The concentration of Chinese restaurants around the University at Buffalo has grown with the addition of a barbecue specialist.
Eddie’s Chophouse, 3171 Main St., opened July 13, specializing in roast pork and chicken, served on rice, or in noodle soup. It also offers roast duck, spare ribs, dumplings, tea eggs, and a small menu of other dishes and snacks.
Owner Eddie Liang, a former UB student who grew up in Brooklyn, said he started the restaurant because he thought Chinese barbecue could be popular in the area. Rice boxes, lunch-size servings of meat on rice with sautéed cabbage, are $4.85 to $6. Meats are also available in plates (more meat, no rice or vegetable), and by the pound.
Eddies's is a barbecue specialist. It doesn't offer the vast majority of the American Chinese and Chinese Chinese dishes you may have become accustomed to other places. No fried rice, no beef with broccoli.
There is, however, refreshing mint lemonade.
Chinese barbecue is cooked in large pieces and hacked up with a cleaver before serving. The roast pork is boneless, but the spare ribs, chicken and duck require a bit of bone navigation to eat in comfort. (The spare ribs, top image, have large bones, but it still takes getting used to if you weren't expecting bones.)
The roast duck box ($5.25) below, is a good example of what this place does well. The duck was fresh and brushed with a thin sweet sauce. The meat was tender, and the bones actually help you slow down and not snarf it too fast. The skin is mostly rendered but there's some fat left.
It's designed to be eaten as an ensemble; that fat and rich meat leavens a heap of fluffy rice and vegetable - in this case green cabbage that's been sauteed long enough to soften it slightly, but not rob it of crunch. Eat the rice and cabbage too, and it's a solid $5 meal.
The roast pork box below ($4.85) offers tender meat that still has pockets of fat, covered in a characteristic reddish glaze that caramelized at the tips. Rice and cabbage is the same.
The spare ribs box ($5.25) below had two chubby pork ribs and easy-to-remove bones.
The roast chicken box below ($5) had bones, as chickens do, but also the additional treat of a ginger-scallion sauce that you can dunk morsels of the tender, moist chicken into.
All of the meats can be rendered as noodle bowls, ($6.50-$6.75, or $7.50 for a two-meat bowl) with your choice of rice noodles, egg noodle, or macaroni, with some Chinese greens and scallions in chicken broth. We decided to try the dumplings with egg noodles in the bowl below ($6.75). The dumplings, made at Eddie's, have coarse ground pork and mushrooms inside, and are available separately ($5.50 for 6.)
There is a vegetable dish, steamed yu choy with oyster sauce, cilantro and scallion ($4.95).
There's also an array of skewers (2/$3.50, 3/$5)). Shown below are beef, shrimp, fish ball and chicken. They were decent but a bit chewy.
Eddie's is a bare-bones place, but serves fresh, filling food fast, for a small amount of money. It made me miss my favorite Chinese barbecue, Greater NY Noodletown on the Bowery, something fierce. The meats weren't quite that fine, but they solid examples, and the best of their kind in Buffalo, which means I'll be back.
When University at Buffalo students return to University Heights in a couple of weeks, the meat-eaters among them have a delicious surprise waiting.