Chinese Graffiti, a self-described Asian-American gastropub, opened a couple of weeks ago on Avenue A with a menu featuring the likes of dumplings, three kinds of fried rice, chicken wings, meatball sliders, sweet potato fries, vegetarian Chocolate Lave Cake, and "Wok Lobster" pasta. It's a reasonably appealing selection of food, if a bit safe. But then, leading off the Small Things section, you notice something called Pork Belly Cotton Candy, which promises little clouds of pink, spun-sugar cotton candy with a hunk of crisp, fried, fatty pig hidden inside.

This is not the first time this dish has made an appearance in NYC. Turns out the chef at Chinese Graffiti is David DiSalvo who, in addition to working at Blaue Gans and Wallse, ran the kitchen at Carnem Prime Steakhouse in Park Slope, where he also offered this, fluffy odd concoction.

Last Friday evening at his new place, DiSalvo explained that he's not pulling an Instagram stunt here (it's not always very photogenic!). In fact, the dish was inspired by star chef Jose Andres's famous cotton candy foie gras, which DiSalvo loves, but he wanted to do a more accessibly-priced (and less cruel?) version. And it's actually pretty good! The pork belly is juicy, and the sweet meat does just fine under all that wispy sugar. For three bucks it's definitely worth trying.

As for the rest of the food, we liked the perfectly medium-rare Marinated Flat Iron Steak a lot, which got a nice kick from the chimichurri. The Xiaolongboa pork soup dumplings had a good, deep flavor to them, though the skin that was a little thicker than ideal. The Stupidly Hot Amazing Sticky were more "fine" than any of those other things, and portioned miserly. The latter complaint was heard around the table in regards to the decent Pork Belly Fried Rice, as well.

Atmosphere-wise, you're looking at a long and narrow space that's dominated by an eye-catching ceiling installation featuring dozens of bamboo rice steamers. The restaurant seats about 50, the soundtrack is a solid hip hop mix, and the service... well let's just say everyone's excited to see you.

Chinese Graffiti is located at 171 Avenue A, between 11th and 10th Streets, and is open Monday through Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., and from Thursday to Saturday from 5 until midnight. Closed Sundays. (646-454-0715)