Classic Tables: Fuleen Seafood

Bring your own bottles to this Chinatown institution

Most nights at Chinatown's Fuleen Seafood resemble a series of simultaneous dinner parties: Tribes of eaters hover around platters of fish while wine bottles–either pulled from home cellars or purchased en route–stand in constant peril of being knocked over.

The restaurant's capacity to foster such an environment has made it something of a guarded secret among the BYO wine-geek set. Fuleen has been around for more than 20 years, so we're confident in calling it a classic.

Christen your evening with a plate (or two) of the baked scallops ($7) and a bottle of off-dry German Riesling. The scallops, studded with pieces of crab and covered in mayonnaise, are at once junk food-y and graceful.

Move on to fragrant bowls of clams and enoki mushrooms in a spicy broth ($10) and Dungeness crabs, steamed and rubbed with garlic and soy (market price). Then open an Oregon Pinot Noir for your whole black bass in bean sauce or flounder in XO sauce (the fish plucked from the tanks that you passed on your way in) with rice and a plate of sautéed Chinese broccoli ($9).

At this point in our meal, the wines we'd brought (which we picked up at nearby stores Bowery and Vine and Wine Therapy had been drained–always the sign of a good party.

And the best part? Someone else will do the dishes.

11 Division St.; 212-941-6888 or fuleenrestaurant.com