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Purchase's China White Delivers the Unexpected

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, New York – When you go out for Chinese food, you tend to expect certain things. Or rather, you tend not to expect certain things. For instance, you don’t expect to eat organic. You don’t necessarily expected to be wowed by the kitchen’s creativity, or pleasantly surprised by elegant decor. And you don’t genreally expect concerns such as allergies or a vegan diet to be given much thought. Outside of Manhattan Chinese restaurants, I'd say it's safe to say you don't expect much at all.

China White , the Chinese restaurant with locations in Purchase, New York and Greenwich, Conn., has spent the past year defying your expectations into an art. The Purchase location turns one-year-old this month. And on my recent vist, I was reminded just how brightly this restaurant stands out from the crowd.

China White’s menu is sourced from organic, humanely and responsibly raised ingredients. They traffic only in organic chicken, heritage pork, organic beef, free-range duck, wild caught seafood, cage-free eggs and organic produce.

At the Purchase location, the dining room is a study in muted color and textures, offering a comfortable canvas on which the talented chefs proceed to amuse both your palette and your palate. As you settle into your table, the capable staff begins by tempting you with a trio of organic, house-made dipping sauces accompanied by crunchy fried wanton noodles, which pair beautifully with one of the traditional tiki bar drinks on the menu—like a Mai Tai or a Singapore Sling.

“We tried to take all the aspects that you’d expect from a stateside Chinese restaurant—like tiki bar drinks and a broad menu built for sharing—and elevate it to a level that makes it truly unexpected,” says China White General Manager, Paul Pizzonia. “Our kitchen is staffed by extremely talented Chinese chefs, lead by Chef Zhou Guang Zan, which gives the menu a level of authenticity that’s hard to beat. And we’ve paired them with a dining room staff who is well-versed in different dietary concerns and trained to exceed your expectations.”

On a recent visit, my dinner date and I were wowed by just about every dish that reached our table. The honey-plum glazed spare ribs were finger-licking good. And the chicken skewers, a new menu item, deceptive in their seeming simplicity, were artfully seasoned so that they unfold from sweet-to-savory in your mouth. The juicy Cantonese roast half chicken with crispy garlic and shallots was meal enough for two.

The dishes that really went the distance, though—and the dishes worth driving a distance for—were the tender black pepper beef sirloin tips paired with the spicy friend rice. And, to be totally honest, the spicy fried rice alone is worth crossing state lines. I am fairly certain the secret ingredient that made this dish so fabulous was cilantro, but the staff wouldn’t give up the goods.

“We wanted to take a product that had become unhealthy, and modernize it, make it healthy again,” says China White and cb5 Restaurant Group owner, Jody Pennette, who was enjoying dinner at the bar with his wife the night of my visit.

The desserts arrived and continued to impress. The crispy chocolate wantons with Tahitian vanilla ice cream were playful, while the ginger cheesecake with fresh berries mirrored the sophistication of the rest of the dishes.

The meal ended, as all meals do at China White, with a Magic 8 Ball placed on our table, a flirtatious nod to the restaurant’s double entendre moniker. “Instead of fortune cookies,” our server smiled.

Among the many questions we asked the plastic oracle, we did not inquire about a return visit to China White. We didn’t have to. It is certain.

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