new favorite neighborhood chinese joint

I have a fondness for Chinese restaurants that is similar to my fondness for Tex-Mex ones. I know you’ve been around a long time, and that people call you mean names (“inauthentic,” “Americanized,” and worse), and that there are trendier options out there, but I still love you for what you are. You were fusion cuisines ahead of your time, and you’ll always be real to me.

Our new favorite Chinese? Eric’s in Noe Valley. We’d tried Alice’s once or twice–it’s six blocks away on our street and pretty solid–but last night when the muse called again, we decided to branch out. And Eric has Alice beat. Pot of hot green tea on the table on a chilly, foggy night: check. Delightfully crisped and gingery potstickers: check. J-P’s Spicy Smoked Pork was smoky and spicy, just as promised, and the the thin-cut everything (pork, leeks, garlic) had great texture. My Sesame Beef, described in the menu as “crispy beef braised in Szechwan sauce” delivered on the crispy promise, which is what really mattered, though it wasn’t as spicy as I had hoped. No problem: the table’s condiments were rice vinegar, soy sauce, and chili oil. I drizzled the latter two over my beef, and heaven. Plus, Eric’s is only three blocks from home.

There was even a proudly framed Michelin recommendation next to our table. Impressive, but the accompanying write-up was funny. The author’s two favorite dishes were the Rainbow Fish, whose advertised white wine sauce with pine nuts just seemed meh when we read the menu, and the crab rangoon, a dish that drives Helen to apoplexy. I know the food I eat is Americanized, but cream cheese?! Not even Chinese Americans cook with cream cheese!


2 Responses to “new favorite neighborhood chinese joint”

  1. June 1, 2010 at 10:26

    I will remember this place next time I am in Frisco. Thanks

    • June 2, 2010 at 08:25

      Do you know House of Nanking on Kearny near Columbus? It’s our fancy going-out-with-friends Chinese. More expensive, always a line, but super tasty and an experience in itself. The kind of place where you just tell the owner how hungry you are and if there’s anything you won’t eat, and then the food just starts coming. And keeps coming.

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