There’s something so satisfying about that first bite of an egg roll, particularly the way the crispy crust audibly breaks, opening to reveal a hot core of meat, veggies, and sauce. Don’t get us wrong: the second, third, tenth, etc., etc. bites are all pretty satisfying too. Herewith, our five favorite restaurants for egg rolls in New York City. By Jessica Allen.
The egg rolls at Buddakan comes stuffed with lobster. Need we say more? Well, we will: they also have cabbage and mint, along with a sweet chili sauce. This show-stopper of a restaurant still wows, several years after opening in the Meatpacking District (there are other locations around the world). To enter, you walk down a long staircase and into a gold-inflected dining room, as grand and elegant as a temple or cathedral. Other specialties of this modern Asian eatery include edamame dumplings and sizzling short ribs.
Thanks to chefs like Danny Bowien, of Mission Chinese, and Jonathan Wu, of Fung Tu, Chinese American food has moved beyond weeknight takeout. Fung Tu, situated near where the Lower East Side meets Chinatown, elevates Chinese American food through subtly and nontraditional ingredients. Perhaps no dish shows the restaurant’s technique quite so much as its egg roll: it includes pork belly, leeks, two types of Mediterranean olives, cilantro, and pickled chiles in an egg crepe (pictured here before it hits the fryer). As a final touch, it’s served with a side of citrusy mayo.
Although Grill 21, in Gramercy, bills itself as Asian fusion, it’s really a Filipino restaurant. A really, really good Filipino restaurant, run by several members of an extended family. The egg roll here looks more or less like the version you find in countless Chinese restaurants, but once you crack the cylinder, you can see the difference. It bursts with cabbage, carrots, and other veggies, each distinct and yet contributing to the greater whole. Complete your meal with chicken adobo, sauteed bitter melon with shrimp and eggs, or tocino (a traditional roasted pork dish).
Located in Park Slope, Pork Slope (get it?) is a “roadhouse-inspired” bar that serves great food, including a philly cheesesteak egg roll. Sounds good, we know. This baby has slow-roasted beef, a sauce made from three types of cheese, thyme, and caramelized onions. The dish comes from the kinda kooky imagination of chef and co-owner Dale Talde, of Top Chef fame. Get the egg rolls with a side of loaded nachos and baked mac-and-cheese, and consider your day or night well spent.
The brainchild of Joe Ng, chef and dim sum master maker, and Ed Schoenfeld, an expert in Chinese cuisine, marries “a greenmarket sensibility to modern and inventive Chinese food and super-charged dim sum.” The result, RedFarm, now has two locations, both super popular, both serving the incredible Katz’s pastrami egg roll, with salty cured meat lovingly encased in an almost dainty wrapper. As the New York Times said in its 2012 two-star review: “RedFarm’s cooking runs hard toward OMG.” Go forth and see for yourself.