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Sweet n Tart

I used to imagine there was an impossibly shaped shared back kitchen between
the cafe and restaurant, but I know it can't be true. It strikes me as
strange that there'd be two versions of the same eatery on the same curving
street, but that's Chinatown for you.

When I'm not in the mood for Noodletown, dim sum or S.E. Asian food (my
three favorites), Sweet 'n' Tart is where to turn. Actually, they serve dim
sum type snacks to order and that's part of their beauty. Seeing the
numerous choices in print rather than passing by on a cart, gets the mind
reeling. You could spend countless visits working your way through their
three(!) menus, sampling oddities like the Malaysian sweet roll or Italian
spring roll. Me, I'm addicted to the turnip cakes.

I've yet to try the congee, tong shui or mysterious bowl of inky black
goo I've seen others downing…there's always next time. (1/11/02)

The latest in my Tues. night, kill time before class, Chinatown solo
ventures. Dim sum type items are always more fun with larger groups, as you
get to sample more varieties. I restrained myself with three choices:
stuffed eggplant, turnip cakes and fried pork vegetable buns. The buns had
the sort of filling you'd see in a noodle type dumpling rather than roast
pork like I'd expected. I think I prefer the dumpling to the bun. I'm also
still curious about the Malaysian sweet roll, but that'll have to wait.

It seems classic, but I've never done the Chinatown Christmas dinner. In
fact, I don't usually do anything except mope around the apartment on
Christmas day eating junk food. This year I managed to rustle up one in-town
friend and two friends of hers for Mott St. fun. While Carroll Gardens was a
ghost town, the restaurants below Canal St. were bustling, lines out the
doors, dueling parallel parkers. Luckily, S&T wasn't too bad.

Not to be a control freak, but I do have strong ideas about dining in
groups that I never voice so its not surprising when they go unheeded. I
have a fantasy that one day Ill befriend a dream team to share dining
excursions with. I'deally, four people would get four things (or more) and
everyone could share and have variety. But with vegetarian and/or picky
eaters this becomes impossibility.

No one really wanted what I'd ordered: turnip cakes, salt and pepper
shrimp (all had shrimp issues, exacerbated by the head on presentation) and
scallion pancake. Then two of the party ordered the exact same thing (pet
peeve—and not only mine, it was mentioned in a recent Time Out
article about how to annoy waiters), a bean curd and vegetable mix.
To be fair, the fourth member went on a limb and ordered an expensive random
dish of seafood and what seemed like egg or custard in a thick clear sauce
that barely even got eaten. It was a little oddball, I didnt understand the
extreme egginess, and I was already full since I ordered more dishes than
anyone else.  I'm not complaining, it sure beat sitting alone in
Brooklyn. (12/25/04)

Sweet'n' Tart Restaurant * 20 Mott St., New York,NY

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