So I finally went after months of lurking and reading about it -- and it was divine. I had a list of things to try (all gleaned from this board). At first, when I asked the waiter for the speciality menu he said -- we don't have one. I felt dumb, but persisted and after a few go rounds, he said ... "oh, the chinese menu!" and brought it out.
We started with hot and sour soup which was more bitter than the ones I am used to; chock full of egg and tofu and woodear. More up my alley was the pork soup with pickled greens; yummy broth and the pickled green was lovely. More broth, less material than the hot and sour. We also had the sliced pork with garlic sauce appetizer; yum., served not really sauced but on a veritable lake of chili sauce to apply at your will. But man oh man, my favorite starter by far were the peanuts, off the chinese menu. I could eat them all day long -- and I usually am rather anti-nut. Perfect for starting the new year, besides.
For main courses, the pig foot ... yummy. slipped so easily of the bone, and tasted warm and porky. The charred ends were my favorite; I really did have my pig foot with a bottle of beer, as well! The special steamed pork, my favorite part of which wasn't the meat (which was v. good, even the [considerable amount of] fat is good ... reminded me of ukrainian sala obsession -- pork fat is quite divine if one can get past ... well, its fattiness) but the greens beneath the pork which had absorbed some smoky flavor and were meltingly soft and comforting. We had the shredded camphor smoked duck, which was fantastic, though the plate was not itself terrifically ducky -- a lot of vegetable with it, which suits me fine. Also we had Mah Paw tofu, the remainder of which is sitting in my fridge. Sad to say that by this time, we were too full to try dessert.
So -- a lot of gorgeous food. I can't wait till my next craving comes and I can get those items I didn't try this time: double cooked pork, dry cooked chicken, etc. I am already planning to put the delivery number on my cell phone tomorrow 1st thing.
But the one dish above all that I will dream about -- those salty sweet quite spicy peanuts. Heaven. My cousin got an order to go, to take home and nibble on.
Thanks for suggestions. I really had a wonderful time, and would never have gone if not for the message board. Shabu Zen's next on the list!