The Astronomer and I had such a positive experience at Flour Bakery + Cafe that we decided to check out Chef Joanne Chang’s latest restaurant concept a few days later. Opened in the fall of 2007, Myers + Chang is a modern and funky diner offering personal interpretations of Taiwanese soul food and Southeast Asian street food.
As much as I love seeking out authentic dining experiences with dishes that can be traced back to the motherland, the opportunity to taste well-executed fusion fare excites me as well. In fact, seeing how traditional flavors and techniques are transformed and reinterpreted can oftentimes be even more intriguing. At Myers + Chang, age-old recipes are tweaked and spun, and the results are seriously tasty.
The restaurant, which occupies the ground floor of a luxury apartment complex, feels like a diner as re-imagined by a really hip designer with a penchant for pink accents and Asian motifs. The space is brightly lit, casual, and fun. I would kill to have a place like this in my neighborhood.
Any restaurant that offers a choice of wooden or plastic chopsticks in a vintage tea tin is cool in my book.
The lunchtime menu is fairly limited compared to the one served at dinner, but there was still plenty to choose from. The Astronomer and I started with the tiger’s tears salad with grilled skirt steak ($12). Whereas most salads traditionally employ some sort of neutral-tasting green, this one was comprised solely of fresh herbs. The forest of mint, Thai basil, and cilantro were sauced with a spicy nuoc cham dressing. Generous sprinklings of coarse salt and khao koor (roasted rice powder) provided the finishing touch. This salad was unabashedly bold and made our lips tingle from the double punch of salt and spice. For maximum satisfaction, definitely split this dish two or even three ways.
For the carbohydrate portion of our meal, we chose the nasi goreng ($14). It arrived topped with a runny farm egg, fried shallots, fresh scallions, shrimp, and sambal olek. We were instructed to mix everything together and to dig in. The warm and comforting bowl of fried rice, which was dotted with pork and pineapple as well, was the perfect complement to the cool and tangy tiger’s tears salad.
The final dish to arrive was the wok-roasted mussels served with grilled garlic toast ($15). After The Astronomer and I each slurped one, we agreed that these were the greatest mussels we’d ever eaten. The broth, which must’ve contained at least a pound of minced lemongrass, imparted the most brilliant flavors upon the mussels. With each bite, we made sure to scoop up some of the soupy goodness in the shell. I usually like to close meals on a sweet note, but these mussels provided the perfect savory finish.
The Astronomer and I walked away from the restaurant completely satisfied with the trio of dishes that we sampled. I like Myers + Chang’s brand of Asian fusion. I like it a lot.
Myers + Chang
1145 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118