Egg Rolls

They're not just for dim sum anymore. Chefs around the country are turning iconic American foods into stuffed, fried treats.
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PHILADELPHIA

The Spot - The Swann Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia (1 Logan Square, 215-963-1500) has all the luxury you'd expect from the upscale chain --- a baby grand, marble-topped tables -- while still staying true to its roots. Many of the ingredients are grown locally: on the hotel's rooftop garden and in neighboring Bucks County.

The Specs - "If you're in Philadelphia, there's only one thing you've got to eat," says executive chef Rafael Gonzalez. The secret to his Philly Cheesesteak Spring Rolls ($16 for 4) is hiding a slice of American cheese between two spring roll wrappers. The oversize rolls are plated with shoestring fries, banana peppers and the house spicy ketchup. You won't miss the bread.

NEW YORK CITY

The Spot - The lounge-type decor and stylish crowd at Delicatessen (54 Prince St., 212-226-0211) make for a trendy scene, but the menu is all comfort food, with dishes like Grandma's Meatloaf with whipped potatoes and green beans, and milk and warm cookies for dessert.

The Specs - Rolled into the Cheeseburger Spring Rolls ($11 for 4) is a mixture of ground beef; onion; American, cheddar and swiss cheeses; and a béchamel sauce that takes the burger bite to the next level of deliciousness. On the plate are ketchup-mustard sauce and cornichons -- a fancy word for small pickles. Just one more thing at Delicatessen that's less fussy than it seems.

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

The Spot- The Triangle Char and Bar (828 Savannah Hwy., 843-377-1300) is a local hangout. Its patio and colorful dining room are packed in the daytime -- especially during brunch -- and at night, when there are happy hour specials and, often, live music. The food: Southern staple-meets-bar snack, such as the grass-fed beef burger with pimiento cheese.

The Specs - The Shrimp and Grits Roll ($8 for 3)?stuffed with that classic low-country duo, plus green chiles and bacon, and served with a spicy tomato gravy?is one of four "rockin' rolls" (others are avocado, chorizo and pulled pork). General manager Michael Lotz says the fan favorite "keeps 'em coming back."

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS

The Spot - Harvard and MIT students who need late-night study breaks count on Pizzaring.com (212 Western Ave., 617-864-1800), open till 4 a.m., to satisfy their cravings -- whether they're for spicy pizza, chicken parm or mango mousse cake.

The Specs - East meets West in the form of the Pizza Egg Roll ($5.50 for 3), a crispy wrapper filled with mozzarella, tomato, and pepperoni or chicken. Manager Bobby Genovese says he came up with the dish when the restaurant's owner, who is originally from Korea, mentioned she missed good egg rolls. "I told her we could try a version here, and she said, 'But this is a pizza shop!" Now they sell upward of 400 a week.

 

 

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