Saturday, April 16, 2011

Have an Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone

Chinatown Brasserie – Eggrolls
Chinatown Brasserie

Chinatown Brasserie does a few of things right.

First of all, they are not in Chinatown, which is a welcome surprise for those of us who are not the most patient of street walkers.

Second of all, they have a bar -- not necessarily a given with Chinese restaurants.

And third of all, they have bar snacks on their bar.  Automatically.  Not time sensitive 4:45pm-only snacks.  Not snacks that you have to be French and know to ask for.  They have pre-distributed bar snacks resting in big bowls along the length of the bar.

The problem with said bar snacks is that they are very spicy.
Lethal Bar Snacks
Now, one might say that we have very delicate palates (Vodka Stinger once almost died by a proliferation of red pepper flakes in one of Bethenny’s Skinnygirl recipes), so maybe to people with normal spice tolerance, these air-puffed chips would not be lethal.  But they left us scrambling to demand water and wine.  Immediately.

Nevertheless, we are not here for the bar snacks; we are here because Claire Robinson said that Chinatown Brasserie’s eggrolls are the best CRUNCHY food she has ever eaten.  Vodka Stinger, having just returned from a whirlwind trip around the world of Epcot, has been temporarily turned off by eggrolls due to the chicken that Epcot China chooses to stick in theirs (which is just wrong).  So there is mild skepticism as we wait for Chinatown Brasserie’s crunchers to arrive.

When they do, they are perfectly proportioned for our tour: two eggrolls, each sliced diagonally down the middle.  They have a thick skin as all of the best eggrolls do (none of that flimsy spring roll wrapping), and there is no sign of chicken lurking inside.
Crunch Time
They are also scalding hot.  Not spicy hot like the bar snacks – temperature hot.  Let’s be real for a second: this temperature issue in restaurants has gotten a bit out of control as of late, has it not?  Why is everything heated within an inch of its life?  Anyway, in order to preserve both our fingertips and the roofs of our mouths, we have to wait for these crunchy rolls to cool off for what seems like an eternity.

Finally biting into it, they do indeed crunch.  They crunch much more than one would expect from an eggroll.  They are jam-packed with shrimp and veggies that tumble from the casing onto our plates, laps, and chins.  They’re pretty good.
Thankfully No Chicken
But all in all, they’re still just eggrolls.  And as we learned from our days in chains like Ollie’s, more often than not, just about any eggroll will do.  So if you’re in the neighborhood of Chinatown Brasserie, go grab an eggroll.  But if you’re not, have an eggroll where you can get it.  No big deal.

And while you’re at it, have a napkin, have a chopstick, have a chair (Bernadette Peters Gypsy reference courtesy of the still-grieving Vodka Stinger).

Chinatown Brasserie’s Eggrolls: 3 stars

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