Friday, August 29, 2008

Ed's Pot Sticker House

Establishment Ed's Pot Sticker House
Address 3139 S. Halsted Chicago, IL 60608
312 326-6898
Type Northern Chinese/Mandarin Cuisine
Hours Mon-Thurs 10 am - 10 pm
Fri-Sat 10 am- 11 pm
Sun 10 am - 10 pm

Like sailors of old, the CA Scotch Couple have a restaurant in every port. For the Chicago that oft-visited institution is Ed's Pot Sticker House. The CA Scotch Couple travel to Ed's not for its eponymous potstickers, which are acceptable, but rather for its Szechuan Spicy Fish, which is sublime. On Sunday morning, the CA Scotch Couple made their pilgrimage before meeting Drambuie Girl and the Scotch Colonel.

Ed's is kind of off the beaten track. The neighborhood is Bridgeport, a traditional Irish and Eastern European enclave that has gradually acquired a larger Chinese population. If one has a car, it's probably not too difficult to get to, and parking seems ample. Since the CA Scotch Couple rely on public transport whenever they can, they take the orange line to Halsted and switch to the south bound Halsted 78 bus. One could walk from the Halsted El stop, but it is a bit of a hike.

There is much to praise about Ed's Pot Sticker House. The food is excellent, and the service is friendly. There is one aspect that CA Scotch Chick would change if she could, however. Ed's Potsticker House has stealth specials – specials that do not appear anywhere on any menu or on any white board but that are fantastic finds if one knows about them.  (Note to owners: Spring for a white board already)!

One of these specials is the Jian Bing (listed on the receipt as Crunchy Pancake). This traditional Beijing street food is a delicious egg wrapped pancake with thin sheets of wonton and a light sauce inside. It took three trips to Ed's before the CA Scotch Couple saw this little delicacy and asked what it was. According to the folks on Yelp it is not always available (Sunday lunch is one's best bet).  

Thinking back on this wonderful concoction, it would be really easy to mess it up. The Jian Bing would lose its magic if the wonton sheets were too thick or stale, or if there was too much sauce. Ed's does it perfectly - the wonton is amazingly thin and crispy, and the sauce is just right. 

Crunchy Pancake

The CA Scotch Couple's traditional carb overload dish at Ed's is the Smoked Pork Pancake, little slices of smoked pork wrapped in a scallion pancake. The first few times they had this dish, it was outstanding. The pork was very tasty, and the scallion pancake was multi-layered and flavorful. The last few times while the pork had retained its excellent taste, the scallion pancake had lost a bit of its lift. It is still a great dish, however.

Smoked Pork Pancake
As good as the Jiang Bing and the Smoked Pork Pancake are, however, the reason the CA Scotch Couple make the trip to Ed's Dumpling house is because of the Szechuan Spicy Fish. This whole fish is so crispy one can eat the tip of the tail and fins. The sauce strikes a sweet and spicy balance that is just right, and the meat on the fish is tender and flavorful. In all the restaurants in all the cities the CA Scotch Couple have visited, they have never encountered anything quite like this fish. It is worth the trip to Ed's for the fish alone.

Szechuan Spicy Fish

Because the CA Scotch Couple are usually at Ed's by themselves, and there is only so much one can order when one is staying at a hotel, they have only sampled a slice of what Ed's has to offer. The last trip there they noticed a waiter walking by with a stealth special – great chunks of yummy smelling cumin lamb. They plan to check it out on their next trip. In the meantime, they recommend that Loyal Scotch Chix Fans read up on Ed's at Yelp. Folks have recommended some really interesting dishes. Ah, so many meals, so little time.

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