Located at 1145 Washington Street in Boston’s South End, Myers + Chang offers fare inspired by Taiwanese soul food and Southeast Asian street food. The restaurant’s interior is decorated in a hip diner style, with silver-topped tables and a long long chrome-trimmed counter, complete with pink plastic chairs. On the weekends, M+C serve a Dim Sum menu from 11:30 to 5:30. We stopped in on a Sunday afternoon, around 2:00 pm, eager to try out their small bites and traditional (and not so traditional) Asian favorites.
Arriving first at the table were Mama Chang’s Pork Dumplings. These pot-sticker style dumplings were extremely crunchy on one side and filled with a flavorful pork and chive filling. The sauce was surprisingly complex, lightly sweet and spicy with a hint of richness provided by the oil (we’re guessing sesame). Topped with chopped scallions, this sauce was like a cross between a vinaigrette and a soy-based dipping sauce.
Served in a tiny take-out container, the Dan Dan Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce had a fair bit of heat, but not so much that it over-powered the peanut flavor. The heat was nicely balanced by the addition of fresh cilantro and crisp cucumber. The package includes a wedge of lime that we initially ignored, but soon discovered that a squeeze of lime juice really opened up the flavors and provided the dish with that extra something that transformed it from good to great.
Sandwiched in a slightly sweet, sliced bun, the Crispy Pork Belly Stuffed Bao lived up to its name, with crispy bits of pork sitting on pickled daikon radish, topped with crunchy lettuce and a drizzle of hoisin sauce. This Bao was reminiscent of the stuffed buns we’re used to from Dim Sum joints, but less sweet. The addition of the veggies provided a great contrast to the richness of the pork and the steamed bun.
The Wok-Roasted Lemongrass Mussels were fragrant with the aromas of lemongrass, fish sauce and cilantro. The generous portion of mussels (for $6) swam in a deeply flavored and dark colored broth that walked the line between sweet and savory, with just enough salt to bring out the ocean flavor of the bivalves. The only thing missing from this dish is something to sop up the leftover broth with.
“Fall-off the bone tender” is a phrase that people toss about pretty frequently, often with no regard to what that actually means. When picked up by the bone, the meat on the Tea Smoked Ribs actually peeled away and fell onto the plate below, leaving a bare clean rib bone pinched between our chopsticks. Sweet and salty, the ribs were infused with the flavor of tea-smoke and an unctuous sticky fattiness that coats the mouth in an extremely satisfying way. That said, the pickled vegetables were a welcome addition, helping to cut the richness, and providing a nice palate cleanser.
Next up were the Garlicky Coal Blackened Chicken Wings, served with a gorgeous bright orange-red homemade Sriracha sauce. The dark mahogany colored skin was quite impressive. With most of the fat rendered away, it was thin and wrinkly, resembling of all things, the skin of a smoked chili pepper. The concentrated flavors of soy and garlic went perfectly with the still juicy meat.
Not for the faint of heart, the Sriracha had great flavor, but was almost too hot. We appreciate heat (especially EA) but this sauce just permeated our palates, essentially rendering them useless for a short bit of time. We’re not saying not to order the wings, just save them for last if you want to be able to fully experience some of the more subtle dishes.
In Indonesian, Nasi Goreng literally translates to “fried rice”, and is considered the national dish of Indonesia. Myers + Chang’s version includes pork, pineapple, scallions, sambal and fried crispy shallots, all topped with a runny fried egg. Here at Hungry Native, we love pretty much everything with a fried egg on top, and when chopped up and mixed with the rice, the runny egg served to really fuse all the different flavors together.
The rice had an intense smoky flavor that was broken up by the occasional chunk of sweet pineapple. Fried dark brown and extremely crispy, we thought the shallots were perhaps a tad over done, but they did add a nice bit of crunch. Overall, the dish came across maybe a bit burnt tasting, but strangely addicting.
After all that, you would think that dessert would be out of the question, but please bear in mind that we are, in fact, professionals. According to our waitress, the Lemon-Ginger Mousse Coupe with Homemade Fortune Cookie is the hands-down favorite of the desserts served at M+C. The mousse itself was smooth and light, with a big lemon flavor that was more tart than sweet. This dessert had sweet and spicy chunks of candied ginger on top of the mousse, as well as a few buried at the bottom of the glass. The lemon and ginger combo was more restrained and less sweet than most restaurant desserts. When broken up and mixed into the mousse, the homemade fortune cookie proved a crucial ingredient to the dessert, the dark brown crunchy bits of cookie providing a stark contrast to the creamy mouse.
Help support Hungry Native with Amazon.com, check out Joanne Chang’s new book, Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe.as well as these books on Boston.
Editor’s note ~ At Hungry Native, our restaurant reviews are by no means comprehensive, we may have visited a particular place many times, or perhaps only once. For the most part, we focus on specific dishes. We try to judge restaurants for what they are, rather than compare them directly. No review should be taken as a blanket endorsement of an establishment but rather a guide to what we found especially good or interesting.
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