On a recent Sunday afternoon my friends, cookbook author Angela Chang and her husband Humphrey, took me to a very nice lunch at Margaret Kuo’s in Wayne, PA. I had been here a few years previously, when Martin Yan hosted a special The Book & The Cook dinner event. The dynamic Ms. Kuo also owns three other restaurants around Philadelphia. The decor here is spectacular, full of lovingly collected antiques and other artwork. The first floor, called “The Dragon’s Liar,” is Chinese, the second floor, “The Akari room,” is Japanese, and the restaurant also is the scene of many special events in the downstairs banquet rooms.
Our food was very good, and while the menu offered a more interesting and upscale selection than is available at run-of-the-mill Asian restaurants, Ms. Kuo does not ignore humble home style dishes such as Mapo Tofu. Maybe the delicious lamb stew pictured here also comes from a tradition of home cooked meals ideal for a winter day. Of course, this version was made with choice cuts of boneless lamb, so right there it is elevated from the everyday, where neck bones might be more common. The vegetables were delicious, and appeared to be glazed with the slightly spicy sauce. It was altogether a most satisfying dish, and one of the first to disappear at the table.
The purpose of our lunch was for the Changs to get together with old friends from the Philadelphia Culinary Society, an organization that sadly no longer exists, save for an endowment that is still used for food-related charitable activities. But what more pleasant way to wile away a Sunday afternoon, than to visit with old friends over a leisurely meal? Xie Xie Angela and Humphrey!