New York Magazine gives thumbs up to Peter Chang’s China Grill

{Image: New York Magazine}

Peter Chang’s China Grill (which has won over my taste buds not once, but twice) has finally made headlines, big, thick headlines in one of the most important cities for foodies: NYC. Grub Street of New York Magazine has named the local restaurant among “Food Treks Worth Taking This Summer.”

May I recommend the braised short ribs? Or the shallots bubble pancakes? You won’t be sorry. I promise.

After this accolade, the disappearing chef may just stick around for a while.

Peter Chang’s China Grill, the second time around

I can’t seem to be able to stay away from this place. It’s that good! This time, I went with three great girls and the night was nothing less than magical. As soon as we walked in, the scent of sizzling veggies emanated from the kitchen. It’s a good thing we had a reservation because the place gets crowded in a heartbeat. We take our seats and inspect the menu, four pages of what seemed succulent entrees. The decision would have been impossible to make, but our waiter’s unit of measure helped out, immensely: As soon as we picked something, he would rate it by an enthusiastic raise-the-roof gesture. If the entree´ was slightly less than exceptional, he would raise his hand only half way.

To start, we picked the famous bubble pancakes and fried eggplant.

These bubble pancakes were fluffy and crispy at the same time. Their companion sauce, we speculated, had a hint curry in it. Although they look so perfect when untouched, it didn’t take much to pop them. This appetizer lasted about 4 minutes.

My problem with this next appetizer was the spice level. Since I am a wimp and can’t handle spice very much (at all actually), the fried eggplants were a bit too much for me, but by the speed with which my Emily, Bradley and Wesley ate them, I’d say they were worthy of a fully extended raise-the-roof rating.

Next, we went with the highlight of the night  (in my humble opinion): braised short ribs!

The ribs were so tender and juicy (here you see them covered in Panko and decorated with minced green onion). Interesting story, this was the dish our waiter rated the highest. He was absolutely right. Amazing.

I picked an amazing chicken dish: Chicken with eggplant in a hot pot.

The eggplants, thinly sliced, melted in my mouth. The chicken was perfectly cooked, and the sweet onions completed the dish. As if these delicacies weren’t enough, we ordered sesame shrimps (a bit too sweet) and duck (excellent).

Here is our glorious feast. I knew I loved this restaurant before, but this visit cemented my appreciation for good food.

Thank you Emily, Bradley and Wesley for making that night a perfect dinner.

Out and About: Charlottesville’s Peter Chang’s China Grill

I had the privilege to try the creations of elusive chef Peter Chang back in February. Peter Chang China Grill is just want Charlottesvillians had been dreaming for: Tasty and masterly crafted Szechwan cuisine.

Fun Fact: Chang cooked a meal for Chinese president Hu Jintao and moved to Washington D.C. to become chef at the Chinese Embassy.

Before Peter Chang China Grill opened, the chef created headlines, both locally and nationwide, for this quick appearances and equally expeditious exists. He would pop up near Atlanta one day only to surface in Richmond the same week. (Click here and here to read more of Chang’s tours and incredible career).

I love trying new things and Peter Chang China Grill didn’t disappoint. At the grand opening dinner on an unusually warn February evening, Chang prepared 16 dishes, delicacies if you will. The hot and sour soup was a revelation. It usually isn’t my favorite, but Chang’s was delicate and complex. We were served fried beef, crispy tofu and glazed duck, among other things, and the meal ended with sesame balls with bean paste.

This lamb dish was amazing… if only I could taste it! (I can’t handle that much spice…see the red pepper flakes?). But these rice covered tofu balls were Out. Of. This. World., the perfect combination between soft and chewy. The accompanying baby bok choy were exquisite, tender and sweet.

Before dessert, a whole, fried fish made its way to our table. Enough said.

I highly recommend a trip to Chang’s new dig in Charlottesville. You won’t be disappointed.