Wednesday, September 26, 2012

China Dynasty Dominates Down South


After prepping some Indian grub for a dinner in HTX later this week, we needed grub ourownselves. China Dynasty is just around the corner from Art’s, so we blasted over for a food fix. For South Austin Chinese fare, CD is hard to beat. They realize the value of rich stocks, where many Chinese restaurants these days try to mimic the hours-long feat of reducing bones to make stocks by trying to use soy sauce; it’s an abomination, and you can taste it with the first bite when they deceive the diner.




Hot and Sour, with chile oil pools





Won Ton soup

The hot and sour soup at CD is based on a rich, complex pork stock, and (this is a real shocker), it actually has shreds of tender pork meat inside. Most places these days omit the pork to save money. It’s loaded with tofu, bamboo shoots, and all sorts of tidbits that should be in there. There is a perfect balance of sourness, and enough heat for most folks (I amp it up with their excellent chile oil). It’s thickened perfectly, and not overly gloppy like it so often is. Art’s a sucker for their won ton, which is based on a rich, aromatic chicken stock, with think-skinned hand-folded won tons packed with tasty pork. The eggrolls are always crispy and hot; usually too hot to eat without a cooling period. Lots of places these days make them en masse and store them in a steam table.





Eggroll, adorned with duck sauce, hot mustard, and chile oil

Their potstickers are superb, made from thin, handmade dough wrappers, and plumply stuffed with tasty minced seasoned pork. They get a nice browning on the bottom, and the tops are perfectly steamed. The dipping sauce is an ideal balance of salty, sour, and sweet, and loaded with ginger, garlic, and minced scallion. Delicious.




Potstickers with dipping sauce 

   
We were hankering for the chicken with black bean sauce, and one minor downfall is that they don’t keep fresh green chiles on hand; you have to bring your own. We did, and the resulting dish was fantastic: rich and balanced, with tender juicy chicken, and just the right spice level once the jalapeños are thrown in. We also went for the pan fried noodles “Dynasty”, meaning a mixed meat mélange of pork, beef, chicken, and shrimp with the full gamut of vegetables added, all bathed in a rich brown sauce. We asked for “spicy” and “extra garlic” and the top (as you can see from the picture) was covered with bit of golden brown garlic, which perfumed the air of the dining room, and made us very happy.




Chicken with Black Bean Sauce




Pan Fried Noodles with Mixed Meats "Dynasty" with extra garlic!
 

Service is outstanding; our regular server always knows exactly what we like and adds just the proper amount of conversation with her excellent and unobtrusive delivery of the goods. A great meal in the hood, and just what the doctor ordered after an early evening of Indian cooking (see below).




....chunks of lamb marinating for Boti Kebab




...masala-spiced chana daal (or China dolls, as we call them, after the David Bowie song)




....curry-spiced tamarind aioli




...the beginnings of mustard-flecked tomato chutney
 

Mick Vann © 

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