaction upon receiving their food: “That was fast.” #352 is located on a rip in the space-time continuum, and its waitstaff has mastered the laws of time to bring food from the future, fast.
After changing their sign, one restaurant notices business is unexpectedly booming. Tourists now flock to their restaurant to take pictures in front of their sign and enjoy some greasy Chinese food. The owner’s teenage son explains their number’s significance to his confused parents.
A Korean and Chinese couple receives their number and see it as a bad omen. Rather than improving the restaurant’s food, they spend time praying at all types of shrines and gods to rid themselves of bad luck.
First In Our Hearts
#818 has the unfortunate honor of being the worst Chinese restaurant in America, but the owner and customers seem unfazed. However, one loyal fan, an eleven-year-old girl named Juniper Jung, takes it upon herself to defend the store’s honor.