Day: November 15th, 2007

Province Chinese Canteen

Thursday, November 15th, 2007 | All Things, Eats

For a change of scene from our usual Chinatown lunch, we wandered over to the eastern edge of TriBeCa this dreary afternoon to check out Province Chinese Canteen, based on yet another of JL’s recommendations, making it a three-peat â„¢ for the week.

Province opened last August during a spate of Asian snack-food openings, and quickly distinguished itself to earn a spot on New York magazine’s Cheap Eats list in 2007. The scaled-down, industrial cafeteria design — brushed metal, blonde wood, white Christmas lights strung from the ceiling — seems appropriate for the simple offerings: sandwiches, sides, soups, salads, desserts and beverages.

Province

The sandwiches are what comprise the bulk of the menu, and based on the steady stream of walk-ins, the bulk of their take-out business. And we could see why: what they do, they do addictively well. The assorted Asian-inspired fillings (grilled chicken, braised pork shoulder, spicy pork and short rib) are presented on griddled round mantou — the Northern Chinese bread, the diameter of an English muffin, the density of a fluffy bagel. Province’s version are slightly sweet and topped with a sprinkling of dark-toasted sesame seeds, which add a nice texture.

The snack-sized buns are $4.25 apiece, making them a bargain in the city’s most expensive zip code, but on the pricey end for the market a few blocks north in Chinatown; a filling meal can be made of two sandwiches for $8, or three for $11.75. Here, the short rib, topped with kimchi (lettuce may be substituted upon request), and the spicy pork, topped with Japanese takuan. Good stuff. I would have liked to stay on to sample more items, particularly the cold sesame noodles — “the must-eat item on the menu” — but this afternoon, I had neither ample appetite nor time.

Province mantou

As I raced back to the office, one particularly strong gust inverted and bent in half my favorite Lulu Guinness umbrella. Drats.

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