Cafe China, I think, New York's only one star Michelin Sichuan Restaurant opened a new location in Williamsburg in late March of this year. It's a modern and bright space, with light wood and a minimalist style. There are booths that flanks the sides of the rectangular space and a large communal table that runs the middle.. Like Cafe China, the place is no tipping.
Overall, i would say the food is good, definitely giving Grand Sichuan a run for the title of best Sichuan in Brooklyn. There were a couple of misses but, overall it was refined and delicious.
We started with their soup dumplings.. Crab roe, 4 to an order.. They were a really nice version.. Definitely repeatable. Actually, i will just list everything we ordered. 1) We ordered spicy and sour cold tofu.. This is usually a breakfast item and came under the heading of dim sum.. It was soft tofu with a lot of sichaun peppercorn and oil and a sour component.. On top, was sprinkled toasted soy beans.. This left my mouth more tingly than I have felt in a long time.. At 4 bucks, this is the best value on the menu..
2) We orderd snow peas with garlic.. This was exemplary, one of the things that I love about eating in China is a simple dish of greens.. I ordered a side of black vinegary to dip and things were great.. A ton of sliced garlic, a little broth at the bottom of the dish, it was one of my favorite things were ordered.
3 and 4) Mung Bean Noodles and Sichuan Cold Noodles.. I wish I read the description of the Cold Sichuan Noodles because it was more like the sesame noodles and less like the Noodles you get everywhere in Chengdu.. The noodles themselves were too sweet.. Definitely geared towards an American Pallet. In that I found it to have way to much peanut and sweetness.. The vinegar was faint but, it just seemed like an exaggerated version of sesame noodles.. The mung bean noodles didn't stand out as anything special..
5)This was our least favorite of the dishes.. This was cold pork belly, wrapped around okra.. The pork belly is like cold strips of bacon, braised in a sweet soy sauce.. This is classic preparation that had been kicked up with okra.. I guess the okra was supposed to act like bitter melon but, bitter melon would have been better.. the okra was poorly treated, i want to say raw but, miss A thought quickly steamed.. Either way, raw whole pieces of okra or rare pieces of crunchy bitter okra was not pleasant at all..
6)Fried Fish with chile.. This was delicious.. while the batter was slightly steamed on the fish as a result of sitting perhaps, this is not uncommon in China.. Frying something and leaving at room temperature is a practice done in almost every kitchen but, America.. Often times, this dish could be bland.. Restaurant will use older peppercorns and the dish just tastes like fried fish.. They incorporate the sauce and the peppercorns and cilantro and a few other ingredients that, when mixed, add a delicious element to the dish.. Certainly not under seasoned.
They have been open for roughly 3 months and still do not have a liquor license.. With no tipping, i am assuming, its going to be beer and wine as I don't know a bartender you are going to hire without tips. This boggles the mind, i don't understand how that happens.. 3 to 4 months in and no license. We drank tea, it was lovely.. Service was on point, not super friendly but, through computers and things, the orders hit the kitchen. Tea refilled, plates cleared...
I would go back, the things we liked are worth repeating and happy to try other dishes..