Brooklyn Wok Shop
182 N 10th St, Williamsburg
3 put of 5 L's
Photos: Cody Swanson
Full disclosure: my taste for Chinese food was developed over wall-to-wall floral carpeting, under chandeliers hanging from reflective ceilings, and beside large, recessed, octagonal mirrors, meant to distract patrons from the lack of windows. The classiest Chinese restaurants of my youth were either located on the basement level or, better yet, tucked between the Modell’s and the LensCrafters. My Italian family celebrated bridal showers and graduations at these fine dining establishments, clinking tiny teacups over sesame chicken, happily dipping steamed broccoli in its cloyingly sweet sauce. At Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Wok Shop, the look is a lot more chic—with rows of blue and white bowls neatly lined up along one dark wall and modern white subway tiles lining another—but the good old Chinese-American flavors are all there.
Chef Edric Har, who co-owns the place with his wife, Melissa, cut his teeth at Le Bernardin, Veritas and Cru, and he prepares take-out standards with French techniques. As a result, his roast pork ($11.50) is like buttah. The melt-in-your-mouth meat is soaked in a soy and honey glaze, for a familiar flavor that surpasses mall food memories. The generous serving comes with crisp-tender bok choy and a boatload of white or brown rice. For an extra buck, they’ll throw a fried egg on top (which we’d recommend, as our white rice was on the dry side). The signature roast pork or roast chicken is also served in a soft and puffy steamed bun as a starter ($4.50). Big pieces of General Tso’s chicken ($11.50), dredged in a thick, crunchy batter and served in sweet, tangy sauce, promise a little nostalgia in every bite, but instead of big bunches of steamed broccoli, this dish is accompanied by delicately flavorful roasted florets. Basic pork and shrimp shumai are perked up by a super spicy dipping sauce ($6.50), and the fresh and chewy sesame noodles ($5) are made in-house. The sweetest surprise was the dessert special: a light and creamy banana pudding, layered with Nilla wafers and topped with crisp toasted coconut.
Brooklyn Wok Shop scores extra yuppie points for marking the vegetarian and gluten-free items on the menu and for using only hormone-free and antibiotic-free beef, chicken and pork. Their liquor-free cocktails include an oddly refreshing Sriracha-lada ($7), a beer, lime and tomato juice concoction packing some serious Sriracha heat. The beer selection is small but smart, include the hoppy and citrusy Brooklyn Sorachi Ace ($6). The only things missing are the little pots of black tea and tiny cups, perfect for toasting to the old days.
Brooklyn Wok Shop