At the suggestion of my long-time friend and colleague, Virginia, she and I ventured to the delightfully quaint Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia for lunch at CinCin. I ate a lot of meals in Chestnut Hill during the 90s and CinCin was one of my somewhat regular haunts back then. But this was the first time I’ve been there in many years.
It’s moderately upscale and has a more elegant appearance – both inside and out – than the average Chinese restaurant, while the menu features a mix of old-school standards and more modern cuisine.
Virginia started with the more traditional – crispy spring rolls; while I opted for what has become an extremely popular appetizer at various genres of restaurants in the Philly area – cheesesteak egg rolls, which also happen to go well with the theme of this blog. While I enjoyed the crust very much, their small size made it impossible for much meat to fit in the egg rolls.
I weighed several entrée options, including my old favorite, Sweet & Sour pork, as well as the interesting-sounding beef with brandy-hoisin sauce. But it had been a fairly long time since I’ve had General Tso’s chicken, and I went in that direction. It was excellent, both in terms of flavor and presentation.
Virginia’s Sichuan sesame chicken wasn’t exactly what we expected. I’m used to sesame chicken being breaded, almost like General Tso’s chicken with the addition of sesame seeds. But CinCin’s version came sans the breading. Virginia enjoyed it nonetheless, although she was disappointed that her old-school stand-by – Kung Pao chicken – was not on the menu.
On the side, we were presented with a bowl of good fried rice, which was a nice step up from the usual steamed white rice.
I’ve got a different style of lunch scheduled tomorrow with yet another old friend and will be back to report on it late in the afternoon.
7 thoughts on “CinCin: Chinese Food Elegance”
You are making me so jealous! I want East Coast Chinese food and I’m okay with Vietnamese or Korean influences. It’s just not what we get on the West Coast. We have California Chinese.
We used to have ECC but I haven’t seen it for years.
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Are you near Los Angeles and does it have a decent Chinatown? I think I ate in their Chinatown once many years ago; possibly during the 1984 Olympics.
Both chicken dishes look good; General Tso’s is one of my favorites because it usually doesn’t contain significant vegetables other than broccoli. While I very much enjoy the flavors of Chinese food, oftentimes I work around a lot of the vegetables – the sesame chicken is a good example of that.
Too bad CinCin doesn’t have shrimp toast as an appetizer…
I agree with you completely about broccoli and most of the other vegetables that come in Chinese dishes.
If I were there, I would have tried the cheesesteak eggroll. That has to be an “only in Philadelphia” sort of eggroll. If they had set up shop in my section of the country, I guess their menu would have had a BBQ mutton eggroll.
The other item on that shortened menu you posted that looked interesting was Grilled Thai Chicken with a spicy peanut vinaigrette. When I go to Chinese restaurants, I try to find things that I haven’t tried before. So I’d probably go with those two items. I imagine the menu has many other unusual offerings to sample.
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Hi Louis. I’ve actually wondered whether cheesesteak egg rolls are an only in the Philly-region thing. I know cheesesteaks are found all over the country. And I actually see them more often at non-Chinese restaurants. They’ve become a very common appetizer, at least around here. You see them at pizza places and general American restaurants.