Chinese in Elmhurst
For months I have been searching for good Chinese food
within walking distance of my apartment, certain it
must exist yet constantly wavering in my faith. But
tonight I definitely found it. (Well okay, it's a
_long_ walk; but definitely feasible.) David's
Taiwanese, at 84-02 Broadway (corner of St. James Ave.)
is everything I have ever looked for in a restaurant.
The interior is comfortable and nicely decorated; it is
small but not crowded. The tables are set with
_beautiful_ pottery. It is very clean (with an open
kitchen), without feeling antiseptic. The staff is
friendly, attentive and polite almost to a fault; the
one time my cup of tea was empty, a waitress hurried
over to my table and apologized as she filled it.
And of course the food... both dishes I ordered were
marked on the (very nicely designed) menu as being "hot
and spicy"; the appetizer was indeed rather spicy, but
when the main course came I ate a bite and thought,
"hmm... oh well, I guess they toned down the spice for
a foreigner." Happy (because it tasted good) yet a bit
disappointed, I proceeded to dig in; 2 minutes later I
suddenly realized it's actually extremely spicy -- I
had to stop for a while to let my palate catch up and
to fight off an incipient bout of hiccups.
The appetizer, Fried Fermented Bean Curd, was just out
of this world. The bean curd was beautiful silky,
almost gossamer tofu, fried in a very thin tempura-like
batter. It tasted sort of like very good sauerkraut,
and came with an extremely spicy tamari-based dipping
sauce. Also on the plate was a sweet fermented cole
slaw which I was not crazy about.
I was a bit cautious ordering my main dish. The menu
leans heavily toward entrails; probably one out of 3
dishes include some organ meat or blood, from Duck's
Tongue in Wine and Sesame Sauce, to Zesty Intestine in
Hot Pot, to Pig's Stomach with Lotus Seeds. I stayed
with the more familiar Shredded Pork with Bamboo
Shoots. It was very good (and huge -- I took more than
half of the serving home with me!), but I think next
time I go I'll venture into a bit less known territory.