It’s Sunday afternoon, and I haven’t left the house since Wednesday. Shuffling between my bed and couch, fevered, sore throat, sinuses infected, unable to concentrate, I’ve been going stir crazy. Maybe food would help?
Last night I was brought take out from Metro Café, the Brooklyn Sichuan/Japanese restaurant that I’ve been meaning to try. Obviously, I can’t speak to the décor or service.
I can speak to James knowing my taste. Even though he pestered me (I’ve lost my voice and trying to talk is excruciating) with five calls from Hong Kong Supermarket on subjects like, “What is a wide rice noodle?” Er, go to the rice noodle section and look for the least skinny variety. “What’s the difference between noya bok choy and shanghai bok choy?” I have no idea what noya is, I’m guessing a handwritten typo. “Do we have star anise? Limes? Cardamom pods?” Yes, no, yes. All I had to say in regard to what to order at Metro Café was, “something cold like tendon or tripe” and I was given pigs' ears. That’s definitely what I would’ve chosen if I had had a menu in front of me.
The ears, sliced into ribbons, were a nice balance of crunch and chew. I did not detect a strong peppercorn tingle, but I’m afraid that I’m missing out the full flavor spectrum. You would think that bold spice and chile oil would be the perfect match for a palate-dulling cold–I just nibbled a few bites of a chocolate bunny and could barely taste a thing–but I’ve encountered an inexplicable sensation, once before while at Sripraphai while sick, that hot food tastes even hotter, painfully so. I could only eat a few bites. Should I have new sympathy for people who claim to be unable to tolerate hot food?
Same with the cumin beef, which is similar to lamb preparations at other Sichuan restaurants (there is no lamb at Café Metro). I’ve never thought this was a punishing dish. Sure, there’s heat from the grilled green chiles; the overall sensation is an oily cuminy one, though. I’ll save this till tomorrow.
The double cooked pork is always one of my favorite dishes, super unctuous, mixed with tons of grease-softened leeks. This pork was a little dry despite sporting fatty layers. Odd. Still pretty good. I could eat the savory, black bean-enhanced onion and leek slices all by themselves on rice.
Water spinach, because you need a green vegetable.
I'll return for a dine-in version after I perk up. Chong qing chicken and a fish dish next time.
Metro Café * 4924 8th Ave., Brooklyn, NY