Last sunday I finally took the advice Ben gave me at the St. Petersburg chowhound dinner and went to McCormick & Schmick's to correct the most easily repaired problem with my character -- that I had never eaten a raw oyster. Ben made this suggestion because there's a wide array of oyster varieties available at McCormick's and it being my first time he thought it a good idea to taste a spectrum. He was wise and the experience was wonderful.
6 different oysters and 3 clams later I departed and spent the afternoon walking around the city with a friend. Soon it was mutually agreed that more food was in order and so we wandered into chinatown in search of the banh mi you guys like so much. To our horror the two or three places we saw advertising vietnamese sandwiches were quite convincingly shuttered. It still being daylight a mutual glance was all we needed to decide forced entry would not be prudent, and we found ourselves in a bind.
An emergency tete-a-tete ensued but the diplomats were ultimately of one mind and anamimously passed a resolution strongly affirming the need to fulfill the core of our original mission -- to seek out something simultaneously new, exciting, and socially acceptable to put our mouths around in public places.
So we wandered up streets unknown (if I knew the street I'd divulge it, I promise) until my eye fell upon a window display of hanging ducks, chicken, and some particularly yummy looking pork. The sign read "Hong Kong Eatery" and it looked like there was just about enough room in the place to stand place your order for some takeout meat product, turn around, and proceed on your way. This was it. We entered. Opening the door we could immediately signs above the counter/chopping block with bilingual items and prices listed, but there was a line so we stepped in the door and shuffled several paces up into the store whereupon we can face to face with a bright, clean, mid-sized restaurant completely hidden from the street! I have walked by this place hundreds of times and had no idea that its interior housed a dozen tables, spiral bound menus, fish tanks with fish looking a lot happier than I've often seen them at much more famous chinatown eateries, and a score of happy looking diners chatting away as if they had no idea that they were like rock stars in my eyes for knowing about this enclave.
We passed through the line back towards the front with the hanging meats and eventually ordered a styrofoam container of Center Cut BBQ Pork (7.50/lb). A nice lady picked it out of the window tray, confirmed I wanted it sliced, did so, and dumped it into the container. We beat a hasty retreat back onto the streets.
Now, at this point we had been surprised by the existence of the hidden restaurant but hadn't tried the food. Furthermore neither of us had ever consumed bbq pork we had found particularly memorable before. We were prepared for over-sweetened, thin, and fatty meat that was OK but nothing special. We were wrong. We were worlds wrong. Embarrasaingly wrong. This bbq pork was tender and flavorful. Flavorful of pork with a little sweetness, mind you, not flavorful of something given and extended honey bath. As we picked up the slices we both kept waiting for the fatty part to kick in. It never did. It was unbelievable. It was so good. we already haveplans to get more, to try some duck, and to get a table in the actual restaurant.
I don't know if the bbq pork at all the chinatown pork/duck/chicken storefronts is this good I'd I'd like to confirm for the record that this bbq pork blows the pants off any rendition I've ever had of it before and I can't wait for more.
Has anyone actually eaten at Hong Kong Eatery's restaurant?