China Grill Goes for Cheap Chic

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The ritzy, glitzy, over-the-top China Grill is giving us one more reason to visit: It's trying to be not so over-the-top. The famed eatery is now offering a "cheap chic" menu with half-sized entrées priced at a discount.

The wild mushroom profusion pasta with sake Madeira cream sauce can be ordered as a

half portion for $16 (or a whole order for $29). Same for the Moroccan

lamb osso buco ($18 or $32), the duck two ways ($23 or $42), the grilled

garlic shrimp with black fettuccini ($23 or $42), and a half dozen other entrées.

The undersized portions make sense at a place where

diners are meant to share -- and while they could easily drive the bill

higher for hungry diners, the cheap chic menu gives us a chance to try a

few more plates exploding with the intense flavors Jeffrey Chodorow's

restaurant is well-known for.

The cheap chic theme begins at

happy hour with half off selected sushi and specialty cocktails from 5

to 7 p.m. weekdays. And a $36 prix fixe menu seems like a steal with

offerings including curried chicken satay and crackling calamari salad

for appetizers, sake-marinated drunken chicken and barbecued wild salmon

for entrées, and bananas in a box for dessert.

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