Spicy Cold Eggplant Salad from M Shanghai Bistro & Garden (292 Grand Street, 718-384-9300)
Eggplant is one of Year of the Takeout‘s favorite vegetables both because of its versatility and horror-movie-special-effect-like texture.
(To preemptively address looming linguistic trolls: yes, YotT knows that scientifically, eggplant is a fruit. Like tomatoes, however, it’s commonly considered a “vegetable” in culinary contexts when used in savory cooking.)
Anyway, this generous, $6 portion comes splashed with a light, garlicky, soy dressing. Although chilled, the pick has just enough peppery heat to keep it from tasting cold. This restaurateur’s stuff (including most of the offerings at M Noodle Shop, a Shanghai offshoot), generally seems pretty solid.