We love spring rolls and lo mein and pork fried rice and all the other classics of Sino-American takeout cuisine, but as self-professed dinnerware snobs, we hate a table set with cardboard takeout boxes, as emblematic as they might be. So, we put a dinner order in with House of Chang, which makes some of the best Kung Pao Tofu this side of the Charles, and pulled together some Pillivuyt Quartet dinnerware for a sharp-angled geometric setting to serve it in.
We laid down two intersecting white Chilewich Bamboo tablerunners as a simple and contemporary table covering that carried a slight Eastern texture. On top, we centered a Pillivuyt Quartet plate as a charger for a small Quartet serving bowl holding House of Chang’s delicious spring rolls.
Around a neatly stacked spring roll pyramid, we arranged four additional small Quartet serving bowls with Pork Lo Mein, Kung Pao Tofu, brown rice, and Beef Teriyaki. Between these, we set Quartet ramekins filled with duck sauce, soy sauce, spicy mustard, and another spicy sauce of chili flakes in oil.
Chinese takeout is usually served on hectic weeknights when there’s no time to cook, so we love how this setting that echoes geometric abstraction and elegant tiled floors, brings order to a table that might otherwise be disorderly. Of course, we didn’t expect the strict geometric order of the setting to be maintained once we sat down and started passing food around, but we liked it just the same for presentation’s sake.
We kept the places simple, foregoing placemats and using the disposable chopsticks that came with our dinner order instead of flatware. Quartet bowls sat on top of Quartet plates flanked by Revole Cook & Play ramekins that served as tea and juice cups very much like the ones you get in Chinese restaurants.
Traditional? Authentic? Not so much. But then there’s not much Beef Teriyaki to be found in Beijing either. Our Chinese takeout setting exudes a contemporary and vaguely Eastern vibe that brings geometric order to a meal that’s usually served by pulling cardboard boxes from a paper bag and scattering them arbitrarily across a partially set table. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In some homes, that may be, in itself, a tradition. For us, it’s a cry for help where Pillivuyt’s shallow bowls and square plates offer some order and contemporary style that kick Chinese takeout up a notch.