I had the very good fortune to join the friend of a friend and a lively gang of her co-workers for an impromptu lunch at a restaurant whose fame has been growing on foodie websites usch as eGullet and Chowhound. North Brunswick's Green Apple restaurant is situated in a partially hidden shopping center just off Route 130 South, about a quarter mile south of Adams Road, as unlikely a location for authentic Chinese food as one could imagine. But isn't that the true fun of discovery? And isn't that the joy of making new friends?
I walked in as lunch was being served family style, ordered by one of my dozen new lunchmates, a Chinese chemist for the pharmaceutical company at which the group all worked. My eyes quickly caught sight of an abundance of fiery hot dried peppers in several of the dishes. Oh boy. Sechuan style.
There were heaping platters of Chung King Spicy Chicken, tossed with onions, green pepper, brown sauce and those dried chilies; the same dish served with shrimp in place of chicken; julienned beef with long hot green peppers (a favorite dish of mine at other Sechuan restaurants); green beans tossed with garlic and shallots; small bowls of airy pork stuffed wontons in chili oil; two Sechuan-style seafood "hot pots", one called "Boiling Fish," a huge spicy bowl filled with filet of sole, a cascade of vegetables and Sechuan peppercorns, and a darker, incendiary bowl called "Dancing Fish", with sole, a similar mix of vegetables and a truly painful amount of dark red dried chilies. There were bowls of white rice to help soften the spice attack, but these plates were skillfully done, eminently delicious and searingingly hot!
Green Apple also serves sushi, with a large sushi bar and the requisite serious sushi chefs behind it. We were offered a couple of sushi rolls, arranged elaborately on large platters, to counter the vibrant dishes we had all just consumed. One such roll was dubbed a Hawaiian roll, with tempura shrimp, cucumber and avocado. Another was a special Halloween roll, with spicy yellowtail, shrimp and jalapenos. Both were grorgeous presentations, but it's unlikely any of us could really appreciate the subtle artistry within after the assault our taste buds had just taken.
After just this lunch, I'd rank Green Apple among the very best Chinese restaurants in the state; it can take its place proudly alongside Sechuan House in Hamilton, Tiger Noodles in Princeton and China 46 in Paramus. You've gotta get to this place. It will not be long before this new place is a destination restaurant.
Japanese & Chinese Cuisine
432 Renaissance Blvd. East
North Brunswick, NJ 08902