Neighborhood Watch: Bridgeport

Six reasons to beeline to Bridgeport

There's more than a day's worth of great eating in Bridgeport–especially with the recent addition of two excellent Chinese destinations. Add Bridgeport Coffee, Pleasant House and Nana, and you have a weekend of edible exploration.

Homestyle Taste: The fresh, spiced and vinegary flavors of Dongbei (Northeast China) shine in dishes like wide, cold mung-bean noodles ($10) with sesame-paste dressing, and spinach with peanuts and vinegar ($6). Pair them with a dish from the opposite end of the flavor spectrum, pork belly in sweet, savory, star-anise-scented "brown sauce" ($11), garnished with dense triangles of cornbread. 3205 S. Halsted St.; 312-949-9328 or homestyletastechinese.com

Northern City: Save the region's classic bone-in, cumin-scented lamb for Bridgeport's second new Dongbei-style restaurant. Northern City's rendition is a stunner: Caramelized hunks of meat rubbed with garlic, cumin and chile and roasted until they fall off the bone with only the slightest pull ($15). The smoked-pork pancake, with fresh scallions and hoisin sauce tucked into pan-fried scallion pancakes ($7), is another requisite table topper. 742 W. 31st St.; northerncity.com

Maria's: A great Bridgeport night should end at Maria's, an unassuming bar with smart cocktails, craft beers and excellent (often live) music. Don't leave without the newest edition of Mash Tun, the owners' beer journal. 960 W. 31st St.; 773-890-0588 or community-bar.com