Chinatown quick-lunch

Chinatown downtown deliversChinatown is back downtown and drawing those who still miss Pao’s Mandarin. I don’t think Chinatown has been available for lunch this close in since long ago on West Sixth, when I seem to remember that it occupied the corner building where CompuAdd once built and sold desktop computers, including the first one I had at home, way back when.

The napkins are cloth. The seating observed, apart from the bar itself, was of four kinds: two-top pedestal tables that can be pushed together, tall seats at tall tables in the window, almost-booths with banquettes, and round tables seating large parties. The acoustics are not good, since there’s nothing soft to absorb the music from the sound-system, the low-volume television, and all the very lively conversation. Service is pleasant, efficient, and fast, making this a good place for downtown workers, who seemed to constitute the greatest portion of the lunchtime diners today.

The photo shows part of one of the two delivery bikes; we also saw two delivery automobiles. There’s valet parking at noontime for those who believe they need it.

The food? I haven’t enjoyed such fine pork with garlic sauce since I don’t know when. There was lots of meat, in delicate slivers and with no waste. Others enjoyed their entrees just as much. Hot and sour soup was hot and sour, with plenty of tree ears. I didn’t think that the egg rolls were worthy of mention one way or the other. Dumplings were not on the lunch menu, so a suppertime visit soon is a must.

I noticed just four SxSW visitors, a few female officer-worker duets, one mixed-gender party of work colleagues, and table after table of men, who seemed to order fried rice rather than steamed rice. Be careful if you’re at all inclined to dizziness: most of the food was arriving at the table in those tilted flying-saucer bowls that are so much in vogue.

This Chinatown is at 107 West Fifth Street (telno 637-8888; faxno 637-8881). The takeout menu says that lunch is served from 11 am to 5:30 pm, but not whether this is weekdays only. Continuous service would be wonderful, but it’s probably best to call ahead and check. This Chinatown has been open about a month, and it appears that various decisions are still being made. Dumplings and yu-hsiang pork, here I come!

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