Year of the Takeout Day 54: Brooklyn Wok Shop
Chicken Bun from Brooklyn Wok Shop (182 North 10th Street, Williamsburg, 347-889-7992)
A premise of this restaurant seems to be rooted in the notion that Cantonese takeout sans Western refinement is of inferior quality.
As per the website:
Familiar but upgraded; we like to call it Chinese food 2.0. This is Chinese food touched with an artisan hand. From the cuts of meat, the selection of vegetables and seasonings to the thoughtful technique and ingredient-driven preparation, each dish is casual and reminiscent, of course, to time-honored take-out. Brooklyn Wok Shop's menu is Cantonese in heritage, but handcrafted using classically French techniques.
So, if you were to take Brooklyn Wok Shop's words as truth, you might be led to believe that Chinese food 1.0 -- that's to say, traditional "time-honored" Cantonese -- is not touched with an artisan hand or ingredient-driven (untrue). With the advent of French cookery, however, Chinese food somehow evolves to a new realm of quality that it couldn't on its own! (Complete crap. Compare with Mexican food: Your humble Jackson Heights venue will serve up way better cuisine than your ritzy Rosa Mexicanos on any day of the week.)
Anyway, Year of the Takeout disagrees with these sentiments, obvs. Chinese food, including even fast Cantonese served in the lowliest of Styrofoam canisters, is generally excellent as is -- and the whole idea of measuring a cuisine's quality or worthiness in relation to French practices is a load of BS. The West is not necessarily the best -- and this is no exception in the food world.
Anyway, if you can ignore this crapola, these $4 chicken buns are excellent. Fatty slices of bourbony, sweet bird are plentiful, and come accented with carmelized onions.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to New York dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.