Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Chinatown Project - Day 2 - H.K. Wonton Garden

Day 2 of Grand Jury Duty was one of those gross, wet days that have the subway stations flooded and the subways crowded with people. It reminded me why I am thankful that I do not have a daily commute anymore. When lunchtime rolled around I knew I wanted a restaurant that was close by and had something that would be perfect for a nasty day. I settled on H.K. Wonton Garden.

H.K. Wonton Garden is a small, clean restaurant on Mullberry Street. Do not confuse it with New Wonton Garden on Mott Street. H.K. Wonton Garden is known for their noodles and, of course, wontons. It is also know for the curious but festive attire of their waiters, Hawaiian shirts.

When I walked into H.K. Wonton Garden I was greeted with a comforting sight, two tables full of officers from the N.Y.P.D. Yes, it was comforting to know that they were there to protect me. But the real reason it was a welcome sight is that a restaurant full of cops means you have come the right place. Cops know their beats, and they know they best places to eat. H.K. Wonton Garden is proof of this theory.

I menued up and my first call was Steamed Cantonese Roast Pork Buns.

The keys to great pork buns are two-fold. The first is the bun. It should be light and fluffy, not dense and chewy. The second is the roast pork filling. It should be rich, meaty and plentiful. H.K.'s hits both marks. Damn fine pork buns.

Next up Pork & Chive Dumplings.

Great noodle wrapper. Nice filling. Solid dumplings.

Finally, Tender Beef Stew with Noodles and Wontons

Rich beef broth. Chunks of beef falling apart under your fork. Fresh thin noodles and house made wontons. The best of all worlds. This is a destination dish and perfect rainy day food. Brawnier than Pho, less refined than ramen, this is a stew worth leaving the house for. So get out of those pajamas, put on some boots and go get some.

Day two was a home run. Warm, full and refueled, I officially added H.K. Wonton Garden to my Chinatown go-to list. Definitely add it to yours. I will be back to try the vast array of other noodle dishes and soups.

H.K. Wonton Garden - 79 Mulberry Street, Between Bayard & Canal

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