Restaurants & Bars 14

Kow Kow

Paul SL | Aug 24, 2003 10:35 AM

Sorry if this has been covered previously. I’ve made an admittedly cursory search of the archives, and haven’t found so much as a mention of one of my oldest favorites, so I thought I’d share it with the rest of the hounds. Kow Kow restaurant opened in 1948 at Devon and Rockwell. With the influx of the Indian population in the seventies, they moved to their current location at Pratt and Cicero. A Baby Boomer, I've been a Kow Kow regular since I was ten years old.

As you might imagine, the cuisine is straightforward “Jewish Cantonese.” Although they’ve modernized a bit over the years, adding the obligatory mu shu and kung pao dishes, their stock-in-trade is the traditional fare for which their customers flock in.

What really sets Kow Kow apart, and likely explains its longevity, is the wonderful quality of their food. Their meats, vegetables and especially their shrimp are all top-notch and, incidentally, virtually unchanged from the first time I ate there. Portions are generous, and dishes are very well, if simply, prepared. If I do have a nit to pick, it would regard an occasional over-thickening of the sauces, but they’ll gladly go easy on the starch if you ask.

But here’s the real reason to visit: Kow Kow serves what many consider to be the finest egg roll on this entire planet. This is no exaggeration. Don Moy, the owner, explained to me the three-step process, which produces this golden masterpiece, bursting with flavor and crunch. First, a generous scoop of cabbage, bean sprouts, barbecue pork, shrimp, a sprinkle of five-spice powder (their own blend) plus a touch of peanut butter(!) are rolled up in a fresh crepe. The rolls are then dipped in egg (hence the name), dusted with rice flour, and deep-fried till partially cooked. These are made in large quantities, and then frozen, to be used as needed. And believe me, they’re needed. As each day’s supply is pulled from the freezer, they’re fried again till almost done, and set aside until ordered. Then, they’re popped in once more, so they’ll be perfectly hot and crunchy when delivered to your table. The egg/flour coating gives them a wonderful, tender crispness that renders me rapturous every time. Ask, they’ll sell you some frozen, ready to finish at home. Mr. Moy tells me he ships them to old friends and customers all over the world.

Perfectly complementing this transcendent, tubular treat are homemade sweet-sour and mustard sauces. Kow Kow’s unique sweet-sour contains apricot nectar, apple sauce and a little vinegar. The mustard sauce is also freshly made and bitingly hot.

Like many such family operations, Kow Kow employs several generations of Moys, so I’m confident that when the current owners, well in their golden years, leave the scene, Kow Kow will remain in good hands, feeding many more generations of hungry and appreciative diners.

Kow Kow Restaurant
6755 N. Cicero Avenue
Lincolnwood, IL 60712
(847) 677-7717

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