Many of the dishes were simple stir-fries, homey and competent. A heap of beef with half-moon slices of yam ($8.89), for instance, was tender and lightly sauced. The seasoning on the Dong Bei fish filet ($8.89) was as discreet as the Auto-Tuning on a Beyoncé song, the wallet-sized chunks of white fish tossed with red and green peppers, frilly tufts of white fungus, and velvety curls of cloud ear. A plate of spinach sautéed with garlic ($6.89) made for a fine side dish, as did chives with dry tofu, the green chives twined around julienned slices of pressed bean curd. Multifaceted slices of pale green loofah gourd, which the menu calls singua ($7.89), crunched juicily, a sort of gushy cucumber.

One big "happy family": A stew of green beans and spare ribs surrounded by corn cakes.
Lara Hata
One big "happy family": A stew of green beans and spare ribs surrounded by corn cakes.

As for the offal? It's threaded through the menu. It'd be easy to make up a whole-hog dinner on your own, starting with the luxurious headcheese I tried, as well as a salad of shredded pig skin and simmered pig feet from the cold plates. Move through pork belly and spareribs prepared a dozen ways, with a side of pork liver with chives, and finish with the best of the pork dishes I tried: crispy intestines ($8.89) stir-fried with a Christmas-hued mass of bell peppers, fresh and dried chiles, Chinese celery, and pinkie-length bamboo shoots. The intestines, cut on the diagonal and deep-fried until their exteriors turned the color of burnished bronze, were papery-crisp and juicy rather than rubbery, any funk cowed into submission by the cumin, chiles, garlic, and Sichuan peppercorns that covered their surface. Measured in pig alone, Dongbei cuisine turns out to be very broad indeed.

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