By Christopher A Pape
Wong, a relatively new restaurant in the West Village, is equally delicious and innovative. With a hip interior that is reminiscent of a cool cafeteria (but for adults), food that sings and a friendly staff, I believe Wong has much to contribute to the neighborhood and is here to stay.
As New York's first Asian restaurant to emphasize local and seasonal fare, Wong provides artfully prepared dishes that pay close attention to the origin and nationality of the ingredients and techniques that are being used. They are dedicated to sustainability; it is their aim to provide freshly reinterpreted Asian cuisine in a relaxed, modern setting. And they succeed with aplomb.
The restaurant’s concept of casual Asian-locavore dishes with communal dining is entirely new. The brainchild of the well-traveled chef and owner, Simpson Wong, Wong has flavors of China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia. It is to Chef Wong’s credit that the restaurant avoids the stereotypical Pan-Asian cuisine that is usually heartless and passionless. In contrast, the food here is incredibly fresh, well-crafted, refined, and scrumptiously delicious.
Even before the food was served (by only looking at the menu) I was already in heaven. There were so many things that I wanted to try that I could have ordered the whole menu. And I was very pleased that nothing disappointed.
We started with the daring but delicious scallops with crispy duck tongue, cucumber, and jellyfish; it was the perfect portent of good things to come. A shrimp fritter with ham, noodles, Asian pear and sunflower sprouts was also devoured. We loved the crisp texture of the shrimp, the fattiness of the ham, and the juiciness of the pear.
Another winner was the duck bun. Here the duck was double fried, and the bun was accompanied by cucumber and Chinese celery. After the first bite we definitely understood why this dish is one of their signatures: it totally encapsulated all of the different and wonderful ideas that Simpson Wong is working with. We then moved onto larger dishes, like the lobster egg foo young, which was served with leeks, salted duck, and dried shrimp crumble. It was thoroughly loved and praised.
Their desserts were also a highlight of the meal. Of course we had to try their famous (or infamous) duck a la plum. This was roast duck ice cream (what a hearty and earthy flavor it presented!) with star anise-poached plums, crispy tuile, and 5-spice cookies. It had to be one of the most unique and scrumptious I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.
No. 7 Cornelia Street
New York NY 10014