Friday, February 12, 2010

Sixth Week

Monday February 8, 2010
Tasty Dumpling, 54 Mulberry Street, is tiny. There are three tables (2 for 4 and 1 for 2) and a lege in the window seating 2 or 3. It’s busy, mostly populated by young people and with others taking out. Tasty Dumpling trades in dumplings, offering 8 varieties of frozen dumplings, 50 to a package for $8 to $12, and six varieties boiled or pan fried, 8 for $3. It also has soups and noodles. You order and pay in advance at the counter in front of the kitchen and bring your food to a table which has a large squeeze bottle of watered-down soy sauce and a large squeeze bottle of hot sauce, which may have also been watered-down, but I didn’t taste it.
I had 8 boiled chicken and mushroom dumplings, a "golden pancake" and the traditional Diet Coke. The pancake was a wedge, slight smaller than a pizza slice, about 1" thick, close in taste and texture to a piece of Sicilian pizza without any topping. The pancake was dusted with sesame seeds and there were some pieces of scallion in the dough. Very tasty in all and very filling for $1. The pancake was also served with pork or beef as a sandwich; I intend to try this in 10 or 12 weeks when I able to return after reaching 72 individual Chinese restaurants.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Over the weekend, I ran into Paul (the very good criminal defense attorney) again, on the street, not in Fairway. He urged me to go to Hop Kee, 21 Mott Street downstairs, as soon as it reopened, which I did today. The space looked freshly renovated. The chairs and booths were intact, no scars, no stuffing visible. The tables were a woody-type Formica, set with fork and spoon, soy sauce, hot sauce, salt, pepper and sugar. Tea in metal pot came quickly and a glass of water (which most places skipped), but I had to ask for fried noodles when I saw them on another table. They were 2 to 3" long, narrow, but puffy. Mustard and relatively thick duck sauce came with them. Service was very good over all.
The menu was standard Cantonese food, that is what we Brooklyn-born gourmands might call real Chinese. I was happy to see that it served many things with black bean sauce including clams. I ordered Wor Shu Gai (or is it wor shu gai?), thick fried strips of chicken breast in a brown sauce. The chicken that sacrificed her breast was either enormous or really a turkey. The meat was good; the fried outside stuff was better; the sauce undistinguished. White rice came with the dish.
Now, here’s the problem, or rather the solution to why I so often have just soup, dumplings or noodles for lunch in Chinatown. The Wor Shu Gai was a large portion, appropriate for two or three more people at dinner who would also order some other things for a real meal. After having some beef, some shrimp, the ordinariness of the chicken dish would be obscured. Instead, I left some over, that’s right, I left some over and later felt I ate too much. And, it cost $14. The waiter brought one fortune cookie with the check. I didn't eat it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Snow day. Schools are closed, courts are closed, Chinatown presumably closed.

Thursday, February 11, 2010
I paid a return visit to Rabbi Traube, legal endoscopist at NYU Medical Center. All went well, but I never got south of 32nd Street although he got south of my esophagus.

Friday, February 12, 2010
Lincoln’s Birthday, a legal holiday for public employees in New York State. This is a vestigial remnant of the days when the Civil War was still being fought by selective celebrations of Presidents’ birthdays.


  1. Not to impose crass, linear thinking on the free flowing artform of a restaurant review, but how about some rankings? Perhaps the finest restaurants earn five Gotthelfs, the very worst barely a single Gotthelf. Half a Gotthelf. A Gotthalf. A Gottquarter. A user-friendly rankings table along the lefthand column would be useful, so fans can quickly peruse the rankings when searching for a restaurant, rather than read through weeks of blogs.

  2. I don't profess to be reviewing the restaurants as much as experiencing them. One person at lunchtime is unlikely to learn enough to warrant influencing others with the exception of food poisoning or garbage in the aisles.

  3. Recently, a writer who compiled a Harry Potter lexicon was squelched by JK Rowling in a copyright suit. I assure you, by contrast, that I will welcome and support any effort to translate my observations into useful form.