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Tuesday September 30, 2014
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Bright spot

 

continued

Appetizers range from those broiled skewers of beef and chicken and other Asian street food to the chef's choice charcuterie platter. A scallop crepe containts goat cheese laced into a coconut bechamel sauce, which is creamy but ever-so-slightly grainy, like a rich aged cheese. Consider a few good-value appetizers (starting at $5) for the table to share. Cashew chicken with wonton timbales will get the conversation going, as you all guess how they get the tiny nut and poultry cubes to match in size and flavor. Piahjaw (pea patties) are deep-fried into green-tinted falafel-like spheres. If you order the steamed turkey dumplings (and you should!), a bamboo steamer arrives like an unexpected present. Your server sets it ceremoniously at the table center, takes off the lid with a flourish, and stands back as everyone oohs at the plump crescents nestled into a pale-green moonscape of steamed cabbage. With bursts of veggie crunch in every bite, they're flavorful even without the accompanying sauces.

A word about the sauces: it seems like most dishes come nestled in, glazed with, or accompanied by a white, orange, yellow, or dark brown sauce. This is not a bad thing, because most of the sauces are tasty and their ingredients sufficiently explained. One rich and briny soy reduction showed up on several plates; I thought it had a hint of fish, but our server insisted otherwise.

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