Scallion Pancakes with a Point of View at Legend, Chelsea
When we talk about Legend in Chelsea, it's as a citywide Sichuan destination. But from my visits over the past couple years, the neighbors don't always treat it that way. For many, it's just their nearby Chinese takeout spot.
Those neighbors are on to something where these Scallion Pancakes ($5.50) are concerned. They're some of the best I've had of late, though they come with an opinion about what scallion pancakes should be.
Namely: fried. Rather fried. Fried such that oil makes its way through the pancake's many laminated layers and crisps them all for a shatter-crisp texture like the best pastry. So yes, fried, and a little oily as a result, but less than you'd think, nothing that would leave a grease slick on the plate.
The pancakes solve one of the more frustrating scallion pancake problems: the doughy taste that comes from undercooking. While these develop the flavor of the oil they're cooked in, they banish any sense of doughiness, and also give the scallion flavor within a chance to bloom.
They may not be for everyone, but they're for me.