Posts Tagged With: Chaan Teng

What’s Cooking in Hell

IMG_5546Corner Slice, the Ivan Ramen backed, much anticipated pizza quicky in Gotham West Market taking over the Blue Bottle Coffee space finally opened.  The thin square pizza slices are cooked in fancy electric ovens, as I imagine the only allowable method in the building. Dough ferments for a long time, and just about every ingredient made in house.  My first slice was a simple mozzarella, tomato, basil.  Slightly on the greasy side, but nice and pungent tomato sauce.  But the other day my Sopressata was a little overcooked and overpriced.  They have their reasons I’m sure but one measly Soppressata slice the size of pepperoni doesnt warrant $4.  Another nice addition to GWM, though I would have loved to see something a little more interesting

Ippudo added more deliciousness to the menu.  This time vegetarian Sesame based Ramen that even non vegetarians like yours truly can appreciate.  The Karaka Spicy New York I tried is simply outstanding.  Rich, wonderfully complex broth, without the heaviness that follows sometimes from Tonkotsu. Its been a weird Ramen season for me as I’ve been frequenting the heavyweights (Ivan, Totto, Ippudo) instead of the small guys like Mentoku which I really like.  And I find myself more and more slurping non-pork based ramen like vegetarian and chicken.  Whats happening to me!IMG_5576

Chaan Teng is being added to the Survival Guide, even though not everything I tried there was a slam dunk.  Even for family dining, sharing dishes like their take on General Tso’s Chicken, far more interesting than something like Carmines.  Just try to avoid all the figurines in the back wall and by the bathroom, unless you think its time to have that talk with your son.

Removing Poulette from the guide.  Last experience was way too Boston Markety for me.  Where did all the Herbes de Provence and juiciness go?

Nano Ecuadorian still great

Puff Cha Ramen still sucks!

The other day on the Hell’s Kitchen Tour we bumped into Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cake at Gotham West Market.  I briefly spoke to Luke (I just called him Luke, no idea what his real name is.  Its like calling Tom Cruise, Ethan) who told me they were shooting The Defenders starring all three superheroes.  I imagine The Defenders will defend the Kitchen from all evil, like Ezra, the Azuri Cafe Falafel Nazi.  I welcome this development

Last week the tour bumped into Ivan Ramen as I mentioned on another post.  I met him before many times but always fun when we cross paths during the tour.  This time while my guests, a family from Toronto were enjoying his Pastrami buns.  Check him out in the current season of Chef’s Table.  On the same day we bumped into a crew from Univision doing a special on Tehuitzingo coming sometime in April.  I will post a link when I find out

Stay hungry my Amigos!IMG_5578

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Date Night:  5 Unconventional Pre-theater Picks

danji-big-korean-breakfastLove is in the air on EWZ, and inside the latest KTCHLST, the mini zine inside the big zine (you see what I did there, Hebrew speakers?).  The big zine is W42st, Hells Kitchen’s own magazine.  And if you cant find it, you are either not looking hard enough or not deep enough (Like I said, love is in the air).  This month on KTCHLST, I list 5 Unconventional pre-theater Picks.  Well, just about all my HK picks are pretty unconventional, but these 5 have a certain Je ne sais quoi.  Ok, one of them has dildos on display, so I can explain that one.  Description are kept short in order to fit inside mini zine

Chaan Teng – Nothing quite like this 9th Ave newcomer offering American Chinese with a twist. If the General Tso and dumplings won’t get you in the mood, the elevated Kama Sutra decor will.

Danji – Semi celebrity chef Hooni Kim dishing out all sorts of Korean awesomeness in this quirky hole. Try the Tofu, wings and the rest, quickly before we have drop the “Semi” part.

Taboon – Ever since the old chef came back, Taboon has been hot hot hot, just like its legendary Taboon (oven). Rumor has it, the Silan dessert can fight impotence.

Mentoku Ramen – A sexier, quiet alternative to the craziness of the more popular area Ramen. Enjoy the fried chicken and Yuzu Ramen with the soothing jazz in the background

Mercato – A solid Italian on the “wrong” side of 42nd with an all Italian staff (extra brownie points). Chef Manu introduces Sardinian, Sicilian and other southern specialties unique to Hell’s Kitchen

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Chaan Teng – Batteries Not Included

chaan-teng-general-tso-chickenIts the most eye candy Hell’s Kitchen has seen since the Jimmy Coonan days, and the glory days of 42nd street.  Thanks Obama!  A decor like no other in the area, and a daring menu that takes Chinese American cuisine into Mission Chinese territory.  Its rare for something like this to open in this neighborhood, which is why I’m so drawn and keep coming back.  And after 5 visits, you would think I would get a good handle on things, but nope.  This kind of menu requires bigger group meals in order to properly gauge this one, but at least I get the idea.

The title of course refers to the Kama Sutra nature of the decor.  Its like Kill Bill movie set meets sex museum smack in the middle of 9th avenue.  Funky wall paper, various figurines, penises, Buddhist collectibles, and figurines doing their best dirty salt and pepper shakers impersonations, covering the walls and bathroom hall area.  While I certainly have no issue with any of this, considering the proximity to Times Square I can see how some traditionalists may not want to expose their little traditionalists children to this.  The wait staff I’m told, is trained to explain, and already done so on occasion, which leaves no room for disgruntled employees.  “My son is asking questions about the green figures on the wall”.  “Its a Dildo mam!”

That kind of family bonding is carried onto the menu as well, with pretty much everything meant for sharing.  While we tend to share everything everywhere anyway, at Chaan Teng the dish sizes make it more welcoming to do so.  Take their take on the NYC born classic General Tso’s Chicken ($19) which is a hefty plate of half a bird fried and smothered with a sweet and sour, and spicy sauce while retaining proper juiciness throughout.  This is not your corner Chinese General Tso’s.  I’ve had it by myself and shared with friends on another visit, and while solo I was wishing for more veggies to accompany the bird.

On other visits, the focus was on the promising smaller plates which were almost entree size.  Some, like the excellent Chicken Skin Dumplings ($12) were nothing like I’ve had before.  Chinese Lapchiong (sweet sausage) with rice, peas, dried shrimp wrapped in chicken skin instead of dough.  Essentially Arancini on crack, although midway I was wishing for a crispier exterior, and the chicken skin guilt started to take over.  The bed of cabbage with crispy shallots and soy was delicious in itself.

Other small plate highlights were the Chaanteng  Chicken Dumplings with soy, ginger scallion sauce ($7), and their take on another Chinese American classic, Walnut Shrimp ($12).  Five healthy shrimp are served with Bib lettuce with sweet mayo where you essentially use the lettuce to make shrimp tacos.  And I still havent tried but curious about the Crab Rangoon, 1000 year old egg on Tofu, and something called Strange Flavor Eggplant which I guess no one is allowed to criticize.

Chaan Teng opened by a team that includes Pichet Ong of Spice Market fame.  And as is it case with 95% of Hell’s Kitchen newbs there’s almost zero social media buzz other than some Instagrammers like myself posting selfies with the General Tso’s, which is being groomed as the signature dish.  Besides, now that both my mom and mother in-law are on Facebook, its pretty much the end of Social Media as we know it.  The other day, my mom asked me to assist her with deleting a 2 minute video she took of her forehead.

Chaan Teng
698 9th Ave (Corner of 48th), Hell’s Kitchen
Rating: Two Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: General Tso’s Chicken, Chicken Skin Dumplings, Chaanteng Chicken Dumplings, Walnut Shrimpchaan-teng-skin-dumplingschaan-teng-bar

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