Course Notes

Course Notes

A delicious hot meal is even better on a rainy day.

Basil Restaurant reminded me of that yesterday with one beautiful course after another. The first to arrive was the Scallion Pancake ($6), a chewy, flaky delight fried to a crispy outer tan. The bright flavor of the scallion cut through the fat of the fry, and the soy dipping sauce, adding sweetness and salt, was a perfect pairing. I only wish the sauce had come in a deeper vessel, making the large wedges of pancake easier to dip.

Dipping them into the next arrival, a bowl of the Curry Tofu Noodle Soup ($10), was much, much easier—and just as delicious. Basil could bottle and sell the soup’s creamy, savory, lightly spicy broth, and the dish’s spongy fried tofu soaked it right in, becoming nice and juicy. Tender leaves of bok choy added welcome texture and bitterness, while the glass noodles I ordered—one of six options—lent support and comfort.

Noodles were the star of my next dish, the Singapore Mee Hoon ($9.50 with vegetables). Tossed in a spicy, salty, irresistible dry curry rub and studded with broccoli, onion, carrot, mushroom, sprouts, green pepper and tofu, the tangled pile of steaming strands held its temperature well, enhancing the heat of the spices.

Last to arrive was the Broccoli with Garlic Sauce ($9.75), its headline crucifer cooked to an easy bite that still had some crunch. Sweet, spicy and, as promised, garlicky, the sauce had great flavor even if the texture at times was gelatinous and uneven. White rice piled on the plate into a pair of igloos was fluffy and comforting, a perfect base for an American Chinese food staple.

Located along the outskirts of downtown at Howe and Whalley, I suspect Basil doesn’t get many of its customers from foot traffic. But with dishes this good at prices this reasonable, it doesn’t have to.

Basil Restaurant
142 Howe St, New Haven (map)
Mon & Wed-Sat 11:30am-10pm, Sun 11:30am-9:30pm
(203) 865-4000

Written and photographed by Dan Mims.

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