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Homestyle Taste in Bridgeport- Dongbei/Northeast Chinese

Homestyle Taste in Bridgeport- Dongbei/Northeast Chinese
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  • Post #31 - July 6th, 2014, 11:59 am
    Post #31 - July 6th, 2014, 11:59 am Post #31 - July 6th, 2014, 11:59 am
    In probably a dozen meals here, I have never received the cabbage appetizer.

    Glad to hear it's doing well on weekends. Weekday dinners it can be pretty sparse.
  • Post #32 - August 25th, 2014, 1:21 pm
    Post #32 - August 25th, 2014, 1:21 pm Post #32 - August 25th, 2014, 1:21 pm
    Does anyone know if BYOB is OK here? I've been here several times and never seen anyone drinking anything but tea...
  • Post #33 - August 25th, 2014, 1:55 pm
    Post #33 - August 25th, 2014, 1:55 pm Post #33 - August 25th, 2014, 1:55 pm
    mgmcewen wrote:Does anyone know if BYOB is OK here? I've been here several times and never seen anyone drinking anything but tea...


    I can't think of a trip we made to Homestyle Taste without an abundant supply of beer and booze. It's a great place to BYO.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #34 - August 26th, 2014, 12:02 pm
    Post #34 - August 26th, 2014, 12:02 pm Post #34 - August 26th, 2014, 12:02 pm
    Thanks Laikom! We brought some beer and had some great dishes. One of my favorites is the cold spicy pig ear. Spicy, sour and tender. I LOVED the stewed mushroom with chicken. Amazing broth with cornbread? I'll order that any time.

    The potatoes and eggplant dish was pretty good, but I wouldn't order it again. We also had the fried sweet potato special, which turned out to be some kind of a fritter with a gooey potato filling. Interesting, but the flavor was a bit boring.
  • Post #35 - September 22nd, 2014, 8:08 pm
    Post #35 - September 22nd, 2014, 8:08 pm Post #35 - September 22nd, 2014, 8:08 pm
    Last night 8 of us dined at Homestyle, we all shared:

    Lychee Iced Tea - I found this too sweet

    Tofu w/preserved egg - as good as posted up thread, really liked the cold creamy tofu w/the salty preserved egg

    Tendon w/chilies - I enjoy the flavor, it was good, think I'll order something else next time

    Cumin lamb stir fry - not as good as in the past, this was boneless which maybe makes a difference as this was more saucy than dry

    Stewed mushroom & chicken soup pot - really enjoyed from a home comfort POV, but a dish that I've now feel I've been there, done that so no need to order again

    Hand tear beef jerkey over chilies - didn't someone state best beer snack ever? Our table agreed.

    Stir fry spinach w/peanuts & vinegar - I REALLY liked this dish

    Sea cucumber & pork w/ginger brown sauce - ok, nothing special, will order something else next time
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #36 - December 27th, 2014, 6:59 pm
    Post #36 - December 27th, 2014, 6:59 pm Post #36 - December 27th, 2014, 6:59 pm
    Our family had a very nice Christmas Eve dinner at Homestyle. It was busy, but not crazy busy, and we had made a reservation. We followed a number of recommendations in this thread (too many!) and really enjoyed the tofu with preserved egg; the cabbage salad; the cold spinach with vinegar and peanuts; the smoked pork roll; the cumin lamb with bone; and the stewed mushrooms and chicken iron pot. We didn't care so much for the sweet and sour pork, which was dry and tough. For my not-so-adventurous daughter, we had chicken fried rice (very good) and potstickers (large, but average). I especially liked the smoked pork roll's fried flat bread in contrast to the slightly smoky, slightly chewy pork. The cumin lamb was also wonderfully tender and well-flavored with cumin's distinct taste.

    This is not a place we would have known about except for LTHers, so once again, my family ate well as a result of this forum. It is a bit of a drive for us, but I would like to return.
  • Post #37 - March 6th, 2015, 11:29 pm
    Post #37 - March 6th, 2015, 11:29 pm Post #37 - March 6th, 2015, 11:29 pm
    I finally convinced my wife (she is something of a southern China elitist) to get out to Bridgeport and try some Dongbei cuisine and it was totally worth it.

    Tofu with cabbage - This is phenomenal with perfect texture and well balanced flavors. Highlight of the meal for me.

    Spinach w/ peanuts in vinegar - I love black vinegar so I enjoyed this dish even though the texture of the spinach left a bit to be desired.

    Pork and Sour Cabbage Stew - Really exemplary version of a soup you see variations on everywhere in China. However, I found the pork belly slices the worst part, lacking in flavor and being far overcooked. Solid, but probably not worth ordering again. Is the lamb with winter melon substantially different in flavor?

    Cumin Lamb with Bone - Best rendition of this dish I have ever had, far surpassing any Sichuan version. Still, I think this dish will just never be a standout for me or my wife.

    I am already planning a return visit to try other recommendations. Thanks for the tip LTH, Homestyle Taste is a winner.
  • Post #38 - March 22nd, 2015, 3:39 pm
    Post #38 - March 22nd, 2015, 3:39 pm Post #38 - March 22nd, 2015, 3:39 pm
    Hi everyone. I have disturbing news about Homestyle Taste and I am not sure what to do about it. I love the place, but I have noticed on two of my visits that the sales tax appears to be too high. They appear to be charging 10.75% which is not the rate anywhere in Chicago. I brought it up to them today and they did nothing about it. I have pictures of the receipts as proof. Has anyone else noticed this?

    Should I report them and who do I report them to? I don't want to burden a great restaurant, but this rankles me.
  • Post #39 - March 22nd, 2015, 4:27 pm
    Post #39 - March 22nd, 2015, 4:27 pm Post #39 - March 22nd, 2015, 4:27 pm
    botd wrote:Hi everyone. I have disturbing news about Homestyle Taste and I am not sure what to do about it. I love the place, but I have noticed on two of my visits that the sales tax appears to be too high. They appear to be charging 10.75% which is not the rate anywhere in Chicago. I brought it up to them today and they did nothing about it. I have pictures of the receipts as proof. Has anyone else noticed this?


    I have only been there once (and I loved it). Our party of floor laughed out loud when the bill arrived; it was around $41. To paraphrase the old cliche: a bargain at twice the price. So, no, I'm not bothered by a $0.40 discrepancy on the bill, be it a simple oversight or a nefarious scheme. I don't dismiss your concern about it, I just choose to shrug my shoulders and let it slide.
  • Post #40 - March 22nd, 2015, 5:32 pm
    Post #40 - March 22nd, 2015, 5:32 pm Post #40 - March 22nd, 2015, 5:32 pm
    tapler wrote:
    botd wrote:Hi everyone. I have disturbing news about Homestyle Taste and I am not sure what to do about it. I love the place, but I have noticed on two of my visits that the sales tax appears to be too high. They appear to be charging 10.75% which is not the rate anywhere in Chicago. I brought it up to them today and they did nothing about it. I have pictures of the receipts as proof. Has anyone else noticed this?


    I have only been there once (and I loved it). Our party of floor laughed out loud when the bill arrived; it was around $41. To paraphrase the old cliche: a bargain at twice the price. So, no, I'm not bothered by a $0.40 discrepancy on the bill, be it a simple oversight or a nefarious scheme. I don't dismiss your concern about it, I just choose to shrug my shoulders and let it slide.


    I'm sure it was an honest mistake. Just walk in with a clipboard and a stern look on your face, then tell them they need to start charging the correct amount.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #41 - March 22nd, 2015, 6:33 pm
    Post #41 - March 22nd, 2015, 6:33 pm Post #41 - March 22nd, 2015, 6:33 pm
    The sales tax at restaurants is 10.75% in places subject to the MPEA tax.
  • Post #42 - March 22nd, 2015, 6:35 pm
    Post #42 - March 22nd, 2015, 6:35 pm Post #42 - March 22nd, 2015, 6:35 pm
    Oh, does Bridgeport count as being "Downtown"? I never considered that.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #43 - March 22nd, 2015, 6:46 pm
    Post #43 - March 22nd, 2015, 6:46 pm Post #43 - March 22nd, 2015, 6:46 pm
    botd wrote:Hi everyone. I have disturbing news about Homestyle Taste and I am not sure what to do about it. I love the place, but I have noticed on two of my visits that the sales tax appears to be too high. They appear to be charging 10.75% which is not the rate anywhere in Chicago. I brought it up to them today and they did nothing about it. I have pictures of the receipts as proof. Has anyone else noticed this?

    Should I report them and who do I report them to? I don't want to burden a great restaurant, but this rankles me.

    Darren72 wrote:The sales tax at restaurants is 10.75% in places subject to the MPEA tax.

    Looking at the map, it doesn't appear they are in the MPEA zone but it's very close (a block or 2) and perhaps the rate they are passing through represents nothing more than them erring on the side of caution.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #44 - March 22nd, 2015, 7:16 pm
    Post #44 - March 22nd, 2015, 7:16 pm Post #44 - March 22nd, 2015, 7:16 pm
    Darren72 wrote:The sales tax at restaurants is 10.75% in places subject to the MPEA tax.


    Are you sure it isn't 10.5%?
  • Post #45 - March 22nd, 2015, 7:23 pm
    Post #45 - March 22nd, 2015, 7:23 pm Post #45 - March 22nd, 2015, 7:23 pm
    milz50 wrote:
    Darren72 wrote:The sales tax at restaurants is 10.75% in places subject to the MPEA tax.


    Are you sure it isn't 10.5%?


    My understanding is that it's 9.5% + 0.25% citywide restaurant tax + 1% MPEA where applicable.
  • Post #46 - March 22nd, 2015, 7:38 pm
    Post #46 - March 22nd, 2015, 7:38 pm Post #46 - March 22nd, 2015, 7:38 pm
    Darren72 wrote:
    milz50 wrote:
    Darren72 wrote:The sales tax at restaurants is 10.75% in places subject to the MPEA tax.


    Are you sure it isn't 10.5%?


    My understanding is that it's 9.5% + 0.25% citywide restaurant tax + 1% MPEA where applicable.

    The base tax is 9.25%, not 9.5%
  • Post #47 - March 22nd, 2015, 8:47 pm
    Post #47 - March 22nd, 2015, 8:47 pm Post #47 - March 22nd, 2015, 8:47 pm
    I, too, really love this restaurant, but have endured a few billing shenanigans as well, particularly when ordering online. Namely, something always gets messed up. Once we ordered through the website, and they called us to say that a price was wrong and they would be charging us more. Then we tried to circumvent that and ordered through GrubHub, and though we included a tip online, they later called us back to inform us that we hadn't tipped them. Food's great, but we've ceased ordering in from there, and now go cash-only in person.
  • Post #48 - March 23rd, 2015, 12:42 pm
    Post #48 - March 23rd, 2015, 12:42 pm Post #48 - March 23rd, 2015, 12:42 pm
    milz50 wrote:The base tax is 9.25%, not 9.5%


    You are right. The document that I was looking at was a couple of years old. The base rate was previously 9.5% and has since gone down to 9.25%.
  • Post #49 - March 27th, 2015, 4:40 pm
    Post #49 - March 27th, 2015, 4:40 pm Post #49 - March 27th, 2015, 4:40 pm
    My understanding was that it should be 9.5% as they don't appear to be in MPEA, but we were twice charged 10.75% which would always be incorrect. In the end it amounts to far less than a dollar a visit, so I may bring it up once more and then just drop it.
  • Post #50 - March 27th, 2015, 5:17 pm
    Post #50 - March 27th, 2015, 5:17 pm Post #50 - March 27th, 2015, 5:17 pm
    If you actually do feel you were overcharged and the restaurant is not cooperative, the City of Chicago does allow restaurant complaints to be filed online. You can even attach a picture of the receipt.
    http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/de ... laint.html

    That said, I would always try to clear up any confusion with the restaurant first before escalating to the city.
  • Post #51 - July 13th, 2015, 12:42 pm
    Post #51 - July 13th, 2015, 12:42 pm Post #51 - July 13th, 2015, 12:42 pm
    Had a fantastic meal at Homestyle Taste last night, as we always do. We didn't cover any new ground on the menu, but we did experience the absolutely most attentive and helpful service for my infant daughter I've had in any restaurant. They cleaned the floor after she dropped some food on the ground, they wiped her face when my hands were full, and they even wiped my shoulder when she slobbered on me. I couldn't have felt more welcome.
  • Post #52 - July 14th, 2015, 8:03 am
    Post #52 - July 14th, 2015, 8:03 am Post #52 - July 14th, 2015, 8:03 am
    This place is always great. Sadly, we moved north of the loop and this makes it much harder to get to.

    I am not sure if anyone has mentioned it yet, but the spicy pig ear dish is fantastic, one of the best cold pig ear appetizers I have eaten anywhere.

    I am currently trying to replicate the dressing on the cabbage and tofu salad. I am guessing it is just rice vinegar, sugar and a dash of chili oil and soy sauce but it is hard to get that perfect balance.
  • Post #53 - December 14th, 2015, 2:37 pm
    Post #53 - December 14th, 2015, 2:37 pm Post #53 - December 14th, 2015, 2:37 pm
    Three of us had another very good meal at Homestyle Taste on Friday night. It's hard to try more items on the menu when the smoked pork roll and cumin lamb on the bone are impossible to resist. I love that pork roll. However, at my son's urging (he's not a lamb eater--no one's perfect), we tried a pork and eggplant dish that had a nice sour tang to it and lots of well-cooked creamy Chinese eggplant. On a Friday night, the place was hopping; service was a bit slow but competent.
  • Post #54 - December 14th, 2015, 4:16 pm
    Post #54 - December 14th, 2015, 4:16 pm Post #54 - December 14th, 2015, 4:16 pm
    Well EvA, I have the same problem but we managed to soldier on and try some new things a few weeks ago. We tried the sweet and sour squirrel fish preparation, a specialty of northeast China. While I don't really like the Dongbei style of sweet and sour pork (Shanghai version is much preferable being more vinegary and less sweet), it works much better with a fried fish. Also the enoki mushroom and cucumber cold salad is another fantastic cold dish at Homestyle Taste.
  • Post #55 - January 3rd, 2016, 12:58 pm
    Post #55 - January 3rd, 2016, 12:58 pm Post #55 - January 3rd, 2016, 12:58 pm
    New years eve eve, a group of friends descended upon Homestyle Taste. Our group grew from 8-16 w/the staff handling it w/o a blink of an eye as we continued to grow. Great food that included:
    stewed shroom's w chix (yes, chix is still a bit dry, but must be the style)
    hand tear dried beef
    preserved egg w/tofu
    cumin lamb on bone
    spinach w/vinegar and pnuts
    pea tips
    cold wide noodle
    smkd pork roll
    homemade style tofu
    iron pork pot w/pickled cabbage

    Most everything was ordered x2. Dinner came to $225 with generous tip bringing it up to $300, a feast was had for $20 per.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #56 - September 6th, 2016, 7:17 pm
    Post #56 - September 6th, 2016, 7:17 pm Post #56 - September 6th, 2016, 7:17 pm
    This weekend my girlfriend was visiting town from NYC. She is originally from Dongbei (moved to Shanghai while a teenager, went to college in Beijing, and then came to the US about 3 years ago) and awhile ago I had mentioned that Chicago had a handful of Dongbei restaurants not far from Chinatown. I had suggested Homestyle Taste to her as I had heard it's very good. When we pulled up, she kind of laughed because the Chinese name for the restaurant is actually "Shenyang Restaurant." Shenyang is the capital and largest city in Liaoning if you didn't know, and also where her father is from.

    The inside is of course a kind of no frills Chinese place. She had remarked to me about half way through the meal that she felt as if she were in China - not only because most of the people there were Chinese, speaking Chinese, but also the decor of the place was very much like what you'd find in China down to these fake peppers hanging on the walls.

    We ordered too much food for two people because of course - our eyes are always bigger than our heads. We ordered the "sliced potato salad" (tu dou si), lamb skewers, "pan fried smoked pork cake", sour cabbage/pork dumpling, Stewed Pork & Clear Noodle in Brown Sauce, and "Stir-Fried Pork w.Dry Bean Curd & Jalapeno " appetizer.

    I burned my tongue a little bit on the pork/pepper appetizer right away but was able to eventually recover during the meal for the most part. This appetizer tasted pretty good, though according to my girlfriend was the least authentic and least good thing we ate - because they used too much garlic and not enough hot peppers. The tu dou si was also pretty good, though because of my burned tongue, I could not taste the acid components as much. Still decent though.

    I think the real stars though were everything else we tried. To start with, the lamb skewers were good and had great balance of cumin with the lamb. We've had other places in both Chicago and NYC that were under or over seasoned but these were close to perfectly balanced. My girlfriend thought they were very good and authentic, and remarked more than once that they were very good.

    The "pan fried smoked pork cake" is a menu item that, according to my girlfriend, is really hard to find in the US anywhere and is very authentic. She has yet to find it on any menu in NYC (we only had it from a non Dongbei place at an international food festival last summer in Queens) but it's on the menu at Homestyle Taste. Although she said the pancake part of it was a tad bit too thick and the pork was sliced too thick, we both agreed the taste was very good and according to her.. comparable to what you might find in China on that front. The sauce in it is very similar to sauces you'd find in Beijing. Anybody who is a fan of BBQ pork and Chinese food, as well as Peking Duck sauce should get this.

    We also both agreed the dumplings were good. I am used to the same type of dumplings at Qing Xiang Yuan Dumpling (which my girlfriend also thinks are very good and very authentic and comparable to some places in China). These ones didn't have the "soup" in them but the flavor was still good. My girlfriend thought they were also good and tasted like something her mom might make at home.

    The main dish we had was the Stewed Pork & Clear Noodle in Brown Sauce. This comes in an iron pot right to the table that makes it look like you were at someone's home and they made it for you. Literally on top of this they serve corn bread, which is again very authentic. There is a type of wok this is normally cooked in while there are spots on the rim of the walk to cook the corn bread at the same time. Anyway, the pork was super tender and really good. It was so tender that the skin on the outside made my tired self think for a minute I was eating a mushroom. The sauce was great and the noodles too. The serving size was big so we only finished half of it. My girlfriend thought this was probably the best thing we ate, as did I.

    All in all we had a great meal and left very full. My girlfriend was pretty happy too. NYC has a few Dongbei places too (Chicago might have just as many as NYC all in all - Qing Xiang Yuan Dumpling is also Dongbei, and there's a place in the Richland Center food court that is too outside of the places in Bridgeport) - but when I asked my girlfriend to compare Homestyle Taste to the Dongbei places she's had in NYC, she told me Homestyle Taste is more authentic than any she's had in NYC and better tasting. In fact, good enough that when her parents visit Chicago for the first time in a month, she wants to take them to Homestyle Taste. I found it weird, but she told me that even in Shanghai where her parents live, it is not easy to get great Dongbei style food. According to her, Homestyle Taste was comparable to a new, good Dongbei restaurant that recently opened near her parents' condo in Shanghai.

    I can't speak for the other non-Dongbei food there, but what we had was pretty solid and we'd both recommend it for anyone who wants a taste of authentic NE Chinese food, which according to her is mostly on the first 2 pages of the menu, some of the 3rd page, and randomly things here and there on the rest of the menu.
  • Post #57 - September 7th, 2016, 7:12 pm
    Post #57 - September 7th, 2016, 7:12 pm Post #57 - September 7th, 2016, 7:12 pm
    Great report. Thank you.
  • Post #58 - September 7th, 2016, 7:55 pm
    Post #58 - September 7th, 2016, 7:55 pm Post #58 - September 7th, 2016, 7:55 pm
    Looking fwd to trying the most recent suggestions. Not that I'd know how authentic it is, but will say I've continued to have excellent meals here. Go to's are colorful wide noodle (cold), smoked pork pancake, spicy hand tear beef, bone in lamb w/cumin, tofu w/preserved egg (cold), homemade style tofu (hot), spinach w/peanuts and vinegar, dry stewed whole fish... Craveable.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #59 - September 8th, 2016, 8:55 am
    Post #59 - September 8th, 2016, 8:55 am Post #59 - September 8th, 2016, 8:55 am
    The mushroom and cucumber salad has become a regular item in our dinner table.
    Easy to make and delicious especially with H-Marts' great prices on enoki mushrooms.
  • Post #60 - September 9th, 2016, 10:10 am
    Post #60 - September 9th, 2016, 10:10 am Post #60 - September 9th, 2016, 10:10 am
    marothisu wrote:The "pan fried smoked pork cake" is a menu item that, according to my girlfriend, is really hard to find in the US anywhere and is very authentic.
    client and I were doing some food hopping last night, based on your post we stopped by and had this, very worthwhile.

    Also had cumin lamb, I forgot to order the bonein cumin lamb. Still tasty.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.

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