Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Excellent Pork Chop House

I'm always wary about restaurants that provide a self-critique in their names, so I tried the Excellent Pork Chop House (5 Doyers St.) with some trepidation. Upon entering the restaurant, you will find a dining room just a bit better than Spartan, though not much better. The dining room had approximately 8 tables and were not set uncomfortably close together. The one notable decoration in the dining room was a shelf full of dolls. As I recall, they weren't Asian-themed nor pork chop related, so it still baffles me.

I was told that this place makes a decent fried chicken leg and fried pork chop, so I decided to give it a try. I was in a party of three and we all ordered noodle soups, in addition to one pork chop and one chicken leg on the side. We decided to try the sides of the chicken and pork chop first. The fried chicken leg was nice and juicy and as I can fathom, was fried. It was skinless and fried to a barely crispy texture without breading. As I bit into the leg, the aromatics hit me and I knew that this place uses five spice powder as their secret ingredient. Overall, the leg was pleasant, salted just right and moist. As for the fried pork chop, I had high expectations because of the restaurant's moniker. I was not disappointed. The pork chop was a bone-in pork chop which usually retains plenty of moisture and richness. I noticed that there was barely a crispy texture again as with the fried chicken leg. I examined what I was eating and found from the way the meat was done, that the meat was probably boiled, then quickly deep-fried. This was very unique to me, so if you come here, don't expect your pork chop to have a deep brown crispiness. Because of their cooking technique, this was a unique experience and it didn't compromise on the flavor at all. I could also detect a hint of the five spice powder on the pork chop.

Now for the noodle soups... I ordered the wonton soup and my friends ordered chicken leg noodle soup and shrimp noodle soup. The soup noodles were thin and white, not vermicelli-like and had a nice rubbery bounce to them in the mouth. They tasted like they were freshly made. As for the toppings, since this noodle shop is not Southern Chinese, but northern, there was a healthy dollop of preserved vegetables in the bowl and other types of crispy vegetables. The stock was fine and tasted pork-based.

All in all, my experience wasn't bad at all. The service was attentive and fast. The food was pretty good, I guess a 7 out of 10. As for the cheapness factor, I would give this place a B+. The pork chops and chicken legs were $2.50 each and the noodle soup bowls were about $5.25. My only complaint is that the pork chop were not thick and the chicken legs were medium-sized. $2.50 is a bit steep when compared to what you could get at Asian food courts. If you could make it out to Manhattan's Chinatown, definitely give this place a try. I think you'll like it!

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