Monday, August 9, 2010
Pho Cho Ben Thanh, 76 Mott Street, on an unplanned second visit when it was 92 degrees, was losing its battle to keep the restaurant cool, even though it deployed several air-conditioning units, portable and fixed, and a couple of floor fans. I decided to endure the warm environment rather than face the hot streets right then. I ordered Bo Xao Sate, it loses a lot without the accents, sauteed beef with "Sate" sauce ($8.75). Besides thin slices of beef, the dish contained pea pods, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, straw mushrooms, celery, carrots, baby corn, green peppers and red peppers, all cooked in a peppery sauce. This dish further disproved the mtheory, proposed by David Goldfarb, among others, that all of Chinatown is serviced by one kitchen, although as a Vietnamese restaurant, it might be in a different niche. In any case, I have countered that there are many kitchens, but one menu printer. "Sate" here is meant to convey satay, a sauce/preparation that I have found and tried in several other joints, always with different results. Wet, dry, sweetish sauce, today peppery sauce, on a stick, without garnish, today with a vegetable garden included. At New Malaysia Restaurant, I was thrilled and delighted by what I was served as satay, while at Nyonya Malaysian Cuisine it was just okay. Listen guys, let’s turn to http://www.epicurious.com/tools/fooddictionary/strategy, or something similar to better identify our concoctions.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Hong Kong Station, 45 Bayard Street (also at 45 Division Street) has a do-it-yourself angle. You place your order at a counter in the neat, boxy room by picking from a wide array of choices starting with one of 10 noodles or rice with every element priced separately. I picked Ho Fun, a flat rice noodle (same as Chow Fun, my favorite) ($2). I added curry fish balls ($1.45), mushrooms ($1.45), and two fried eggs, cooked to order ($1.45). They added broth and then a shot of garlic sauce and a spoonful of parsley and scallions. With a can of Diet Coke, it came to $7.85. It was very good, although I could not help splashing myself several times even using a soup ladle to eat with. Other ingredients included tofu, squid balls, beef pancreas, beef stomach, chicken wings, Spam and pork intestines.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Shanghai Asian Manor, 21 Mott Street, previously visited on April 26, 2010, was an all around winner this time. With the temperature at 90 degrees or so outside, the air conditioning inside was absolutely delicious. The scallion pancake was near-perfect ($2.25). It had been lightly deep-fried, but was almost grease-free. My only complaint was the too small serving of the something-like soy sauce served on the side. Cold sesame noodles were very good ($4), but not in the league with the scallion pancake. Service, unlike my previous visit, was first rate.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I had lunch with Howard, a senior colleague, who, in spite of working at the courthouse for 30 years or so, had a limited knowledge of Chinatown. We went to Dim Sum Go Go, 5 East Broadway, the premier dim sum joint for one or two people. The only problem we encountered resulted from our behavior in ordering extra dishes (no rolling carts) from different waiters as they scurried by. The result was some confusion and spring rolls showing up after we paid the check. A delight otherwise.
Friday, August 13, 2010
I’m not superstitious, but I’m going to CitiField tonight to see the Mets play the Phillies. If there was ever an occasion to call upon the forces of mystery, this is it. I decided to prepare for the game with a special meal, so I went to Yong Gee, 104 Mott Street (previously visited on March 18, 2010) for Peking duck, which they serve by the half duck for $15.99. It was okay. The duck was not fat-free and the pancakes were not pancakes, but rather 4 inch spongy discs about ½ inch thick. The waiter made each of the six packages with sauce, cucumber and green onions and arranged the two legs on the remaining greens. I later gave the fortune cookie to my officemate Michael.
America’s Favorite Epidemiologist and I are going to Massachusetts this weekend to await the arrival of Boaz’s younger brother. This is a very happy time for all of us save some Chinatown restauranteurs who will need new revenue sources.