When you get an invitation to try out the latest dining destination from the cb5 restaurant group, you’d be crazy to say no. My invitation was for a dinner last week at China White in Greenwich, the second coming for the local chain. Jody Penette and his culinary crew opened the flagship spot in Purchase, NY this spring.
And now, they’ve snuck their hot product across the border.
The white, minimalist interior is ultra modern, but not uninviting. On the night I was there the restaurant’s wide, garage-door style windows were open to the front, reinforcing the airy, urban atmosphere. Seated around a large table with other local foodies, I relaxed into a glass of homemade peach sangria and got ready to eat.
The food arrived -- and kept arriving -- at a perfect pace. We spun the dishes on the inlaid crushed glass lazy Susan, sampling highlights from China White’s "authentically Chinese" menu, comprised mainly of organic ingredients.
I’ll admit to not being impressed by most Chinese restaurants outside of Chinatown, but China White isn’t like any other suburban Chinese restaurant you’ve tried. It’s a creative foray into the ubiquitous Asian cuisine. The barbecue spare ribs smothered in a honey-plum glaze were so delicious that even the practiced foodies at my table found themselves grunting in delight. We were practically choreographing a culinary happy dance as we chewed.
Other standouts were the spicy fried rice, the black pepper beef and General Tso’s fish. Even the simple white salad of pear, tofu, cashews and choy in a sherry vinaigrette warranted the note “incredibly fresh” in my notebook.
After all that deliciousness, I’d hit the Great Wall of food exhaustion. And then, they brought out dessert. Playful monikers like “White on Rice” (a coconut and mango rice pudding with almond-vanilla cream) and the “White Chocolate Hot Pot” (a white chocolate fondue served with fresh, seasonal fruits, orange cakes, and other crispy treats) are backed up by creativity and flavor so good it could almost be described as addictive.
Chopsticks surrendered, I’d felt rather like I’d OD’ed on things sweet and savory. I didn’t have room for even the smallest fortune cookie. But China White had me covered there, too. Rather than toss a few stale, prepackaged bits onto the table, the waiter brought us a swirl of chai-flavored cotton candy and an eight ball. A Magic Eight Ball, that is, to satisfy our craving for post-dinner soothesaying.
So, should you try China White? Let me be your Epicurean Eight Ball. I say, “Yes, definitely.”