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First impression: Northern China Eatery

posted on December 8, 2008 at 8:00 am
Moon is just as obsessed as me when it comes to exploring Atlanta. He ventured out yesterday and found this little spot he is very excited about–it sounds promising. I hope to get there this week to take photos and sample some of the food. Here is his report:
While driving North on Buford Highway for another destination, some new signage caught my eye in the strange building complex just south of Pung Mie. I think a long ago defunct Japanese restaurant used to occupy the restaurant’s space, which is completely invisible to the eye from Buford Highway. You pull in and are directed to go to the left and meander around to a parking lot in the rear.
The menu is broken into “Breakfast,” “Cold Dishes,” “Dumpling,” “Ban,” “Noodles” and “Hot Pot.” Hot Pots are all under $9 and include Mutton Chop, Oxtail, Fish Head and Niu Bian (your guess is as good as mine). I skipped the hot pots this time.
 I ordered the Scallion Pancake ($2.50), which was well prepared and not greasy like the one you get at Chef Liu. There is also an item called “Fried Cake Fruit” ($3.50) which everyone was eating. Never seen it before. As best I could tell it is thin “crullers” surrounded by a very thin fried egg wrap then doused in some spicy sauce. From a distance it looks like a Mexican dish. It is unusual but delicious. 
The “Fresh Shrimp Dumplings” ($5.50 for 12) were small (not a criticism), not overcooked with a tasty pork based filling. Splashed them with some vinegar and soy sauce at the table.
The Juicy Steamed Pork Buns ($5.95 for 8) are small (same) but filled with a good amount of the burning hot “soup.”
I also took home an order of Sesame Paste Topping Noodles ($3.95) for BG to try.
The place is a hole in the wall. Sparse. Over the counter are several large pictures of certain dishes and I think I spotted a blackboard with Chinese characters on it, but I made no effort to figure out what those dishes were. 
There was at least one waiter in there who spoke English. He told me they have been opened for three months. The restaurant was nearly full, and it was all Asian patrons (except me).
IMO, it is superior to Chef Liu and I look forward to trying other dishes, including “Fennel Dumpling,” “Beef Noodles Soup,” “Szechuan Pickle Noodles Soup,” “Braise Potato,” “Vegetable with Mutton Dumpling” and (gasp) “Flavored Pig Tongue.”

RESTAURANT INFORMATION:

Address: 5141 Buford Highway, Suite C, Doraville, 30340
Phone: 770-458-2282
Hours: Fri.-Wed., 9:30 a.m.-10:30p.m.
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6 comments

  • Re: First impression: Northern China Eatery
    posted by: Jasonmolinari · December 8, 2008  8:17 AM

    Niu Bian is bull penis hotpot.
    I just had some with a few friends a few weeks ago. Interesting experience.

  • Re: First impression: Northern China Eatery
    posted by: Anonymous · December 8, 2008  8:25 AM

    I draw the line at penis.

    –moon

  • Re: First impression: Northern China Eatery
    posted by: Anonymous · December 8, 2008  3:31 PM

    My wife and I went yesterday after hearing great comments about the place from her chinese coworkers. We had the chive pancake, shanghai soup dumplings and noodles with beef. All was good and quality was comparable to Chef Liu. There was a younger guy who spoke pretty good english and took our order. We also asked about the fried cake fruit that everyone was eating but he could not describe it in english.Biggest differnce between CL and this place is that the dining area is much larger, open and not as tightly packed. We plan to go back soon and try one of the hot pots but not the penis hot pot!

  • Re: First impression: Northern China Eatery
    posted by: 86tastebud · December 11, 2008  9:53 PM

    um the ‘fruit cake’ is called jian bien. its a beijing/northern street food. I’ve had it once @ chef liu’s and it was eh compared to the renditions in beijing. Its generally a eggy-batter on a flat top cooked, then smeared with a soy-based paste, scallions, and then a crunchy cruller. Unfortunately, all the crullers cooked in atlanta are the stick version and not a round crunchy version. anyways, people keep ordering those things at chef liu’s and i thought it was utterly bland and a piss-poor copy of the real thing. Then again, I might just be picky

  • Re: First impression: Northern China Eatery
    posted by: Anonymous · December 12, 2008  8:18 AM

    Be sure to call ahead if you’re going in the evening. I went last night and they had already closed by 8:30.

  • Re: First impression: Northern China Eatery
    posted by: Keith · December 12, 2008  11:08 AM

    I tried NCE and I would give it a mixed review. While the dumpling texture was slightly better than Chef Liu, the hot pots were bland, for my taste. The fennel dumpling was kind of distgusting. It literally tasted like a table spoon of fennel (would be interested to know if anyone liked these).

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