East Meets West, Spicy Tastiness Ensues

What could have been better accessories to the perfect Super Bowl Sunday than a fine Irish lager and a pu pu platter for two? Ask almost any guy in New England, and they'll agree hands down on the stellar combination. Ask Jimmy Young, co-owner of Chan O'Malley's in Field's Corner, and he'll tell you about the bit of confusion his Chinese-takeout restaurant stirred when its doors were opened last December 5.

"A lot of my customers ask me about the name when they come in," said Young, who agreed that the Chinese-Irish name fusion might seem odd to some. "I grew up in Jamaica Plain, and at that time it was mostly Irish, and when I decided to open the restaurant, my best friend Mike said it should be a Chinese restaurant/Irish pub."

That idea, as genius as it is, wasn't quite feasible at the time, so Young settled on the Chinese-Irish name instead, and opted for Celtic calligraphy common to Irish pubs to grace the entrance of his standing-room only eatery located at 230 Adams Street.

Young, who came to America from Hong Kong when he was eight years old, is no stranger to the restaurant business. He and his brother-in-law, Eric Wu, had been working at family-owned restaurants for nearly two decades before they decided to try their hand at owning their own place.

"I picked this up from my dad and my brother," said Young proudly, as he stood in arms reach of the crimson-colored Buddha perched atop the counter of his neatly arranged eatery.

Young's family has owned China Sky Restaurant, located at 784 Adams St., for over 40 years, and opened Sun Kong Restaurant in Morton about four years ago, where both Young and Wu have had ample opportunity to hone their restaurant management skills.

"I was running China Sky for 17 years right after high school, through college," said Young, who attended Jamaica Plain High and graduated from New York University with a degree in restaurant management. Young's brother, Danny Young, took over the family business in 1991, and also owns a catering truck under Sun Kong that services MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Wu received his training in an even more traditional way - through the kitchens of many Chinese restaurants, including those of China Sky and Sun Kong. And he is perfecting his skills in the kitchen of Chan O'Malley's, working 14-hour days alongside Young.

"I've been working with friends and family for many years all over Massachusetts," said Wu, who also grew up in the Adams Village area before moving to Braintree.

Wu and Young's years of practice are now paying off, as Chan O'Malley's business is faring better than expected, according to Young. Wu would say it has something to do with his boneless spareribs, an official favorite of restaurant patrons.

"It's a secret recipe, and I eat a lot of it myself too," said Wu, who also recommends the General Gao's chicken as another hot menu item - literally.

But not to worry, the super-spicy items on the menu are highlighted in red, and patrons are warned to watch out for the whole dry pepper, which can bring a tear to the unsuspecting eye. Customers are also able to alter the spiciness of their dishes according to their tastes, much to the relief of those who can't handle the heat.

Young credits the success of the restaurant to the quality of their food, which he is confident will put Chan O'Malley's on the map as one of the best Chinese takeout restaurants in the Fields Corner and Savin Hill area.

"Ingredient-wise we use nothing but the best, so even though the prices may be a little higher than the typical take-out restaurant, our customers see it's well worth it in the long run and keep coming back," said Young.

Ray Velasquez will chew to that.

"I've been coming here about a month," said Velasquez, who lives on nearby Juliet Street. "I like the food here because it's freshly made every time, the quality is better than other regular take out places, and the prices are fair."

"My favorite thing to order is the number eight dinner special with shrimp fried rice, chicken fingers, and boneless spareribs. They're boneless spareribs are the best, nice and tender," said Velasquez, as he munched away on the latter.

The restaurant, open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily, also offers a selection of healthy dishes cooked without oil, luncheon and dinner specials, and delivery service. So, if you weren't able to watch the Pats bring it home with some killer boneless spareribs at your fingertips, you can always watch Paul Pierce and the All-Star team with some Kung Bo on the side.