“The Chinese Restaurant” was the 11th episode of the second season of Seinfeld. It first aired on May 23, 1991. It was written by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, and was directed by Tom Cherones.


Jerry, George and Elaine decide to eat dinner without a reservation at a Chinese restaurant before seeing Plan 9 From Outer Space. Jerry lied to his uncle, saying he could not make it to dinner, to go see the film. The maître d' named Bruce repeatedly tells them they will receive a table in "5, 10 minutes". George is nervous about his girlfriend Tatiana, whom he left during sexual intercourse because he needed to use a bathroom and thought hers was too close to her bedroom to provide enough privacy. He tries to call her, as she has agreed to talk to him, but a man is using the public phone and ignores George. Jerry notices a woman he's met before, but cannot remember her name.

A bored Jerry dares Elaine to take an egg roll from someone's plate and eat it, offering her $50 if she does so. Elaine approaches a table with an elderly couple and tells them that her friends would give her $50 to eat one of their egg rolls, and she is willing to give them $25 of it. As she softly speaks the offer without moving her lips, and the diners are hard of hearing, they fail to comprehend her. She simply walks away and fails to collect on the wager. George becomes frustrated when other patrons monopolize the phone. When he is finally able to call Tatiana, the answering machine answers his call and George leaves a message. Tatiana calls the restaurant to reach George, but the maitre d' calls "Cartwright" instead of "Costanza". The mysterious woman encounters Jerry, and Jerry remembers she works with his uncle. Realizing that he has been caught out, he decides that he might as well call his uncle and have dinner with him after all. George and Elaine agree to leave. The maitre d' calls their party as soon as they have left.


  • "I just can't believe the way people are. What is it with humanity? What kind of a world do we live in?" - George

  • "Do you ever notice how happy people are when they finally get a table? They feel so special because they've been chosen. It's enough to make you sick!" - Elaine

  • "And look at his little outfit. It's all so coordinated, the little socks matching the shirt. I really hate this guy." - George

  • "You know it's not fair that people are seated first come, first served; it should be based on who's hungriest." - Elaine

  • "You know we're living in a society; we're supposed to act in a civilized way!" - George

  • "So we start to fool around, and it's the first time and it's early in the going, and I begin to perceive this impending intestinal requirement, whose needs are going to surpass by great lengths anything in the sexual realm." - George

  • "Just a movie? You don't understand. This isn't plans 1 through 8 from outer space. This is Plan 9! This is the one that worked, the worst movie ever made!" - Jerry

  • "The women's movement just can't seem to make any progress in the world of bribery, can they?" - Jerry

  • "I can't go to a bad movie by myself. What, am I gonna make sarcastic remarks to strangers?" - Jerry

  • George: "She called, he yelled 'Cartwright'; I missed her."
  • Jerry: "Who's Cartwright?"
  • George: "...I'm Cartwright..."
  • Jerry: "You're not Cartwri.."

Notes About Nothing

  • The whole episode plays out in real time and on one set.
    • Because of its unconventional structure NBC execs opposed this episode. Predictably it has gone on to become one of the most loved.
  • It was to have originally been the 6th episode of season two but was held back by the network. This was due to the fact that the episode takes place in just one set, the waiting area of a Chinese restaurant, and in real time.
  • The episode doesn't feature Kramer as at the time it was made the character never left the apartment. In the original network running order Kramer had left the apartment in "The Statue" but in the production order as used on the DVD that episode happens after "The Chinese Restaurant." On the DVD extras Larry David states that had it been a season three episode then Kramer would have been there.
  • Larry David makes an uncredited voice appearance as a restaurant customer pestered by Elaine. "Someone tell me what she said! What did she say?"
  • George makes reference to Batman and the Bat-Signal.
  • In this episode Jerry mentions that he has a sister. Jerry's sister is never seen in the series.
Season Two Episodes
The Ex-Girlfriend | The Pony Remark | The Jacket | The Phone Message | The Apartment | The Statue | The Revenge | The Heart Attack | The Deal | The Baby Shower | The Chinese Restaurant | The Busboy

The Bet