TASTY TREATS And nicely priced, too.
Since the Chinese invented gunpowder, the toothbrush, and paper money, we might as well also credit them with Spanish tapas and Scandinavian smörgåsbord. We know their version as dim sum, and Golden Chopstix in Westerly does a pretty good job of them.
A table spread with succulent morsels and exotic goodies invites gustatorial fellowship and slow-food leisure. The surroundings here are amiable to such, with bright turquoise banquettes and hanging paper lanterns, a bar prominent at the entrance to immediately suggest clinking wine glasses and stronger conviviality enhancements. The entryway is plastered with handwritten announcements of specials in Chinese as well as English, indicating a core ethnic clientele.
A scan of the menu reveals items destined for connoisseur consumption, pan-China dishes from Canton and Szechwan, Hunan and Hong Kong: "hand-shredded" salt-baked chicken and sautéed lily bulbs with three kinds of mushrooms; sautéed pork intestines or pork tripe with pickled cabbage; and that eternal head-scratcher for me, beef tendon (why not boiled chicken bones until they're as "tender"?).
Actually, we did end up ordering an item that normally I would run from, probably to the bathroom — chicken feet. Staring at you like that from the menu, the words are as unappetizing as toenails. That they were in a black bean sauce didn't improve things for me. But Gary, my dining companion, was getting all nostalgic because his sweet Jewish grandmother used to prepare her version for him. The dark sauce made this abundance of fat cigarillos-length pieces look, dare I say, appetizing. I ventured to have one and found the experience, well, glutinous and black-beany. Not to my taste but not bad. I spit out the little bones and made no more derisive remarks.
There are nearly four dozen dim sum opportunities on the menu most priced $2.95, with some $3.50 and $3.95. MSG-free. First the menu puzzlements. There seems to be an American tradition with Chinese restaurant menus to leave in typos (one such place I frequent recently violated the practice by correcting their listing of some sort of "prok"). We were glad we didn't order one item that seemed to be three kinds of beef, but upon inquiry "steamed beef triple" proved to be tripe. Something called "carrots choopte" sounded intriguing, but the combination of the vegetable with fish balls was something we decided to pass on. Even more intriguing was "Full Guc"; they weren't going to pass off any of that half guc you find at other places. In fact, it sounded like a pretty reasonable combination of shrimp and pork. But they were out of it. Sigh.
Our soldiering on proved rewarding, though. First brought out were the chicken feet, maybe so their anticipation wouldn't gloom-out the rest of the meal. Also scallion pancakes, which were fried layers of phyllo-like dough rather than the usual somewhat thicker version, but they worked with the soy dipping sauce. We also had "Fried Dumpling w. Saucy Fillings," described to us by our very helpful waitress as being sweet on the outside and salty on the inside. The baby-fist-sized puffs contained a heaping tablespoon of minced pork in a sauce that was deliciously brash and impertinent indeed.