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China Wok (New China Station is Back)

China Wok (New China Station is Back)
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  • China Wok (New China Station is Back)

    Post #1 - April 18th, 2024, 6:58 am
    Post #1 - April 18th, 2024, 6:58 am Post #1 - April 18th, 2024, 6:58 am
    New China Station didn't get enough widespread love on this board to be considered a board favorite, but it was definitely beloved by several people here and elsewhere. I'm pleased to report (hat tip to Da Beef) that the couple who owned NCS are back with China Wok, which opened in Lincoln Park in December. I never made it to NCS but my dining companion assured me the flavors were identical. Based on my first and definitely not last visit, I fully get the NCS love.

    I'll get nit picky in describing the dishes, but I don't want this to be lost - this was a great meal. I announced I was full and continued to eat about as much as I ate before making the announcement. I couldn't stop myself.

    ImageSpicy String Bean w Black Bean Sauce 豆豉四季豆
    I don't know or want to know how much oil was used in frying up these outstanding beans because I want to order them again. And again.

    ImageSignature Dry Chili Chicken Wing 鸡中翅
    Excellent flavor on these. Cooked arguably a minute too long so they were a touch on the chewy side. Just a touch. Still great. I would have liked a little more heat. Wanting more heat was actually a theme of the meal. I got nice heat but zero Szechuan tingle. Maybe they tone it down for the Lincoln Park crowd as a default. I'll emphasize spicy on my next visit, but if this is how they do it, I'd still be happy.

    ImageCumin Lamb 孜然羊肉
    Another smash hit in terms of flavor. Some of the pieces of lamb were perfect and some were a little on the chewy side.

    ImageSignature Dry Chili Fish Fillet 香辣鱼片
    I'm certain I heard more about this dish more than any other from NCS fans and I get it. Just great.

    ImageEggplant in Szechuan Garlic Sauce 鱼香茄子
    The surprise best dish of the night. The menu it's just eggplant with onion and a spicy Szechuan garlic sauce. The menu does not warn you that the sauce is magical.

    China Wok
    2485 N Clark Street
    (773) 360-1864
    Closed Tuesdays
  • Post #2 - April 18th, 2024, 3:47 pm
    Post #2 - April 18th, 2024, 3:47 pm Post #2 - April 18th, 2024, 3:47 pm
    MarlaCollins'Husband wrote:New China Station didn't get enough widespread love on this board to be considered a board favorite, but it was definitely beloved by several people here and elsewhere. I'm pleased to report (hat tip to Da Beef) that the couple who owned NCS are back with China Wok, which opened in Lincoln Park in December. I never made it to NCS but my dining companion assured me the flavors were identical. Based on my first and definitely not last visit, I fully get the NCS love.

    You beat me to it. And damn, that was a great meal! So glad we decided to venture that far east on a speculative venture. It definitely paid off. I think the short interval between the meal and your post accurately reflects our shared enthusiasm.

    Open since December 2023, I first heard about China Wok from my son, who spends some time in that part of the city. And yes, the NCS closure was a big blow. I thought the flavors at China Wok were a spot-on match for NCS. I was immediately flooded with delightful memories of meals -- both eat-in and carry-out -- of NCS. In my estimation, where it differed was in the texture department. Most notably, the wings and the fish, both of which seemed a bit tougher and chewier than their NCS counterparts. But on the other side of that same coin, the eggplant dish was sublime perfection, perhaps the best rendition of that dish that I've ever had. In any case, here's what it looked like from the other side of the table . . .

    Image
    China Wok - 2485 N Clark St, Chicago

    Image
    Spicy String Bean w Black Bean Sauce 豆豉四季豆
    I always love this prep.

    Image
    Signature Dry Chili Chicken Wing 鸡中翅
    Great flavor and an ample portion but a bit tough texturally.

    Image
    Cumin Lamb 孜然羊肉
    To quote David Byrne, the intermittent toughness here was "same as it ever was." This was a great rendition.

    Image
    Signature Dry Chili Fish Fillet 香辣鱼片
    Intensely flavorful with a perfect amount of heat, the exterior here was crispy but perhaps a bit thick, which led to a little chewiness. Not unpleasant but not an exact match for what I remember at NCS.

    Image
    Eggplant in Szechuan Garlic Sauce 鱼香茄子
    Can't say enough about this one. The balance of funkiness, sweetness, umami and heat was perfectly struck here. Between the still-purple exterior color and the ultra creamy interior, it was clear that this was expertly prepared.

    Not a part of the city I frequent but with the fading Szechuan offerings in Chinatown, I can see making China Wok a regular destination. Just a great addition to the overall scene.

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #3 - April 20th, 2024, 9:15 pm
    Post #3 - April 20th, 2024, 9:15 pm Post #3 - April 20th, 2024, 9:15 pm
    Thanks for the heads up. Will be there in the next 48 hrs.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #4 - April 21st, 2024, 4:21 pm
    Post #4 - April 21st, 2024, 4:21 pm Post #4 - April 21st, 2024, 4:21 pm
    The dry chile fish fillet was as remembered (like an old friend), and speaking of old friends, this was one of the dishes our late Stevez requested and that I brought to the hospital a couple times. I found it spot on. I'll spare another pix and instead add 2 that haven't been posted. Singapore noodles were given the option or rice or egg noodles (egg here). One thing I always liked @ New China was the size of the accompanying proteins- not sm or shreds but large slices both in the noodle and rice dishes. Some quite respectable shui mai and fried pork and veg dumplings were thin skinned and quite nice.
    Image
    Image

    All hail Titus.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #5 - May 18th, 2024, 7:59 pm
    Post #5 - May 18th, 2024, 7:59 pm Post #5 - May 18th, 2024, 7:59 pm
    Thanks for all the intel and enthusiasm. I never made it to NCS and am excited to have this a mile from work. Does anyone happen to know what type of fish is used for the dry chili fish?
  • Post #6 - May 18th, 2024, 9:24 pm
    Post #6 - May 18th, 2024, 9:24 pm Post #6 - May 18th, 2024, 9:24 pm
    Not certain but probably tilapia. You could bread a napkin w/the crust and it would be good.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #7 - May 19th, 2024, 11:27 am
    Post #7 - May 19th, 2024, 11:27 am Post #7 - May 19th, 2024, 11:27 am
    Jazzfood wrote:Not certain but probably tilapia. You could bread a napkin w/the crust and it would be good.
    Thank you.
  • Post #8 - May 22nd, 2024, 9:27 pm
    Post #8 - May 22nd, 2024, 9:27 pm Post #8 - May 22nd, 2024, 9:27 pm
    Picked up an order of dry chili shrimp, szechuan wontons, kung pao chicken, and pork fried rice. Enjoyed it all, and the dry chili (shrimp? napkin?) was definitely the star. It's amazing how much flavor they get into that breading without it being saucy or greasy. As referenced earlier, I also found it interesting that the chicken in the kung pao was large (two bite?) slices not dices.
  • Post #9 - May 26th, 2024, 2:47 pm
    Post #9 - May 26th, 2024, 2:47 pm Post #9 - May 26th, 2024, 2:47 pm
    My wife suggested China Wok for lunch and remarked it was one of the only times I didn't counter with "or".

    The breading is the star and asked them about the fish, which is basa a S.E. Asian catfish, and why it's so firm in comparison to tilapia. Fwiw, they have put an industrial dumpling maker on the sidewalk just outside, free for the taking.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata

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