Thursday, September 29, 2011

My, What Great Buns You Have

We hit Ejay Rin at the right time just as they expanded their menu and put some kick-ass duck on the menu.

Ejay Rin

We had headed off to Manchester for the Art Works 4th Friday shows (yours truly has a photo on display in the All Media exhibit). We then decided to hit Ejay Rin since we were in the neighborhood.

I liked the warehouse feel, the clean lines, and the giant fishes hanging on the walls.

Tables Chairs Bar

Our waitress, Jenny, was fun and noticed my WRIR t-shirt and talked about her volunteer work there. (BTW, kudos to all of you who donated this time around.) She let us know that there were new menu items and duck was one of the featured items.

We started off with a sparkling vinho verde. Light, refreshing, gulpable. And ordered some steamed wontons stuffed with local sausage and served with a tasty chili sauce. The wonton skins were thin and light, so the dough did not weigh down the appetizer. Delish.

Steamed Wontons

We then ordered a Novy Four Mile Creek Red from the North Coast of California. Some body, a hint of spice, a bit of jam. A good choice for the upcoming food.

Novy Four Mile Creek

We then had to try some steamed buns. But what to get? A no brainer for me. I ordered crispy duck breast with house-made duck sauce and jicama. Hubby tried the Korean fried chicken with spicy slaw and black bean sauce. Both were great and sported a great deal of flavor. I liked the meat, crunch (cabbage or jicama), and sauce combination on both. Hubby liked his chicken better. I liked my duck better. My duck buns were kick-ass. I might have to get these buns every time I come back.

Duck Buns

Korean Chicken Buns

We continued on our culinary exploration and selected the Rice Bowl with pulled pork, poached egg, vinegar carrots, cucumber, and scallions with a side order of Kimchi. When Ejay Rin first opened there was a rash of comments in the blogosphere about dishes tasting bland, not enough seasoning, etc. Here's my take: The wontons and steamed buns had spectacular flavor explosions with lovely sauces. The rice bowl was more laid back and since it did not explode with flavor, one could easily discount it. I added some soy sauce to give the dish a little punch. I took most of it home, since I had scarfed up buns and wontons earlier. When I had the rice bowl for lunch the next day, the subtleties of the pork and richness of the egg appeared.

Pulled Pork Rice Bowl

Of course, the toned-down nature of the rice bowl went well with the kicked up kimchi. I am surprised at how much I like kimchi. Granted, I've now only had it three times (Korean Gardens, my cafeteria at work, and Ejay Rin), but I really liked the spiciness and heat. Since I'm not a huge cabbage fan, this is phenomenal. And at least one other person likes the kimchee here, too. As we were arriving this guy was leaving and said that we had to try the amazing kimchi. He was right.


And I could not resist trying dessert: Fried buns with ginger pickled apples, pear/yuzu ricotta, and truffle honey. This was not hubby's cup of tea (or plate of sweetness). For me, the apple was okay. I really liked the fried buns and the ricotta combination. Fried dough and sweet creamy goodness.

Fried Dessert Buns

I was more than satisfied with my meal and the atmosphere. And, as an incentive to cross the river on a weeknight Ejay Rin features an "I'm not cooking tonight you Cheap Bastard!" special: $28 for two people (throw in a bottle of select wine offerings for an extra $15). The Cheap Bastard lets you select 4 steamed buns - all alike (get the duck buns - you'll be happy you did), a large bowl of vegetable fried rice with a pickle plate to share, and two almond cookies and scoop of  rice cream. You can add different types of protein for a few dollars more.

So, whether you are duck fans or cheap bastards, Ejay Rin has something for everyone. Go admire some buns soon.


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