Last week I found myself in Syracuse and of course made time to feast at China Road. Or rather I went to Syracuse in part because I knew it would mean going to China Road.
The menu included cold spicy cucumbers, soup dumplings (the adult version of Gushers), turnip cakes (pictured above, though not quite as good as those at the International Buddhist Society in Cambridge - mmm!), a "sausage" hot pot, sautéed pea greens (perhaps my favorite veg), and the best ma po tofu I've ever had.
It was a sensible menu for two raging omnivores and a vegan, but it really got good when, still hungry, us omni's ordered the spare ribs with rice powder, for dessert, and ate it with our hands.
China Road was my first introduction to real Chinese food, and it is very good, but I'm amazed to now have something even better right in my own backyard: Sichuan Gourmet II in Framingham.
While Grace Garden is still the tops, the S.G.2 is so good that, weeks later, I can't stop thinking about my last meal there: two kinds of equally porky and garlicky dumplings, cold sesame noodles, dan dan noodles, yu xiang eggplant, twice cooked bacon, fresh bamboo with spicy wonder sauce (the "wonder" was Sichuan peppercorn oil), and cumin flavored dry beef with chili sauce.
Still, I love China Road and will eat there anytime I'm in the neighborhood. At the very least it's always better than the only other meal I've had in Syracuse: a horrible, fatty lasagna I once ate while waiting for a locksmith to let me back into my car.