Sautéed Chinese yu choy ($7.95) — they were out of the peapod stems that I wanted — makes a terrific green vegetable, like fatter, sweeter broccoli rabe in a simple white sauce. Yu choy are the flowering greens of the rapeseed plant, sort of an uncle to canola oil. Don’t miss them.
As the nights get colder, my thoughts go to hot pots. Winsor has them, though served in ordinary bowls. The braised-beef-brisket-with-turnip kind ($10.95) was a fine assortment of beef, from the meaty to nearly pure gristle (very desirable to Chinese gourmets), all flavored with five-spice powder and producing a thick gravy, which benefits the bland chunks of white Chinese radish. Chicken with green peppers in black-bean sauce ($8.95) is the kind of simple, tasty stir-fry that belongs on chow-foon noodles. It’s just chicken breast, green bell peppers, and onions, but the bits of fermented black bean and the quick rush from wok to table make it special.
Most of Winsor’s desserts involve beans in syrup poured onto shaved ice. But mango and coconut milk with tapioca ($2.95) will appeal to any moderate sweet tooth, being more milky than coconut, with bits of mango among the tapioca.
Service is everything at a restaurant like this, and though there are gaps, when something is ready, it gets raced out of the kitchen as fast as in any Chinatown restaurant. That means dishes come out in whatever order they’re done, so some “appetizers” appear after some “entrées.” Despite a shortage of tables at peak hours, the servers will not hurry anyone. The old idea of dim sum as tea house snacks for lingering conversations lives on here.
While there is a detailed bilingual menu (and a sushi-palace-style checklist), there are whiteboard specials in Chinese only, and it pays to ask about them. The rooms, though small, don’t seem crowded. One reason is that waiters maintain a clear aisle for carrying out your food.
Robert Nadeau can be reached at RobtNadeau@aol.com.