Year of the Takeout Day 126: Hop Lee Kitchen


General Tso’s Chicken from Hop Lee Kitchen (992 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-389-4756)

The reviews of this place on Menupages piqued Year of the Takeout‘s curiosity. “Greasy walls kind of a turn off, but the prep area looks clean. Close your eyes and enjoy,” wrote one commenter. “Best General Tso’s north of Gpoint Ave” said another.

We don’t really have anything to say about the walls–it was a don’t-leave-home-and-get-food-delivered kinda day–but the chicken is a whole ‘nother story.

Although the number of General Tsos’ available north of Greenpoint Avenue isn’t immediately clear–and previous exploration on foot suggests there aren’t that many options–this $5.50 dish is pretty damned good.

At most restaurants, the texture of General Tso’s is an all-out shitshow: The bird either comes mealy and over-dry–or bland and moist.

However, Hop Lee’s cooks seem to have rubbed the raw meat with salt and pepper before battering and frying, which helped tenderize and season the meat.

This minor detail greatly enhances this pick–and makes it one of the better selections in the fried-chicken-in-sauce sub-genre of Cantonese-American cuisine.

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