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Province mantou sandwiches

Just had a couple of fantastic little sandwiches from the brand new Province Chinese Canteen on Walker a couple blocks south of Canal. Today's just their third day open, so they're serving a limited menu of their specialty sandwiches, cold sesame noodles and tofu salad. Both sandwiches I tried were excellent, with clean vibrant flavors coming through clearly. The braised pork shoulder sandwich is on par with the momofuko version, but uses Province's special sesame-seed studded bread (thinner and denser than most mantou I've had). The tender meat is balanced nicely with cilantro and delicately pickled cucumber slices. The short rib and kimchi version is also quite nice, with a good spicy kick to it. Both sandwiches were exceptionally clean, without any greasy mouthfeel whatsoever.

Sandwiches are small, about 3 inches in diameter, so one isn't likely to satisfy. The price is quite reasonable though, at $3.75 each or two for $6.50 (3 for $9.50). I'll be going back next Monday to try the grilled chicken sandwich.

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  1. thanks for the tip -- sounds like an excellent banh mi substitute (hey, even the most delicious chow merits a substitute now and then). the short rib sounds like a winner to me -- any recollection as to whether or not a (semi) vegetarian would have any options, be it fish-ish or all veg?

    1 Reply
    1. re: david sprague

      I had a delicious mushroom sandwich there yesterday.. It's not on the permanant menu, but I hope it's added!!

    2. Nope, the only veggie option right now is the tofu salad. The cold sesame noodles comes with chicken or roast pork. Their menu does have a cryptic note though: "Please check back soon for our expanded menu". I'll have a chat with them next week and will report back.

      1. Just had another fine lunch at Province. The cold sesame noodles with roast pork was the real standout dish -- too often, sesame noodles are overly greasy or heavy...not so with this version, which is fresh and vibrant. That seems to be the general theme at this new Tribeca minimalist joint -- everything I've tried so far at Province is lighter and cleaner than a lot of NYC Chinese food tends to be. Flavors are clearly defined and combinations are simpler -- sandwiches have only one or two garnishes, each of which plays a distinctive role flavorwise. They had a new sandwich on special today, spicy pork with pickled radish, which was quite tasty. This time I brought a friend so we could try each of the four available sandwiches -- the short rib with kimchi and the spicy pork were the best of the lot. The chicken with cilantro and pickled cucumber was moist and tasty, but suffered in direct comparison with the pork (as chicken almost always does). The braised shoulder was good, but not quite as flavorful as it was last week. Today's mantou was better than last week, fresher and less dense.

        I think this joint has serious potential. It's an interesting concept -- upmarket but affordable Chinese sandwiches in a hipster lunch counter setting -- only time will tell whether it'll work. I've not run into similar mantou sandwiches elsewhere, so I'm certainly hoping they flourish. I suspect that as word spreads and they get busier, they'll find their groove and start churning out consistently excellent dishes.

        6 Replies
        1. re: dennison

          I remember seeing a menu with sandwiches made from scallion pancakes (another interesting concept) - but I can't recall which restaurant it was...

          1. re: piccola

            I just talked with a friend that is going to China again. He spoke of a scallion pancake "breakfast" item that fills the pancake with scarambled eggs & sauces it up then folds it eating it like a taco...sounds great but can we get it in NYC? He said he can only find them on the streets of Beijing?!

            1. re: cubanat

              Not so. I saw it somewhere downtown. Possibly in a dumpling or a bahn mi shop. (My memory of that day is a bit blurred by all I ate.)

              1. re: piccola

                thanks for the link, love the photos & site. Oops! but thanks above & below this post!

            2. re: piccola

              You prob saw a review of Vanessas Dumplings http://egustibus.wordpress.com/2006/0.... I am going to try this out for dinner tonight.

              1. re: josefr

                YES!! That's it! It's been bugging me for days.

          2. This is in TriBeCa, not Chinatown? What's the cross street?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pan

              On the corner of Church and Walker, two blocks south of Canal. Right across the street from Bread Tribeca.

            2. Any idea what time they open?

              Thanks.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Desidero

                Give them a ring. The menu sheet I took gives their number as 212.925.1205 and their address as 305 Church Street.