I recently edited the last piece of the summer by our intern, Jennifer Kessman. Jenny and her two editors — Karen Croke and I — had an absolutely terrific meal at China White in Purchase.
Highly recommended. But I’ll let Jenny tell you:
When you’re planning a nice dinner out in Westchester, Chinese food does not spring immediately to mind. For a casual and quick meal, sure — nothing beats moo shoo pork and a heaping helping of fried rice. But for a several-course experience with fresh, elegantly prepared food, professional service, hand-crafted cocktails and a proper dessert? Not really. At least until now.
China White, which opened in Purchase in May (where The Creek used to be), is the antidote to greasy Chinese dishes served in badly lit dining rooms with pink tablecloths, drop ceiling tiles and fluorescent lights. China White is modern and hip, with cream-colored leather chairs, white tablecloths and big U-shaped bar with a sea of paper lanterns hanging above it. It’s inviting and comfortable. But best of all: the food’s great.
Executive chef Zhou Guang Zan strives to use organic, free-range and raised-right ingredients on his menu, including heritage pork, wild-caught fish and cage-free eggs. The simple syrup that comes with your tea is made with organic sugar.
And yes — even the tea is special.
Order the iced white ginger-peach variety and it arrives ready to be served on a tray of accessories.
First, the server pours the steeped Tea Forte tea from its small pitcher into a larger one filled with ice and freshly cut pear slices, then fills your glass, which has been pre-garnished with ice, mint, and orange slices. What a grand gesture, and an impressive start to the meal.
The vegetable summer rolls — paper-thin wrappers filled with meticulously julienned slices of cucumber, mango, jicama, apple and pickled ginger and mint — are a good introduction to the menu and the style of the food, which somehow manages to be airy and light without losing its punch of flavor.
Same goes for the Bao Bao buns, fluffy steamed buns filled with sweet, juicy roast pork and pickled cucumber and daikon radish for crunch.
Perfect for lunch is the Chop Chop salad, which has a lovely balance of chicken, chopped celery, mixed greens, jicama, tear drop tomatoes, English cucumbers, Granny Smith apples and fried wonton skins.
It’s lightly drizzled with a soy-ginger dressing.
Wok-sauteed prawns come with garlic chives, shiitake mushrooms, red onions, and snap peas, all enveloped in a silky ginger-wine sauce.
Sesame chicken is not the standard dish here: you can taste how fresh the chicken is with every bite — and instead of your typical green broccoli, China White serves sauteed bok choy.
The restaurant is owned by the cb5 Restaurant Group, led by Greenwich, Conn., resident Jody Pennette. The group also owns Lolita in Byram, Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse in Greenwich and Red Lulu in South Norwalk.
There is another China White in Greenwich, too, and yes, the name is a play on the street name for heroin. Keeping with that counterculture theme, along with the check, the servers might bring temporary tattoos and a wet washcloth so you can apply them. Or they might bring a serving of cotton candy, like they do at Lolita.
The service is prompt, friendly and professional, but we do think the servers’ white, one-piece jump suits are unfortunate. The waitstaff comes across looking like a cross between gas-station attendants and astronauts.
Before you ask for the check, you should consider dessert. Rather than slices of orange or fortune cookies in plastic, you have the chance to try a white chocolate hot pot, a fondue of sorts that comes with seasonal fruits, orange cake and crispy rice treats.
Sharing it family style, you can really feel the vibe China White is going for: fun, modern and sophisticated with some really tasty eats.
If you go …