Eddie Huang is thinking outside the bao, as usual. The restless chef at Baohaus, a Chowhound favorite for Taiwanese-style stuffed buns, has shrugged off the crash-and-burn demise of his short-lived restaurant Xiao Ye. Now he's popping up all over town—sharing Chinatown tips with the Post, getting himself bleeped off public radio, and hosting hot-ticket Chinese New Year feasts with his pals at No. 7 in Brooklyn.
In his free time he's rolled out a boxed "TV dinner," as he calls it: a pan-Chinese combo of three items plus rice, sold on Mondays at Baohaus and occasionally elsewhere (like the Brooklyn Flea for a guest gig this past weekend). Lau says the first week's special starred tender, tasty dong po rou: pork belly in a leisurely braise with soy, sugar, and rice wine. Filling out the box were a freshly fried fish cake studded with bits of smoked ham hock and an Eight-Treasure Bao: a steamed wheat bun filled with stir-fried mushroom, carrot, bamboo, and more. The whole package is good and satisfying if not mind-blowing, Lau says, though he cautions that some may find it on the small side for $10.
To give you a better idea of where this eclectic Monday project is headed, the second week's menu was oxtail and chuck braised in Miller High Life with fennel, tomato, and garlic confit; stir-fried greens with Chinese sausage; and the pan-fried pork dumplings that were known as Poontang Pot Stickers at Xiao Ye. "yall know I murder the classics," the chef boasts on his blog, "hainan chicken, zha jiang mien, pot stickers, momma jokes, come on now. ... my food game is strong and you will love me like you've never loved a Chinaman before."
Baohaus [Lower East Side]
137 Rivington Street (between Norfolk and Suffolk streets), Manhattan