Friday, September 16, 2011

Cafe China Review

Despite (or perhaps because of) the plethora of Sichuan restaurants in Midtown, newcomer Cafe China recently opened its doors, inviting diners into the world of 1930s Shanghai. The decor is chic without the higher prices often associated with such an atmosphere. That's something it has going for it over some of the other Chinese restaurants in the area, though it may seem a bit incongruous with the Sichuan food it serves.

Beyond partaking in standard fare, liked dumplings and ma po tofu, you can venture for spicy diced rabbit or duck tongue with peppercorn. But my meal was fairly tame.

The savory tofu with celery shoots seemed bland at first, tossed with a little salt and soy sauce, but the combination grew on me. Between the softness of the tofu and the crunchiness of the celery the dish became oddly addictive.

The Dan Dan noodles with minced pork and chili vinaigrette were salty and saucy, but they complemented the tofu and celery nicely.

The pork dumplings in roasted chili oil were fantastic, delicate and spicy.

I really liked the idea of the baby ribs wrapped in bamboo leaves and was even more delighted when I unwrapped them to discover they were covered in sticky rice. The rice was tasty, but the ribs tasted plain and unseasoned.

The sauteed bitter melon was a lot more bitter than I expected, but with that end to the meal, it seemed as though my dining companion and I had traveled across a broad range of tastes during our meal.

The service was incredibly hospitable and attentive and the owner himself came over to greet us and ask how our meal was. He explained that this was his first restaurant and that his wife had designed the restaurant's decor. We wished him luck and told him we would be back. Such earnestness in food and attitude deserve a return (not to mention its convenient location).

1 comment:

  1. Theo Kim8:21 PM

    whoa! i walked by this restaurant just a few weeks ago and was fascinated.. will definitely have to try it out