How 'Bout Them Knockers: Chef Chu
3355 Trinity Mills
Promised delivery time: 40 minutes
Delivered in: almost precisely 40 minutes
Degree of difficulty: 3
Phone psych-out attempt: -25 (for attempt), +25 (because it worked)
Nods to Charlie Chan era stereotyping: 15
Probably unwarranted hygiene concerns: -8
Food quality (in terms of poundage): 37
Food quality (in terms of food quality): -9
Environmental friendliness: -20
Potential for hangover relief: 10
4. Chef Chu (North Dallas) 68
Every once in awhile you need General Tsao's chicken.
How you spell it or if you even know the exploits of this fabled 19th century leader (that's him in the illustration) and can answer the question of why he waited until the 1970s to invent the dish, doesn't matter. The Savior of Hunan understood home delivery and the basic human craving for fried chicken covered in sticky sweet, spicy sauces.
Now, General Tsao's is an American institution making its way far too slowly into other markets. I was forced to abstain during my stint overseas, so upon my return I phoned Chef Chu for a dinner-sized portion. My second call, some days later, met with laconic suggestive selling: "you want fried wonton, too?"
Hell, a one-time customer and already they're tracking my orders, building a profile.
Not willing to be plotted on some marketing graph, I double crossed the phone guy with a clever "no, hot and sour soup." I really wanted fried wonton but his obvious ploy called for a bold, unexpected move to snatch the initiative away from Chef Chu and their customer modeling efforts. The surprised order taker never saw it coming.
Of course, I was stuck with a Styrofoam cup of brownish-black stuff. But maintaining one's personal swagger is more important.
They delivered almost to the minute--a nice trick,
considering the vicissitudes of north
The only highlight was the delivery itself--or, rather, the delivery driver: a young man of Asian ancestry sporting long, pointed fingernails. It's the type of thing you'd expect from Film Noir era depictions, when patient, inscrutable, curiously bearded and manicured Chinese opium kingpins failed time and again to foil streetwise private eyes. While the reminder of stereotypes past was interesting (and point-worthy), less appetizing thoughts ensued.
Oh, well--the food wasn't good, but at least there was a lot of it.