Diet for a Broke Planet

A brief guide to eating well in tough times

Owners Chloe and Erik Poon are from New York, as it happens, which explains why they've been able to win over the pickiest of local Chinese and American foodies. Their steamed shrimp dumplings (four for $3.25) were practically dewy, stuffed with big chunks of fresh, salty shellfish. Pan-fried pork dumplings (four for $2.35), crisply browned on the outside, were juicy within. A delectably gluey turnip cake ($2.75) emanated subtle, sulfuric whiffs of that earthy root. Shredded chicken in a peppery, sweet, red barbecue sauce filled a steamed chicken bun (four for $2.75), and shrimp seasoned and fried had been stuffed between deep purple halves of baby eggplants ($3.25). A chive dumpling ($3.25) pulled apart to reveal a sharp, grassy, emerald-colored interior. Thumb-sized steamed spareribs ($2.35) were succulent, pleasantly fatty, not greasy. A new addition to the menu, vegetable dumplings, had been filled with water chestnuts, peanuts, and bean sprouts ($2.75), making a light, crunchy, palate-cleansing foil for the heavier dishes. For dipping, we had very hot mustard, a bowl of red chili oil, soy sauce, and teriyaki. Everything was beautifully seasoned and right out of the steamer or frying pan — nothing had been left to sit under hot lights or had spent too much time trolling the room on a metal cart (Grand Lake serves some dishes, but not all, from carts). We showed up around 11 a.m. Sunday, and by the time we left at 12:30, the room was packed with Chinese families spooning up bowls of seafood congee and divvying up the honey-roast pork.

Grand Lake has quite a lot going for it apart from the dim sum — a specials board offers winter melon soup. Exotic fare includes jellyfish, chicken feet, and frog congee. An efficient staff is willing to answer questions about whole fish, sizzling veal platters, casseroles of salted fish, chicken, and tofu; or imperial duck, Mongolian lamb, cold noodles in sesame sauce, and shark's fin soup (a special-occasion dish at $55 for the tureen). The menu is vast; the fish tanks are stocked; rows of roast ducks hang behind a window at the rear of the dining room. Geographically so far from New York, perched on an open highway diving straight into the heat of a palmetto-pricked Central Florida, Grand Lake is honest-to-God Chinatown in spirit.

Joe Rocco

Location Info

Map

Grand Lake Chinese Restaurant

7750 Okeechobee Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33411

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: West Palm Beach

Details

Grand Lake Chinese Restaurant, 7750 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Open for dim sum 11 a.m. till 4 p.m. daily, for dinner till 10 p.m. Call 561-688-1185. Also, Heart Rock Sushi, 1970 Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Open for lunch and dinner daily, 11 a.m. till 10 p.m. Call 954-779-2735.

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So listen, keep paying your gardener and the girl who does your pedicures — you don't know squat about fertilizing citrus, and your toes are too far away to reach. Your part-time nanny's kids can still plan on going to college — who needs the guilt? A smart economizer is a well-fed economizer. Stuff while you save on taro shrimp cake ($3.25), coconut pudding ($2.35), a skewer or four of yakitori mushrooms, and a free pot of Chinese tea.

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