feels too much like one big gift shop, its northern sister neighborhood, Little Vietnam, off the Argyle
stop on the L in Uptown
, could be the kind of quaint experience for you. And while you're there, Sun Wah BBQ is one great stop for authentic Hong Kong-style barbecue favorites.
The sit-down menu is pretty typical for a Chinese restaurant in the U.S., which dominates with staples like fried rice and beef and broccoli. The restaurant also actively serves to its own community, with items that are perhaps too exotic for some – because pig intestines takes a lot of "guts" to try for the first time.
The beauty of catering to both worlds, though, is a good-mix of customers – executives on their power lunch and gentle grannies who only speak Chinese co-exist so well, it feels welcoming to everyone.
Languages overheard include a variety of Chinese dialects, including Cantonese and Mandarin, as well as Vietnamese, Spanish, and of course, its primary spoken language, English. The exposed brick and sleek look, however, disguises any chance of a focused customer base.
Many dishes come in small ($6) and large ($10), although groups can order dishes "family style" to share over rice. Portions are respectable, although meat-lovers might be disappointed with the carb-heavy emphasis. Try ordering extra meat if you want more barbecue at this BBQ.
Vegetarians for animal rights, however, might be irked when they carry out a whole – however delicious – roasted pig and put up rows of fully-cooked poultry. The restaurant does have a sizable list of tofu and seafood dishes.
Highly recommended is the take-out counter, where you can order a whole ($14) or a half ($7) of a soy-sauce chicken or roasted duck, a meal to last for days. Just add rice!
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Sally Ho
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