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Peter Chang Really HAS Been Found!

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My family lives in Knoxville. My brother and nephew are adventurous eaters so I told them that they had to eat there. Lucky dogs.......

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Mom and Dad just finished lunch at Hong Kong House, and we can add them to the ranks of the converted.

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He's still using the bamboo baskets. <sob> Crispy fish! Chang, we miss you. Those Knoxville rubes couldn't possibly appreciate you the way we in DC do...

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The "Knoxville rubes" (and I won't take that personally, even though I lived there for three years--lol) might not appreciate Chang, but Atlanta food fanatics (like Rowdy) are all atwitter about driving the 3.5 hours north to re-experience the magic. I've never come across a chef with a more loyal and devoted following!

If gas wasn't so $&%#@ expensive, I'd be taking a road trip this weekend. I never got to taste Chang's food (my time in DC and Atlanta didn't overlap much, if at all, with his), but based on everyone's reactions, I really need to. I can only hope that he stays put long enough for me to get to K-town for a football weekend. :lol:

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The "Knoxville rubes" (and I won't take that personally, even though I lived there for three years--lol) might not appreciate Chang, but Atlanta food fanatics (like Rowdy) are all atwitter about driving the 3.5 hours north to re-experience the magic. I've never come across a chef with a more loyal and devoted following!

If gas wasn't so $&%#@ expensive, I'd be taking a road trip this weekend. I never got to taste Chang's food (my time in DC and Atlanta didn't overlap much, if at all, with his), but based on everyone's reactions, I really need to. I can only hope that he stays put long enough for me to get to K-town for a football weekend. :lol:

Went to college in Atlanta and lived there for a year afterwords; I only got to Tasty China three times, once after Chang left (it still was pretty good, just not as spectacular as it was).

I still dream of those puffy scallion pancakes and pork belly.

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Going to Knoxville this weekend, and am looking forward to FINALLY tasting Chef Chang's magic. Is he still there (to the best of our knowledge, anyway)? Are there menu items not to miss, or should I just say "bring me your best" and enjoy? Squeals of excitement!!!

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The good news is, I did go to Knoxville last weekend. The bad news is, I didn't get to sit down and eat at Hong Kong House, but rather had to order take-out and drive it three-and-a-half hours back to Atlanta. The good news is, when reheated properly, the food starts out so awesome that the journey down I-75 doesn't kill it.

I have NO idea if Chef Chang is still working at Hong Kong House (there are no indications to the contrary), or if he was in the kitchen when I ordered. However, this was the best Szechuan food I've had in a LONG time. I ordered exclusively from the "Chef's Specialties" or "Favorites" side of the menu (in other words, I avoided the Americanized items), and I was incredibly impressed. Fish and cilantro rolls, which I reheated in the oven, were intensely flavorful, crunchy, and not at all greasy. The order came with 6, and I ate 5 before my fiance even knew they were there. I could have eaten twice as many, they were that delicious. Crispy shrimp with scallions was incredibly spicy, but also tinged with a glorious sweetness. Fried, but not oily at all. Shredded pork with eggplant probably traveled the worst, turning into a bit of a mushy mess. Still very tasty, but definitely not as spicy or interesting as the other dishes.

Too bad Hong Kong House is so far away...I would KILL for decent Szechuan food a little closer to home.

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Have any of the Peter Chang acolytes tried New York’s Szechuan Gourmet? I would be interested to know how Cheng Zhong Huang’s cooking compares to Chang’s.

I had Chang's food three times a few years ago & ate at Szechuan Gourmet last weekend with a large party that ordered quite a bit. I would give the nod to Chang's food. My meal at Szechuan Gourmet was well executed but the food is typical of the Szechuan fare you can get at any number of places in NYC, while the food I had from Chang struck we as much more interesting and better seasoned. I have no idea which is more authentic. The food I've had in Flushing (one meal at Spicy & Tasty in particular) has been better than any Chinese food I've had anywhere, and was also the most serious (in terms of complexity, attention to detail etc). Szechuan Gourmet is worth trying (I liked the preserved pork belly & the ma po tofu) especially if you don't have the time or patience to ride the train to Flushing.

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I have NO idea if Chef Chang is still working at Hong Kong House (there are no indications to the contrary), or if he was in the kitchen when I ordered. However, this was the best Szechuan food I've had in a LONG time.

He told me face-to-face that he has a 5 year contract there with four years to go. So it sounds as if they have him tied down, and I imagine he will be there for a while. If it wasn't a Tuesday when you were there, likely it was his stuff.

Too bad Hong Kong House is so far away...I would KILL for decent Szechuan food a little closer to home.

According to the Atlanta folks, Tasty China (where he was previously) remains pretty good. Try it if you haven't yet. Also, I heard they were importing some new hot shot chef directly from China, so if that has happened it could be good news--but I don't know whether that actually happened.

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I was not able to convince the parents to go to Hong Kong House this week due to the recent epic health inspection fail. It appears they did improve to a passing grade of 81 on the reinspection, but since the restaurant inspection report is one of the most popular features of the Knoxville evening news, HKH's business isn't going to be very good for a while.

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I was not able to convince the parents to go to Hong Kong House this week due to the recent epic health inspection fail. It appears they did improve to a passing grade of 81 on the reinspection, but since the restaurant inspection report is one of the most popular features of the Knoxville evening news, HKH's business isn't going to be very good for a while.

This article may help turn the tide. It is from yesterday's Knoxville paper, thanks to someone who posted the link on Chowhound:

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/nov/30/h...-szechwan-food/

Most interesting part to me was that PC apparently has tried PF Changs and thought it was "good, in an American sort of way"....Hmmmm. The article also has a video clip, but it loads very slowly (on my computer anyway).

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The article also has a video clip, but it loads very slowly (on my computer anyway).
This is one of the few outside videos that will load at work...
He's still using the bamboo baskets. <sob> Crispy fish!
The closing shot in the video is of the skilled hands topping the crispy, cumin-y fish with the bamboo tower/boat sail. <wistful sobbing>

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Happily, my in-laws were just passing through and didn't see the health inspection results. They enjoyed a very nice late lunch and were really wowed by the food. Rather than go with any of the suggestions from the reviews we'd armed them with, they got help from their waitress. That could have been a disaster, as they're in their 70's and don't look like the kind of people who enjoy food adventures. They managed to convey that they do enjoy spicy food.

She steered them to Sizzling Rice with Seafood Soup, Chicken with Bell Peppers in Hot Pot, and Braised Beef with Tomato and Curry Sauce in Pot. They didn't have much to say about the soup other than to describe the ingredients. The chicken with bell peppers was also laced with sichuan peppercorns and appears to have been served on a platter rather than in a hot pot. The braised beef dish was more of a thick stew, and was more subtle than the chicken.

They'll be going back again.

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Bastard!

You went there and did not tell any of us....SHAME ON YOU

No care package?

You sir, are cut out of the will

Without further ado, the exterior:

post-710-1243666276_thumb.jpg

Spicy tongue and tripe cold app:

post-710-1243666287_thumb.jpg

Ma la fish:

post-710-1243666299_thumb.jpg

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Dave, your photos are so good that I can smell them (except the exterior shot). Did you see the Maestro? Did he look happy? Or did he look like his feet are itching for another move? And was the place inundated with screaming, adoring customers, which is of course what he hates the most?

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Bastard!

You went there and did not tell any of us....SHAME ON YOU

No care package?

You sir, are cut out of the will

Au contraire, mon frère, may I direct your attention to the second sentence? The "care package" is sitting in my hotel room fridge right now, but I have little hope that it'll survive the roadtrip home.

I failed to get a look at the maestro, as it was the middle of lunch service. It's a good-sized restaurant - bigger than Tasty China - and although it wasn't even half-full at the time, most of the patrons were speaking Mandarin and were clearly happy to have a real Chinese restaurant around.

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Au contraire, mon frère, may I direct your attention to the second sentence? The "care package" is sitting in my hotel room fridge right now, but I have little hope that it'll survive the roadtrip home.

By survive, he meant that he was going to eat it himself before he got back...

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Biscuit Girl had lunch there today with her brother and her nephew. She even was thoughtful enough to send me pictures. Ma la fish, dumplings, puffy scallion pancakes.

I had lunch at East Street Cafe in Union Station.

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I received a phone call, and the specifics are a bit fuzzy, but apparently our man has flown once again and landed in Charlottesville, Va. The place is called Taste of China, or something close to that (Asia Inn Taste??). If I understood correctly the address is 612 Albemarle Sq., which is a shopping center right on Rt 29 on the northern end of town. Phone number is 434-975-6699.

If somebody can check it out and confirm, that would be great. I fear it will be a while before I'm likely to get to Charlottesville, so this time I may miss him.

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I received a phone call, and the specifics are a bit fuzzy, but apparently our man has flown once again and landed in Charlottesville, Va. The place is called Taste of China, or something close to that (Asia Inn Taste??). If I understood correctly the address is 612 Albemarle Sq., which is a shopping center right on Rt 29 on the northern end of town. Phone number is 434-975-6699.

If somebody can check it out and confirm, that would be great. I fear it will be a while before I'm likely to get to Charlottesville, so this time I may miss him.

ROAD TRIP!!! Whose in???

Looks like that location was a Japanese resturant that closed and now is becoming ASIA Inn - Jun Lin Rong & Da Li Rong trading as Asia Inn (Taste Of China), 610-612 Albemarle Square Court, Charlottesville (Albemarle) Virginia, 22901.

Chowhound Review

...

Taste of China

610 Albemarle Square Court

Charlottesville, VA 22901

434-975-6688

Sun - Thurs 11 AM - 10 PM

Fri and Sat 11 AM - 10:30 PM

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Looks like that location was a Japanese resturant that closed and now is becoming ASIA Inn - Jun Lin Rong & Da Li Rong trading as Asia Inn (Taste Of China), 610-612 Albemarle Square Court, Charlottesville (Albemarle) Virginia, 22901.

This is very easy to find. Straight down Rt 29 south to Charlottesville. The shopping center is on your left as you approach Rio Road (that's RY-o, not Ree-o). About 2 hours from Alexandria and a easy trip.

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Just checked my email, read the report, called Cville and alerted Number One Son, a 3rd year law student at UVA and one of Chef Peter Chang's biggest fans, to this news flash.

Unfortunately, it's too late tonight for him to report back from an in person inspection, but he promises to personally inspect the premises and report back tomorrow. He says that if they have puffy scallion pancakes he will know it's true.

The way we feel about Chef Peter Chang, we've contemplated road trips to Atlanta and Knoxville, only to accept defeat when the maestro moved on before we could do it.

If true, I predict many Cville excursions in the near future. Stalking Chef Peter Chang is not for procrastinators.

Fingers crossed. Please, please, please be true . . .

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