Although in the dozen blocks of North Broadway between Waveland and Belmont there has been a boom in restaurants this year, including a couple of BBQ places, Mexican Cafe, and a breakfast joint, I decided bypass these for now and finally try a neighborhood staple that has been around for years.
I suppose I would describe it as Asian fusionwhatever that really means anymore. Basically Chinese with American influence along side Japanese and Thai dishes, it’s not strictly authentic but doesn’t aim to be. Having a fascination with all things old school Shanghai lately I was pleasantly surprised when I felt like I was stepping into 1930s Shanghai. This was exactly the point of their most recent renovation. Think Art Deco meets Jazz club with some kitsch and vintage Chinese advertising posters and Stan Getz playing in the background.
Greeted and seated quickly by the window on a chilly April day I went with Mrs. Pong’s chicken soup. I start judging soup by the foundation, its broth. This was definitely house made that day and full of flavor. I wasn’t feeling like an entire entrée so went with the lettuce cups appetizer: savory chicken, toasted shallots, lime zest, peanuts, ginger. This dish had some serious flavor and at least a handful of spices that made up the savory in the chicken. Another bonus was the chicken was not greasy, a tendency at Chinese restaurants for this dish.
More soup, Tom Yum and very good at that. I am a bit of a Tom Yum snob after having so much in Thailand so I can tend to be a bit skeptical about Thai soups. This passed the test with flavor (however, would not be nominated for most authentic). The seaweed salad was very fresh and not too much sesame oil.
This barely scratches the surface on the extensive menu so I will definitely come back to try more. It does get busy on the weekends so go early if you want a more relaxed atmosphere, go later if you want a more lively/loud party atmosphere.
Oh, and the chocolate with sea salt fortune cookie was the best! Got a great fortune too…