Mushroom Egg Foo Young and Roast Pork With Pepper and Tomato from New Kam Lai (708 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-749-8990)
Eating Americanized Chinese food every day can start to feel a lot like “Love Will Tear Us Apart” — routine bites hard, and ambitions run low.
This seems especially true when the work requires that you mainly sample the most mundane staples.
Even when you come across something tasty, which, luckily, Year of the Takeout has been able to do several times, the potential for surprise — and true enjoyment — remain minimal.
You almost want to say “to hell with this” and abandon the project altogether — but then you come across a dish that’s so unexpectedly perfect, you realize all over again that there are still undiscovered treasures hidden throughout the scene.
New Kam Lai’s mushroom egg foo young fits this description exactly. Though most versions of this recipe usually get — and deserve — little praise, the omelet at this eatery had the magical mouthfeel of the latkes of my youth, with crisp, eggy edges and a marvelously gummy, vegetal greasiness (fresh ‘shrooms, bean sprouts, and bok choy absolutely abounded).
And the gravy — holy shit, the gravy!!! — featured a thick, beefy savoriness but a sort of drinkability nonetheless. The $4.35 main makes for a superlative cold-weather comfort food.
The $4.85 roast pork with tomatoes and peppers is also highly recommended. The meat skillfully balances moisture with a smoky semi-sweetness.