Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bits and Morsels toasts Chin Chin

Vegetable duck pie wrapped in a crepe at Chin Chin.

Last week, Chin Chin got my attention when I read in The Daily News that Larry King had dinner there with his heart surgeon, Dr. Wayne Isom. I figured if Larry King went to Chin Chin, it had to be good — and since he was accompanied by his doctor, then it might also be a relatively healthy choice. Chin Chin is located at 216 East 49th Street and has been open since 1987.

The atmosphere at Chin Chin maintains a calm, friendly, and established vibe. Although it definitely feels newer than its 20-plus years.The room is bright and lined with booths; tables fill the remainder of the space. I have been there twice in the past week and on both occasions conversations were sparked by neighboring tables. Chin Chin is conducive to large groups as well as dinner for two. The dinner crowd comprises a blend of post-work mid-towners and regulars all devoted to the restaurant; all ordering many dishes. On both occasions, the restaurant was surprisingly bopping for a midtown restaurant, especially for dinner.

Chin Chin, 216 East 49th Street.
Chin Chin is owned by brothers Jimmy and Wally Chin. They are two genuinely warm and gracious gentlemen who make anyone that sets foot in Chin Chin feel welcome. Chin Chin is a nostalgic breed of Chinese restaurant that serves up signature dishes like Peking duck, orange beef and Grand Marnier shrimp. It’s the kind of Chinese food that is familiar to New Yorkers.

Each table receives complimentary cauliflower and bean sprout salads, which is a nice touch. If you're a fan of dumplings, order them here: shrimp, chicken, pork, mixed vegetable or spinach dumplings, doesn't matter. You can mix and match, giving all dumplings a chance. The kitchen at Chin Chin has a refreshingly light touch that comes across in almost all of their dishes (no thick/heavy-handed dishes here). Even the vegetable fried rice was somehow free of grease with its crunchy array of vegetables. Try topping it with their warm, homemade crunchy noodles. Also, their version of vegetable duck pie, with its 'pie crust' made from fried sheets of tofu, was crisp and delicious. Chin Chin should be on everyone's midtown restaurant list.

Chin Chin
216 East 49th Street
Jimmy Chin and Wally Chin of Chin Chin.
Looking into the dining room at Chin Chin.
Homemade crunch noodles.
To start , everyone gets bean sprout and cauliflower salad.
Hot and sour soup.
Vegetable dumplings, vegetable duck pie, and vegetable fried rice before it was plated up.
Vegetable dumplings.
Vegetable fried rice.
Dry sauteed string beans.
Vegetable duck pie.
Pork chops, clams in a back bean sauce, and Singapore noodles.
Buddha's delight.
Peking duck.
Almond cookies.
President Obama was recently in Savannah and lunched at The Wilkes House. Funny that he decided to go there just a few days after he was told to watch his cholesterol. That being said, I have been to The Wilkes’ House and it is one of the better dining experiences in the world. If there is one place to delay your diet, The Wilkes House is the place. [Politico]
Obama makes a comment to reporters about his cholesterol level as he passes a plate with customers at Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room, in Savannah, Ga. AP. From my visit to The Wilkes House in
August 2009.
In the kitchen with a simmering pot of
sweet potatoes.
Fried chicken.
Cucumber salad. Black eyed peas.
A plate of Southern goodness: lima beans, mashed potatoes, cabbage, macaroni and cheese, green beans, black eyed peas, and collard greens.
Even though we are not in L.A., there is still a lot of fun to be had with the Oscars. There are plenty of parties at restaurants all over New York and I guarantee most of them will have plenty of Avatar-blue cocktails available. [Zagat]

There is a Girl Scout Cookie recall — specifically, the lemon chalete crèmes. They are considered safe to eat but have been reported to have an off taste and odor. Ugh. Is it me or is there a different food recall every day? [Huffington Post]

It’s hard to believe but many bistros in France are not doing well. But, they are having issues adapting to the times. Bistro owners are griping that the smoking ban has hurt business. While I don’t doubt that, I am sure that if they made certain adjustments, they would make up for the lost business. Maybe they should try serving Diet Coke and installing televisions for sports fans. [Guardian]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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