No one could ever claim New York doesn’t have good Chinese food. We have not one, not two, but three Chinatowns. But therein lies the problem. Flushing in Queens, Brooklyn’s own Sunset Park, and Manhattan’s Chinatown all make for extraordinary day trips, but the entire rest of the city is sorely lacking in quality Chinese. And when you’re spoiled by the authentic fare at those three locales, the step down to General Tso’s and fried rice from the corner Chinese spot is less than appealing.
Enter Brooklyn Wok Shop, a new Williamsburg spot that seeks to fill that void. Chef Edric Har, who has worked in the kitchens at Le Bernardin and Veritas, opened Wok Shop with his wife Melissa, mostly because the pair was tired of having no good Chinese in the ‘hood. The concept is simple: classic Chinese-American comfort fare, but made with care — and quality ingredients.
The beef with broccoli has the flavors you’ve come to love from your cheap-and-greasy take-out joint, only here it’s made with hangar steak and leafy Chinese broccoli, with the option to add a runny fried egg on top. For wonton soup, instead of drab dumplings floating in flavorless broth (beef? chicken? who knows?) you’ll find a spicy curry soup filled with silky rice noodles, juicy shrimp-and-pork wontons, and still-crisp fresh long beans. Yes, there’s even the requisite General Tso’s, made here with tender, hormone- and antiobiotic-free chicken, of course.
To be honest, when I first heard about the concept for Brooklyn Wok Shop, I may have groaned. I’m usually underwhelmed by fancy-pants chefs who offer “refined” takes on ethnic food, for five times the price. (I’ll take my tacos from a truck, please.) But the best part about Brooklyn Wok Shop is that while the cuisine is kicked-up-a-notch, the prices remain at take-out level, with the most expensive dish on the menu just $12.75. At that price, Williamsburgers would be silly to get their wontons anywhere else. Next up, Chef Har plans to add a weekend dim sum menu, which seems almost certain to be a brunchtime hit in this part of town. For now, Brooklyn Wok Shop is open for dinner, every day except for Tuesday.
182 N 10th Street (btwn Bedford and Driggs Ave); brooklynwokshop.com