Happy Lunar New Year! January 28th marks the first day of the Chinese New Year, the year of the rooster. Chef Josh Grinker of Kings County Imperial loves the lunar holiday because: “It’s all about the food. Each traditional dish has a symbolic meaning and represents different aspects of good fortune for the coming year, such as longevity and prosperity.”
In celebration, Grinker and Kings County Imperial’s Tracy Jane Young have assembled a special weekend menu (in addition to their mainstay offerings), beginning Friday, January 27th, to honor the holiday of good fortune. Read on to hear about the chef’s selection of special dishes and cocktails.
1. Mock Eel: Shiitake mushrooms doused in ginger, garlic, scallions and house-made soy sauce is meant to replicate the meaty umami flavor and texture of freshwater eels – a Chinese delicacy. Chef Josh Grinker explains: “In the Buddhist tradition of cooking, vegetables are intended to mimic animal proteins.” All-in-all, it’s a must-order.
2. Shrimp-and-Pork Shumai: In the Chinese New Year tradition, shumai is among the seven foods to be enjoyed for good fortune. This iteration is among the most decadent – it’s topped with tobiko roe, salmon eggs, and Russ & Daughters’ American paddlefish caviar. Lucky dumplings – what could be better?
3. Copper Well Street Noodles: For a twist on classic street noodles, this hand-pulled lo mein is dressed up with poached shrimp and baby bok choy, and topped off with a Szechuan chili oil-and-peppercorn vinaigrette. Best of all? These wheat noodles also symbolize happiness and longevity; eat up.
4. Dry Fried Long Beans: Long beans are a KCI mainstay, and in warmer months, they are sourced from the restaurant’s beautiful backyard garden. Not to be discounted as a “vegetable side,” these yard-long green beans are poached in soy oil and then stir-fried in a wok with pickled vegetables and ground pork for savory satisfaction.
5. Sa Cha Beef: Indulge in braised beef “Sa Cha style” – in a Fujian soy garlic paste that combines sea bream and shrimp. House-made silver needle noodles, choi sum, Chinese mushrooms and a garnish of fresh cilantro complete the saucy entree.
And two cocktails for good measure:
Drink #1. Dead Man Walking: “Dead Man Walking” is Beverage Director Richard Murphy’s reimagined take on the “Corpse Reviver.” Leopold Bros. Small Batch Whiskey is combined with Cocchi Americano, St. Germain and fresh lemon juice. A garnish of “Tiki Spritz” – a mixture of absinthe, allspice dram and tiki bitters – completes the fully-loaded cocktail. Pro tip: drink slowly.
Drink #2. Elvis Has Left the Building: This fruity tiki cocktail strikes a perfect balance when paired with KCI’s rich, flavor-laden dishes. NY Distilling Co. Rock ‘n’ Rye, Velvet Falernum and Blue Curacao are combined with fresh pineapple juice and ground cinnamon for a delightful tropical beverage.