Archive for August 14th, 2008

New Lai Wah impressions

Besides dim sum, which I’ve eaten a truckload of and which has a fairly finite number of types of offerings, I’m really intimidated to tackle the subject of Chinese food. Not only is it mind-bogglingly complex and diverse, but in America it typically has the largest disparity between what the Chinese people and the non-Chinese are ordering. I’ve been mulling over a possible article for quite awhile, so I’ll just write some impressions here and continue to educate myself.

Last night I had dinner for a friend’s birthday at New Lai Wah (full disclosure, MM wine writer Michele Hebert was also in attendance and brought a nice New Zealand riesling). We began with a cold steamed chicken dish. The chicken was velvety and was seasoned with mild red chili oil, cilantro, strong, hot chunks of raw garlic, and roasted peanuts. Next, we ordered two pounds of geoduck from the tank at 16 bucks a pound. The server quizzed us on our desired preparation and we thought she was saying “sesame”, which we agreed to. Turns out, to our delight, that she was saying “sashimi”. The thin, pale clam slices were served on a bed of ice with lemon and jalapeno garnish, with accompanying bowls of wasabi. It was delicious; cold and tender and tasted like oysters without the guts. The sizeable “head” of the geoduck was made into a tasty soup that had a chicken-based broth, chunks of the savory meat, soft tofu and bok choy. For our main course we had sauteed ton choy (someone remind me of the English name?) with garlic and lobster clay pot with glass noodles. The whole elegant and technically complex feast came to 100 bucks including corkage and was plenty to feed 5.