Great little holes-in-the-wall
It suggests a find, a place where the quality of the cuisine is in inverse proportion to the atmosphere and prices. Foodies love finds.
I found out early on, though, that no restaurant likes to be described as a great little hole-in-the-wall, even if it's guaranteed to bring in customers by the droves. ...
At one point, we ran listings of restaurants regularly in the paper, or maybe the twice-yearly dining guides, with one- or two-sentence descriptions of them. I was enamored of the Pinebrook in Hampden because of its awful atmosphere and fabulous homemade dumplings that the Chinese owners practically gave away. So my one-sentence description was, you guessed it, a great little hole-in-the-wall.
The owners were so incensed the wife called the Sun and asked us to take the listing out altogether.
I've reported here that my daughter called it the Cheapest Chinese Restaurant in the World. I found a photo of it in the archives -- I actually hadn't expected to. Apparently I reviewed it in 1997. The photo caption reads: "Pictured are hot and sour soup for two, left, ($2.50) and a plate of Fried Chiao Tzu (10 dumplings for $1.70)."
I miss the Pinebrook. It closed when the husband got too old to make the dumplings anymore.
It is tempting to come up with a list of the Top 10 Great Holes-in-the-Wall, isn't it?
(Kenneth K. Lam/Sun photographer)