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One of the Kind - Super 88 Allston

l
lergnom Jan 16, 2012 03:15 PM

Picked up take-out and talked to the owner for a while about favorite dishes. I brought home two chicken dishes - my wife won't eat beef or pork. Both were quite good. Chongking Chicken and Spicy Flavored Chicken, which was very hot. The former is chunks of meat with bone. I also got fish dumplings, which were steamed and delicious hot. They have two sizes for many dishes. A small was pretty large.

I was pleased to find out stir-fried potato is the dish I miss: slivers of potato that are blanched and then crisped in a stir fry. It was one of Mao's favorites, along with the House Pork that comes from his hometown - mentioned because it's on the menu. I forgot to order it because I didn't have my reading glasses with me.

They describe the food as Shandong.

  1. b
    bear May 15, 2012 06:39 AM

    Finally made it here last night. Had the beef in chili sauce and pan-fried dumplings. The beef was really tender and the sauce was complex and flavorful. The young guy that took my order warned me that it was very spicy. I thought it had a good level of heat from both peppercorns and chilies. An excellent dish, but my poor co-workers today. Tons of garlic!
    The dumplings were excellent, too. Pork, cabbage and more garlic. Really tender wrappers. I'd definitely get both dishes again.

    1. y
      y2000k Apr 26, 2012 09:15 AM

      Any recent reports? What else is good there?

      11 Replies
      1. re: y2000k
        Prav Apr 26, 2012 09:18 AM

        I've been trying desperately to get that House Special Pork (the one served atop sticky rice and potatoes), but I've gone there 3 (!!) separate times and have been given the cold shoulder (no pun intended). The last time I asked, a couple weeks ago, the lady coldly mumbled about how they "lost the chef"???

        Very confused and left wanting this pork dish even more strongly.

        1. re: Prav
          Allstonian Apr 26, 2012 09:25 AM

          Yeah, we have never succeeded in ordering either the house special pork or the red-cooked pork. I think we've tried every time we've been there, to no avail.

          1. re: Allstonian
            KWagle Apr 26, 2012 10:51 AM

            Neither I nor my friend Andy have been able to get the house special either. Zhang (the owner) said it takes 6 hours to prepare, so it probably was actually a new year special. Maybe you can talk him into making it by special order on a slow day of the week. It was really good.

            1. re: KWagle
              Allstonian Apr 26, 2012 11:44 AM

              If it was a new year's special, why do they have it on their printed menu?

              1. re: Allstonian
                KWagle Apr 26, 2012 09:05 PM

                I have no idea! But when we were first going there, they had several items that were both on the menu and the whiteboard, which they promoted to me as NY special dishes. I expect they ordered a lot of menus before they figured out exactly what they could do in the space and time allotted.

              2. re: KWagle
                galangatron Apr 26, 2012 11:56 AM

                that's too bad if the house special pork was only a new year special. it was absolutely delicious

            2. re: Prav
              galangatron Apr 26, 2012 11:54 AM

              unfortunately, the red cooked pork is never available either

              the tiger skin pork shoulder is a nice alternative. it's your typical braised pork shoulder but it comes with a spicy sauce that you pour all over the pork. it's a nice twist to this otherwise common dish

              1. re: galangatron
                j
                Jenny Ondioline Apr 28, 2012 10:24 PM

                Now, is this a sauce that's served separately? Because Allstonian and I ordered this Friday and got a bland hunk of skin-on, bone-in shoulder with a few springs of cilantro on top and a little vaguely spicy broth in the bottom of the bowl. We took about two bites each and just gave up out of boredom. The leftovers made it into tonight's okonomiyaki, though.

                1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                  KWagle Apr 28, 2012 10:47 PM

                  I enjoyed the hunk o' pork when we ordered it, but I certainly don't remember a spicy sauce. There's another dish of lean pork shreds with a spicy sauce which I found to be fairly uninteresting, but I don't remember what it was called.

            3. re: y2000k
              c
              ColoradoXJ13 Apr 26, 2012 12:28 PM

              Ate there last week, had the juicy dumplings which were pretty good, not as good as gourmet dumpling house, but worth getting. The Cumin lamb was excellent, very very spicy, covered in a mound of chiles, but excellent. I also had the chongqing chicken based on this thread, it was very good as well, I like spicy, this was almost too much, but excellent as well. The bones are a little weird, it is like all wing meat chopped into sections, good if not a little too oily/greasy. There was a 1/4" of oil on the bottom of the plate when we finished. The poor girl at the counter spoke almost no english (my dining companion is allergic to shellfish...was a little hard to communicate this fact) and looked at me like I was crazy when ordering all this spicy stuff, but I will definitely be back again soon.

              1. re: y2000k
                y
                y2000k Apr 28, 2012 08:38 PM

                2 of us had a pretty good meal there today. I didn't try ordering the House Special Pork - just assumed they won't have it. We shared a bowl of Szechuan Beef Noodle soup, and an order of steamed House Special dumplings. Plus 2 cumin lamb on a stick. Enjoyed everything we ordered. The noodle soup is v tasty, with very tender beef and nice chewy noodles.

              2. KWagle Feb 6, 2012 08:33 PM

                I went back again tonight for a munch (a social event) at the food court and wanted to order the house special pork, since it would keep warm for an hour or more, but they were sold out on account of it being the last day of the New Year's celebration. However, they had on the whiteboard (not on the paper menu) lion's head meatballs, 4 for $13. They filled a standard Versatainer and came in a slightly thickened sauce; probably due to cooling a bit on the way home. The meatballs themselves were easily equal in both size and meaty goodness to Shanghai Gate's and the broth was more complex and flavorful, containing cilantro and star anise.

                Another excellent dish from a so far consistently good restaurant. And aside from the strange but good Chongqing style chicken, I still haven't tried the 川菜 from which they get the other half of their (real) name.

                1. KWagle Jan 21, 2012 03:26 AM

                  I put pictures of the menus on Facebook. Sadly Apple has hosed Kerberos in Lion so i can't connect to my Web server. These should be visible to everyone, if Facebook hasn't hosed its photo servers.

                  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: KWagle
                    a
                    Andrea_ Jan 22, 2012 02:39 PM

                    Thanks a lot for posting the menu. Do you recall the hours? (Besides closed Tuesday)

                    1. re: Andrea_
                      KWagle Jan 22, 2012 04:09 PM

                      No, but the supermarket closes at 10 on weeknights. We're going back tonight around 8, I'll ask about the hours. One thing to note is that there's no Americanese food on the menu at all--you have to eat the native cuisine.

                      1. re: KWagle
                        a
                        Andrea_ Jan 22, 2012 05:16 PM

                        NBD, I just went there.

                        Sunday - Thurs, 11am - 10pm
                        Friday and Saturday, 11am - 11pm
                        Closed Tuesday

                        1. re: Andrea_
                          a
                          Andrea_ Jan 22, 2012 05:17 PM

                          Other pertinent information-- they deliver, (617) 254-5111

                          1. re: Andrea_
                            KWagle Jan 22, 2012 07:36 PM

                            We were just there too, and they were closing early because of New Year. And we might go back tomorrow too. This time we had the Shandong style noodles, which were quite good, with egg, mu er, and bits of pork belly along with some fresh veggies, and the Northeast style mustard greens, which were a delicious mix of pickled pale green cabbage with shredded pork and clear noodles. We also had the pork with cilantro, which had a nicely savory flavor that I completely missed until the last bites with the cooking oil, and the tiger skin pork shoulder, which was actually part of the arm or leg and not as interesting as I had hoped, though still delicious if you like a hunk of pork cooked until fork-tender. We also had the tiger akin peppers, which were decent but not particularly hot.

                            This time we ordered two small dishes, and thus demonstrated that the three small dishes for $20 (only a buck cheaper than a la carte) would easily feed two normal people. Since the restaurant has 川 in it's name, I do want to try some of their Sichuan dishes--as proved on our previous visit, they certainly do have the peppercorns. Total tab $36. The drafty nature of that part of the food court does make it hard to keep warm and to keep the food from getting cold, but that's only a problem in winter. So far, the house special pork belly with potatoes and sticky rise is the standout here.

                    2. b
                      bear Jan 17, 2012 06:24 PM

                      Sob...they must be closed on Tuesdays. We "suffered" through Banh Mi, steam buns fromthe Dim Sum place, and a couple of Kantin dishes. Just thought I'd warn people not to go on Tuesdays.

                      Despite that, lots of tasty food throughout the court for the cost, and a huge bag of frozen Spaghetti Factory dumplings from the market to take home for future use.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bear
                        j
                        Jenny Ondioline Jan 17, 2012 08:05 PM

                        Yes, I noticed that this afternoon when I swung by Kantin to pick up some char siu to put in a fried rice: their hours sign says they're closed Tuesday.

                        1. re: bear
                          KWagle Jan 17, 2012 08:11 PM

                          Now I don't feel so bad about sleeping till 8 and getting to S88 by 10:30 when everything was closed. Recovering from Arisia, sleep is more important than food.

                        2. MC Slim JB Jan 17, 2012 07:50 AM

                          Maybe we're misreading the intention of the name: it's not a fractured version of "one of a kind", but denotes that they are one of "The Kind", some sort of Shandong cooking cabal. Or maybe they're just claiming to be nice people.

                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                            tatsu Jan 17, 2012 09:25 AM

                            The font for the signage is called "Hobo Standard". It is sort of drooping in certain places. It threw me off as much as the name itself to be honest.

                            1. re: MC Slim JB
                              KWagle Jan 20, 2012 05:55 PM

                              They ARE nice people! At least the short-haired and short guy who was helpful and spoke good English. And the food is worthy of the name, at least so far. We ordered three dishes. The first, which they call Chongqing chicken, is largely unlike the dish of the same name elsewhere. Instead of being boneless, battered and deep fried, this was bone in and stir fried. We ordered it 加麻 (jia ma) and it was right on target--almost, but not quite, too numbing for a hard-core 花椒 (hua jiao) lover and just the right amount of hot. Our second dish was the house special pork, which is the usual inverted bowl of steamed pork belly, slightly sweet, served over a completely unusual (one of the kind!) filling of soft potatoes and chewy sticky rice. Our third dish was meatballs in a hot pot, which was an excellent rendition of a common dish.

                              These three dishes (using a 15% off coupon from the menu) set us back $27.25 and took us almost an hour to finish. Easily one of the best bargains in the local Chinese scene, and the food is entirely first-rate. The only shortcoming is the service on styrofoam plates with no serving utensils. Bring your own.

                            2. Prav Jan 17, 2012 06:58 AM

                              Is the House Pork similar to red cooked/braised pork?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Prav
                                galangatron Jan 21, 2012 09:03 PM

                                red cooked pork is the dish underneath "house special pork." it's called something like "cherry flavored pork" on the menu

                              2. KWagle Jan 16, 2012 08:39 PM

                                I'm pretty excited about this, if the Wisteria connection is true. And I have to admit the name has a certain baroque charm.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: KWagle
                                  h
                                  hyde Jan 17, 2012 12:00 AM

                                  hey, if it aint baroque.....

                                  1. re: hyde
                                    Luther Jan 17, 2012 05:50 AM

                                    ...but in this case, it is.

                                  2. re: KWagle
                                    StriperGuy Jan 17, 2012 06:53 AM

                                    What is the Wisteria connection?

                                    1. re: StriperGuy
                                      j
                                      Jenny Ondioline Jan 17, 2012 12:36 PM

                                      The chef here is supposedly the original Wisteria chef: I don't know if that means Wisteria House on Newbury, the first iteration of the spinoff stall here, or what.

                                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                        StriperGuy Jan 17, 2012 01:05 PM

                                        Aaaaah I see said the blind man. thx

                                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                          h
                                          hckybg Feb 6, 2012 08:54 PM

                                          The good news is that the fridge was already stocked for the new place. They just had to plug everything back in!

                                    2. tatsu Jan 16, 2012 07:43 PM

                                      Tried the fish dumplings they were pretty good. This place has potential. The name does not however, it has to change!

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