Lunch for One: Chinatown Brasserie's Delivery Lunch Special

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[Photo: Kathy YL Chan]

Chinatown Brasserie isn't exactly known for being a bargain. That is, unless you get delivery. From noon until 4:00pm, Monday through Friday, the restaurant offers a $11.95 special which includes potstickers, vegetable fried rice, and a rotation of steamed greens. Pick from eight entrees, all of which come with an extra side of white rice. The options are varied, ranging from shrimp and mango with snow peas and radish to pao-pao beef with garlic, and include a vegetarian option of sauteed baby bamboo shoots with baby bok choy.

However, I'm currently a fan of the Crispy Orange Beef, topped with thin ribbons of orange zest. Where other restaurants rarely get the "crispy" element of this dish right, Chinatown Brasserie nails it, with a defined, though light crunch encasing the tender beef. Onion and Sichuan peppers make an appearance, as does a splash of Grand Marnier, creating a vibrant sauce miles away from the syrupy sweet substance that dominates the menu of many Chinese restaurants. The beef and side of white rice make for a filling meal; you could easily save the vegetable fried rice and a few dumplings for afternoon nibbles. They're strict on the $20 delivery minimum, so add a soda and order of their deservedly popular Hot and Sour Soup. Never has the notion of leftovers for lunch tomorrow put such a big smile on my face.

Chinatown Brasserie

380 Lafayette Street, New York NY 10012 (map) 212-533-7000
chinatownbrasserie.com