China White Purchase Closed: Farewell, but Not Goodbye

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China White in Purchase, which burst onto the dining scene in 2011 serving organic, seasonal and beautifully presented Chinese food, has closed. But fans of the restaurant will be please to know the reason: it is going national. A location is planned for the area — possibly in Scarsdale — and will open some time in 2014.

Owner Jody Pennette and the cb5 Restaurant Group — which also owns Lolita in Byram, Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse in Greenwich and Red Lulu in South Norwalk — opened China White Purchase, on Anderson Hill Road in the space previously occupied by The Creek, because they wanted a quality Chinese restaurant. (There was a China White Greenwich, too. It is also closed.)

“I still want to have Chinese spare ribs, I just don’t want to feel sick and unhealthy halfway through eating them,” he says. To build the menu, Peter Klein, the culinary director and a partner in the restaurant, spent months researching recipes in Chinatown. They hired a talented chef to prepare familiar dishes, but with an upscale twist.

Vegetable summer rolls were paper-thin wrappers filled with meticulously julienned slices of cucumber, mango, jicama, apple and pickled ginger and mint. Sesame chicken was served with bok choy instead of the typical broccoli. Tiki-style cocktails were prepared with fresh juices.

But they kept tweaking their concept, and as it turns out, when the new China White brand launches, the location — an old house in a residential neighborhood — would have clashed with the brand.

“So rather than run what looks like a home grown version of it, (our backers) thought the idea was way too valuable and bold to be operating a version that wasn’t a pure form,” says Pennette. “Because there were a lot of limitations in that particular location.”

So farewell, for now, China White. We’ll miss your Chop Chop salad. Your tableside tea service. But hopefully we’ll see you soon in Scarsdale.

Previous coverage of China White here.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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