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[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

You may know this place as "The Chatham Square restaurant next to the more famous Chatham Square." And I'll admit that were 6 Chatham Square not closed for renovations, I never would have stepped into Hop Shing next door. The place looks like its last redesign was in the 70's and they stopped halfway, but it's a charming (in its own way) little spot with some surprising bites if you're lucky.

I say lucky because this was mistakenly brought to me after I ordered the lamb chops. Lamb chops these aren't, but I'd gladly order the Tofu with Dry Fresh Garlic ($9.95) again (and share it with three people because it's freaking huge). It's a mountain of fried tofu cubes enriched by a deeply savory curry-like sauce. Sure, that sauce takes away much of the crisp skin of these nuggets, but it doesn't turn them into mush either. Garlic is present here in spirit, but the real flavor boost comes from a generous shaving of salted egg yolk on top, which adds a sweet richness to this surprisingly charming dish. It's a tofu dish unlike any I've ever had, as satisfying as it is unexpected.

Hop Shing

9 Chatham Square, New York, NY 10038 (map)
212-267-0220 ‎
hopshingnyc.com

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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