Year of the Takeout Day 84: Nine Dragon
Shrimp With Lobster Sauce from Nine Dragon (83 Humboldt Street, Williamsburg, 718-599-3544)
"Lobster" sauce can be found on virtually every Chinese-American menu encountered by Year of the Takeout. This makes no sense: The virtually flavorless gravy has the mucus-like texture of lukewarm gefilte fish gel, and contains not a shred of its namesake crustacean.
Now, this is not a criticism against Nine Dragons -- the service was fast and friendly, and a friend's mixed veggies felt adequately sauced without being oily.
Rather, this is a dis of the dish itself, which apparently might not be served in China and just happens to be mainly made up of chicken stock, cornstarch, and egg and maybe the odd piece of pork. Really, the only thing keeping this concept from complete failure is the pea-and-carrot medley. Think weak egg-drop soup, and you have exactly the right idea.
Anyway, considering the constraints of the plate -- it's almost inherently terrible -- Nine does a good job. The $5.75 pick features juicy, fresh shrimp and has enough garlic to keep the blandness at bay.
However much YotT has hated on lobster sauce, if anybody knows of a decent approach, let us know in the comments. We're particularly fascinated by the variety said to be present in parts of New England. Rumor has it that this subgenre is considerably richer.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.