What a difference a restaurant can make.
When Danny Emerman opened Bottino in 1996, it quickly became the go-to anchor for the Chelsea blocks filling with art galleries.
Now, 16 years and one High Line later, Emerman, dismayed with the movement of chains into the neighborhood, has opened Chop Shop. It features smart design, affordable prices and a fancy-free, footloose Asian menu of food prepared cleanly, simply and with care.
Take a seat in the mellow back garden for fried rice loaded with Chinese sausage, shiitake, fresh peas and shallots, mounted with a flying saucer of a fried egg ($10). The wheat noodles in the zha jiang mian ($10) are extralong and coated with an extradelicious sauce of ground pork, cucumber and cured tofu.
Flash-fried, blue-violet Japanese eggplant ($10) are tender-skinned, and a platter of spicy cold sesame noodles ($10) is that takeout dish you always want but never seems to materialize.
And so cheap and tasty was the Asian slaw ($3), with a winning mélange of Napa cabbage, Asian pear, celery root and garlic-chile mayonnaise, we were tempted to order it twice.
Chop Shop is the kind of place any neighbor would be lucky to have.
Chop Shop, 254 10th Ave. (between 24th and 25th sts.); 212-820-0333 or chop-shop.co
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