Pronounced “CHEEna poBLAno,” this is chef José Andres’ unlikely mash-up of two popular cuisines. The menu explains that they are related thanks to the Spanish galleons that brought Asian spices and fruits to Mexico and chilies to China. The best part? It’s not really fusion fare, as evidenced by the two different walk-up windows in front: one for tacos, one for dumplings. While we have successfully avoided learning what a ma-po tofu taco would taste like, ultimately China Poblano is a study in regional street food, which you are welcome to mix and match as you please. From the Chinese section (where all the prices end in 88¢ cents for good luck), we’re fans of the har gow, a standard on dim sum menus; the rou jia mo, the Chinese version of a hamburger with braised red pork on a sesame bun; and When Pigs Fly, steamed barbecue pork buns. Speaking of pigs flying, Andres is the only chef we’d allow to charge us $5 to $10 for one taco, reasonable for fillings like langoustine and slow-cooked Oaxacan-style beef. Also noteworthy are the super-cheesy chilaquiles in a bright green tomatillo salsa.
- Rick Garman