A new and EXCELLENT Southern U.S. / Southern China cuisine restaurant opened this week on 2nd avenue between 7th and 8th streets. My boyfriend and I were at a meal at Momofuku (having excellent nouveau-style ramen) a few weeks ago and were talking food with this guy at one of the communal tables. He told us he was about to open a place called Hip Hop Chow. His name is Eric Kwan, and he's a graduate of FCI and CIA. The food is a great mix of Cantonese and southern U.S., both done with some French technique. But it's not "fusion" food -- he simply pairs mains and sides across these cuisines, typically not in the same plate.
For an appetizer, we had a play on eggs and bacon -- tender and falling-apart caramelized pork belly with light, cheese-infused grits accented with diced apple.
Then we had a great braised oxtail in a wine-dark sauce with carrots, which was paired with Cantonese noodles and cabbage in a light broth as a side. Finally we had a crisp yet tender pork chop, perfectly seasoned, that came with sweet corn and a side, in a tiny cast-iron skillet, of yams with toasted marshmallow.
We thought it was a unique combination of the American and Chinese South with CIA-level service and reasonable prices (and we swear we just met the guy). It's a multicultural asset on a block that includes B&H Dairy, Belgian fries, and Toy Tokyo.