This did not look promising.
But then again, Milwaukee’s culinary scene has its surprises.
Xee Yoo is one of them.
I entered with arrogant trepidation; as it turned out, such an attitude was uncalled for. The curried fried rice was superb. For many years I have been searching for a reputable version of the type of Americanized fried rice I grew up with (in the mid 60’s) at the long-gone New China Cafe on Colfax Avenue and Clarkson Street in Denver. The first forkful of this dish at Xee Yoo conjured up the ghost of the New China’s propriator, Mr Herbert Wong, and memories of the restaurant’s velveteen and tasseled menu that seemed, to my ten-year-old eyes, to be an artifact from Marco Polo’s luggage:
This restaurant (and my initial unfounded attitude to it) reminds me of an embarrassing incident from my musical past.
Many years ago a friend came to a chamber music party mistakenly bringing, instead of the Haydn we had planned to play, an edition of the complete string quartets of Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf. I had a scene. I have long since apologized for how I behaved that night. “Ditters von Dittersdorf…how could you? This will be miserable music. There is a reason why no one plays his stuff.” And on and on.
I was wrong. Dittersdorf’s music was superb. His quartets were like Xee Yoo’s fried rice. Damned good.
Its a long drive from Glendale to 107th Street, but not as long as it is to The New China Cafe on Colfax and Clarkson in Denver. The New China is no longer there. It was torn down in the 70’s and replaced by a liquor store. Mr. Wong is gone as well; lovingly carried off by a parliament of velveteen tasseled menus to where Marco Polo is. But Xee Yoo and the quartets of C. D. von Dittersdorf are very much still here. The restaurant is across town; the music is, no doubt, to be found somewhere on the internet.
I plan on revisiting both of them soon.