When we posted our guide to eating in Chinatown, we focused on the neighborhood’s coronary heart. We then tested the limits of our appetites using eating at every status quo inside our parameters. While we also blanketed other Chinese restaurants, some incredible places have opened considering or deserve a deeper dive. Here are mini-reviews of 5 Chinatown eating places packed with fried hen sandwiches, boba tea, and unexpected snacks, sweet and savory.
ATE Music House
About a year in the past, my dog pulled me over to research a newly painted doorway in the shadow of the expressways overhead. We located a cavernous pool corridor, sports activities bar, and restaurant that might emerge as ATE Music House. The group of workers defined it as a new venture with personal making a song room in return. Finally, a performance stage upfront, from Dolo, Adam, and Jason Wu’s proprietors, whose’re quality acknowledged for current dim sum.
With such a promising lineage, had I located a new Chinatown hangout presenting the holy trinity of suitable meals, cocktails, and karaoke?
That it took five separate visits to get a danger to flavor eventually, the meals changed into genuinely a sign from the Kitchen God. The restaurant changed into closed with no explanation; any other chef supposedly didn’t show up. And even on my final visit, I had to wait an hour for food service to begin, three hours after the restaurant opened.
The confusion was regarded as shared by way of our server, who expressed proper surprise when I asked for one of the empty tables ringing the empty hall on a Thursday night time. After taking the order, she disappeared into the darkness. No kitchen door turned into insight nor any cooking sounds or smells obvious.
Perhaps our experience could be distinctive with the detached staff had we now not surpassed on cocktails, which consist of a signature Music House Long Island ($thirteen) blended with tequila, mezcal, vodka, gin, rum, yuzu juice, and a splash of Coke ($13). High rollers can splash out on four brands of $499 bottles of booze, from Blue Label Johnnie Walker Scotch to 2009 Dom Perignon Champagne. Instead, we nursed small bottles of San Pellegrino glowing water ($five).
Every dish turned into served lukewarm, except the crisp fried fowl wings ($9), which possibly meant the entirety else sat until they were geared up. Not that warmness would have helped the gristly beef ($2) or lamb skewers ($2), although a pleasant char might have stored the head-on shrimp ($four) or even the shop-offered sausages ($2).
The best discovery can also have been pouring the deeply soy-marinated chile cucumber salad ($6) over the bland noodles with soybean paste ($10), their flavors locating salvation in a leftovers box. For the ones strange with the vicinity, the excellent component about a go-to might be the eating place’s proximity to Park to Shop, certainly one of my favored supermarkets, or a reminder to visit Dolo, where the dim sum stays some of the great in Chinatown.
Big Boss Spicy Fried Chicken
I took one chunk of the fowl sandwich at this tiny Bridgeport spot and knew something became up. Chicago has many fried fowl options, and I’ve attempted just about all of them, but none tastes whatever remotely, like bird popping out of Big Boss Spicy Fried Chicken.
According to supervisor and chef Jassy Lee, Big Boss attracts Lee’s upbringing in China, Nashville hot chicken and a form of highly spiced fowl she learned to prepare dinner in Belize. I had no idea Chicago wanted a Chinese/Nashville/Belizean fried chook mashup; however, the effects are tough to dismiss.
Lee gives 5 spice degrees; however, if you think that going with degree three is an inexpensive choice, do not forget your self warned. That degree is known as “Hot: burning hot,” a pretty accurate description of the wickedly highly spiced sauce. But I’ll additionally notice that every bite is also wild and complicated, thanks to a combination of seven chile types. So instead of a pointy shot of ache, you get a wave of chile warmness that blankets your entire mouth. It’s additionally well made the fried bird, with an extra-crunchy crust and absurdly juicy meat. Plus, there’s a charming intensity and wonder that undercuts several spices, making this more than just a highly spiced dare.
You can order the fowl via the piece, but I’d spring for the Big Boss sandwich ($eight). The gargantuan introduction functions as a piece of fried fowl so over-sized, it hangs an awesome 2 inches off the facet. It’s topped with creamy coleslaw and sliced jalapenos, simply in case it wasn’t already highly spiced enough for you.