//Written by Harrison Yu//
You definitely know you are in Chinatown because of its distinctive smell. The scent of food, herbs, and baked goods drifts from the many restaurants in Chicago’s Chinatown. Situated towards the end of a complex known as New Chinatown is a rather dashing place called MingHin Cuisine.
Like many Chinese restaurants, MingHin has an attractive interior of glass and gold, but unlike its peers, there is no coat of grease upon its surfaces. In fact, its distinctly modern and unique feel makes a good first impression.
The service does not disappoint either. A captain or waiter monitors each cluster of tables, and the waitstaff constantly circulates around the tables to ensure that the teapots are full and that empty plates do not clutter the tables. Additionally, the staff are polite, professional and incredibly helpful when you are trying to discern between the many choices.
From my experience, the combination of lovely décor and well-mannered waitstaff made me expect very westernized Chinese food. But once I began reading through the menu, my perceptions changed. Yes, there is still General Tso’s chicken and the odd spattering of miscellaneous other Asian cuisines, but there is also an abundance and focus on authentic Cantonese dishes that would please the most discerning palate.
The dinner opened with an appetizer of jellyfish with pickled vegetables, which I do not recommend. The jellyfish had an odd brittle texture and strange appearance: a telltale sign that it is either old or of poor quality. However, the well-balanced seasoning and pleasant flavors and textures of the crab and fish maw soup redeemed this disappointment. It should be enjoyed hot or it becomes too thick and less intense in flavor.
The three main dishes were authentic and well done: winter melon and Dungeness crab, roast duck fried rice, and beef and Chinese broccoli. The winter melon was cooked just before it turned mushy, and the crab was steamed perfectly so that its sweetness and flavor were at their peaks. The duck fried rice was also delicious. A tinge of duck fat combined with a perfect amount of saltiness and scallions gave a lovely flavor to each grain of rice. The beef and Chinese broccoli is a standard dish at most restaurants, but MingHin has done it quite well. The beef was so tender that it just melts in your mouth. The Chinese broccoli was blanched to perfection and had a vibrant green and robust flavor. These dishes set a good impression. Next time, I would definitely try the braised abalone, the crab with ginger and spring onion and about a dozen other items on the menu.
MingHin has the whole package: food, service, and atmosphere. At the end of the meal, the manager even came out to say hello and chat for a bit, which was a very nice gesture. Plus, with the meal coming to about twenty dollars a person, including tax and tip, MingHin is good value as well.
|Neighborhood||Chinatown (New Chinatown)|
|Address||2168 S. Archer Ave Chicago, IL 60616|
|Hours||Everyday 8:00 AM – 2:00 AM|
|Price Range||$11 – $30|
|Other||Takes Reservations. Credit Cards Accepted.|