It may be a bit early to call this place a hit but Im 2 for 2 and very encouraged. This little place is a dingy little side restaurant/cafe connected to the Asian supermarket on the lower level of the Chinatown mall at 143 N. 11th. For such a small place theyve got a very large menu with lots of Hong Kong & Sichuan items, as well as many that Im not sure where they fall.
My first time in a few weeks ago I had roast duck & pork over rice. I dont know if these guys roast their own meat or not but this was fantastic. The fat reduced enough on both to make the meat tender, juicy, and just a bit crisped on the outside. Which isnt to say there was no fat, just the right amount was left under the skin. Its then got a good soy sauce ladled over top bringing the whole thing to simple beauty.
Today I noticed the soup of the day section where you got a small or large for $0.50 or $1 depending. I got a small and it was the papaya with pork bone. This was one of the best broths Id tasted in awhile. I dont know what they meant by pork bone as it seemed like it was more like cartilage maybe, cooked until it was just a lovely, tender, strangely-shaped, very flavorful white cloud. Papaya, incidentally, lends itself to savory soups more than I would have thought. I was a bit skeptical but it was very well placed. Though to be honest I dont think I would have liked a lot of papaya, I could see the flavor getting old in awhile. By small they do mean small though, I got one piece of papaya and one piece of pork bone/cartilage/whatever floating in a tasty broth in a smallish bowl. Hey, it was only $0.50 and wonderful, so one piece of each was fine by me.
I got the beef tripe stir-fried ho fun over black bean sauce w/wide rice noodles. It had strips of onion, green peppers, scallions & little lentil-sized black beans flecked throughout. Wow. If they had provided a spoon I would have been tipping the plate sideways trying to scoop all the sauce up. Very tasty. The tripe was perfect, clearly made by tripe lovers, tender and exploding with homey goodness. The striking thing about everything here is how much flavor it has, which has impressed me most of all. Noodles were good and a decent vehicle for delivering the sauce, rice might have been better though.
Theyve got a lot of things on their menu as well as on signs on the walls that look promising, things like salt-baked anchovies, chicken w/salted fish on rice, salt-baked snow fish (whatever that is). They were eating their staff meal when I was there and they brought out a big platter w/beef & some greens, and another platter of more vegetables, and all the staff members were filling their bowls with broth out of a big tureen and then throwing in whatever they wanted off the platters, it looked mighty tasty.