Roasted Delights, Chinese Barbecue At Its Best [Update: no longer open]
"Pork chops, I'll miss you the most."
5 Catherine Street, New York, NY 10038 (b/n Bowery and East Broadway; map); 212-966-6558
Service: Friendly and accommodating
Setting: Pristine storefront with a few tables in the back
Compare It To: Big Wong
Must-Haves: Roast pig, roast duck, roast pork, bacon and egg fried rice
Cost: $10 a person plus tax and tip for a ridiculous amount of food
[UPDATE: As of 6/4/2009, we learned that this establishment is no longer open.]
The serious eaters who read Nina Lalli's mouthwatering Chinese turkey post got just a glimpse of what awaits them at the wondrous and aptly named Roasted Delights. Roasted Delights has Chinese barbecue and much more, as I found out when I tried and failed to get a turkey without ordering it in advance six days before Thanksgiving. Roasted Delight's ridiculously friendly and engaging owner, Candy Huang, took my deposit for the bird we all ate with Lalli. She then implored me to try the roasted delights hanging in the window instead.
"You'll love them, Eddie [Candy had asked for my name for the receipt]. I promise."
She was right, of course. Between the turkey, the other roasted delights, and the dishes we ordered to accompany the turkey, I came to the inescapable conclusion that Roasted Delights is in fact one of Chinatown's great undiscovered eating spots.
Candy (whose grandfather founded the business 25 years ago) and her chef turn out to be pork grandmasters. Slices from the whole roasted suckling pig hanging in the window range from damn good (when it's been out of the oven awhile) to sublime (if you happen to be lucky enough to be there when the magnificent pig first makes an appearance in the shop).
Slices of roast pork ($6.50) with the familiar-tasting sweet glaze are incredibly juicy and just fatty enough.
Barbecued spare ribs ($7.50) are a full St. Louis cut, so fatophobes beware. If you are a baby back rib lover, these may not be for you.
Bacon and egg fried rice (how delicious does that sound?) ($7.95) was fluffy, properly pale, and most definitely brunchworthy.
Lotus root with vegetables ($8.95) was alternately tender and crunchy and was studded with delicious Chinese sausage.
To complete our pre-Thankgiving feast we ordered spare ribs (Candy called them pork chops) with Peking sauce ($8.25). Sticky, sweet, crunchy, porky, and oh yes, so seriously delicious. SE:NY's Zach Brooks had this to say when he left our little gathering early: "Pork chops, I'll miss you the most." Thank you Zach "Homer Simpson" Brooks.
If there are any non-pork lovers out there reading this, you should order roast duck ($7.50 for a half, $15 for a whole). Each duck has beautifully lacquered crisp skin with just a thin layer of nonrendered fat between the skin and the meat.
So when you're looking for your Chinese roast meat fix, look no further than Roasted Delights. Perhaps a post-Thanksgiving excursion to Roasted Delights is in order. Ask for Candy. Tell her Eddie sent you.