Cafe Society

Photos: Little Dragon breathes new life into Mayfair

"Why cook tonight?" That's the slogan of Little Dragon, a new Chinese food spot offering take-out and delivery that Mimi Chan opened in early July. And Chan managed to pack a lot of festive decor into her 1,300 square-foot spot at 1305 Krameria Street, Suite G, in the heart of the Mayfair neighborhood. The inside of the spot is painted in bright oranges and yellows; there's the requisite Buddha fountain, as well as a lovely bamboo backdrop behind the front counter. Sunny orange paper lanterns hang from the ceiling, billowy tapestries with serene koi fish separate the industrial kitchen from the waiting area, and there are a handful of small tables and chairs where customers can roost while they wait for their orders to be ready.

Little Dragon's signature house dishes include the "Naughty Buddha" salad, Peace Not War won ton soup, and drunken noodles made with wide rice noodles, Thai basil, lemongrass, ginger, red chili, scallions and a sweet soy sauce. The menu is MSG-free and also features healthy options of Americanized Chinese favorites, including vegetarian "eel" made from braised shiitake mushrooms, white meat chicken, and oven-baked crab cheese wontons -- instead of the usual deep-fried.

Those wontons alone are reason to drop by Little Dragon. They're light and crisp, and filled with green onion and Dijon mustard-seasoned cream cheese flecked with pink crab meat; they make a perfect dinner when paired with an order of hot & sour soup -- packed with plenty of white pepper and wood ear mushroom strips -- and brown rice (you can also get fried or steamed white).

Little Dragon is open every day from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (although it doesn't take orders after 9 p.m.), and offers free delivery with a $15 minimum purchase between East 26th and East Alameda avenues, from York to Ulster streets (there's a delivery charge outside that area).

Here are a few snapshots of Little Dragon to whet your appetite:

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Jenn Wohletz
Contact: Jenn Wohletz