By C. M. Lee (That's Beijing)
Updated: 2007-02-14 09:36
The Revolution lives on! East is Red offers nightly performances of song and dance routines straight out of the "cultural revolution," updated with techno beats, red flags and plenty of baijiu. While we were there more for the revolutionary fervor than the food, several offerings proved delightfully surprising.
We started with the night's special, xiangsu yangpai (RMB 18). The pieces of lamb fillet in batter were deep-fried to a golden crispness, and were so tantalizing that our self-professed "vegetarian" friend devoured not one but two. We were much less impressed with the hubing (RMB 12), a corn pancake topped with egg and chives. The dryness of the pancake made the insipid chives almost too much to bear. But we washed it down with several glasses of Yanjing beer and were slightly consoled.
We had a bit of a wait before our beleaguered servers turned up with our main dish-they were too busy shouting at other diners to put down their camera phones, as photography is strictly forbidden in the establishment. Too bad, because the decor is marvelously kitsch, complete with a bronze military statue inside the front entrance. We had chosen the tieguo guzhi nianyu (RMB 58), a spicy fish cooked in an iron pot. Supposedly served by a village blacksmith to a Chinese commander during the Japanese invasion, the juicy fish fillets stewed with soy sauce, chili and star anise were certainly fit for a general.
With the fish swimming amidst the beer in our stomachs, we refocused our attention on the floorshow just in time for a rousing number, during which one inebriated patron got onstage and promptly fell off in a passionate, patriotic gesture. Long live the Revolution!
East is Red
Location: 3-4F, Xueyuan Guoji Dasha, No.1, Zhichunlu, Haidian