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Not to be a snob or anything but I am not a fan of pan-Asian food-a little too 1989 for my taste. We passed by Wong by accident yesterday on our way to Pearl. Being that I am friends with Simpson Wong, I decided to change our dinner plans and check out Wong instead. The place has a cool modern laid back vibe, although I am not crazy about the triangle plates and school room furniture.

 

The food is surprisingly good. Dinner started with a house made naan bread and curry dipping sauce. The naan was nice and hot, although I wish it has more butter on it. As for the dipping sauce, it was cold, which I wished it was hot. However, the kale and beet salad was fresh with sweet beets balancing the bitter kale and walnut for crunch, pretzel crusted fried oysters with kimchi dipping sauce has the perfect hot crunchy crust with breaks into hot sweet oysters. Albacore tuna sashimi was on the sweet side, but a good change from the typical spicy citrus flavoring that tends to go with this type of dish. Simpson sent out a black bass that was not on the menu, which it should be. Then there was a pan seared hake with pho noodles with was full of vietnamese flavors of sweet and sour. The dessert menu was kind of weird, with stuff like roast duck ice cream on there, so we decide to skip it.

 

Definitely want to go back to try other dishes on the menu.

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Pete Wells opens his tenure as NYT chief restaurant reviewer with a two-star review of Wong.

 

It's kind of touching, inasmuch as I had dinner in a fairly empty Wong last night, and the staff -- seemingly ignorant of this upcoming accolade -- were talking worriedly about whether business could be expected to increase.

 

It can.

 

I haven't read the review yet, but based on the rating I think I was a bit less taken with the food than Mr. Wells was. I'll write it up when I get a chance.

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Reading Wells's review, I come to one quick conclusion: I ordered wrong.

apparently so did Jay Cheshes - his review was titled "Nineties-style fusion face-plants in the West Village" (i'm afraid i didn't read past that)

Not that Wells is necessarily right, but I think Cheshes is the least reliable of all the pro critics: even less reliable than Sifton was.

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We did the "Duckavore" dinner at Wong a couple of weeks ago. Excellent! The buns were especially sensational. And, yes, the Plum a la Duck ice cream is amazing. The dinner is for 4 and requires 48 hours advance notice. Service personnel couldn't have been nicer, and the room, which filled up on a Friday night, was not too noisy.

 

Wong "Duckavore" Dinner

 

Photos with captions can be viewed here.

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Reading Wells's review, I come to one quick conclusion: I ordered wrong.

apparently so did Jay Cheshes - his review was titled "Nineties-style fusion face-plants in the West Village" (i'm afraid i didn't read past that)

Not that Wells is necessarily right, but I think Cheshes is the least reliable of all the pro critics: even less reliable than Sifton was.

he's always recognized so i correct for that

 

rozrapp - the buns do look good. are they only part of the special dinner or on the menu as well?

 

the crispy duck tongues (with scallops) sound good too.

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In retrospect, this is an interesting example of how important first impressions can be.

 

Meaning, I didn't much like my appetizer. I think that queered my impression of my entire meal.

 

My appetizer was a special: a duck meatball. Unlike most of the other food at Wong, which as Pete Wells points out at great length approaches fusion from the Asian side, this dish approached fusion strictly from the European side. Meaning, it was an Italian-style meatball. In an unpalatable too-sharp tomato sauce. The sop to fusion was that there was some braised squash along with the meatball in the tomato sauce. The meatball itself was too heavy.

 

Remember how great the duck meatballs were on Andrew Carmellini's opening menu at A Voce? Well, this one wasn't.

 

So I approached my main dish in a bad mood. Which is a pity, because my main dish didn't deserve it. It was called "Lobster Egg Fu Yung" on the menu, but funnily enough, the lobster-egg-pork dish at RedFarm was much more like Egg Fu Yung than this was. (I am classless enough to like Egg Fu Yung, BTW.) This was the large part of a lobster in a skillet (as was my meatball, BTW) with sunny-side-up duck eggs fore and aft, some chopped dried shrimp, and cooked whole tomatoes. This time, the flavors were very well modulated, and the whole dish was rather delicious.

 

For dessert, one has to try the Duck a la Plum. If only because of its remeniscence of Pete & Duds. (The menu lacks a Plum a la Duck.) I have to say that I did not find this to be the blow-away that Pete Wells and Rozrapp did. I was afraid the duck-flavored ice cream would be kind of gross. It wasn't. But it wasn't tremendously special, either. If I didn't know it was duck, I don't think I would have thought much of anything about it (other than that it was properly creamy).

 

I'm going to spend some time thinking about why I so prefer Rouge et Blanc to Wong. Probably because Rouge et Blanc has all those French influences that we don't have here. The food at Wong is generally very well cooked. If I'd had a different appetizer, I'd probably be very enthusiastic. But as it was, my one meal there left me basically unexcited.

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In retrospect, this is an interesting example of how important first impressions can be.

 

Meaning, I didn't much like my appetizer. I think that queered my impression of my entire meal.

 

My appetizer was a special: a duck meatball. Unlike most of the other food at Wong, which as Pete Wells points out at great length approaches fusion from the Asian side, this dish approached fusion strictly from the European side. Meaning, it was an Italian-style meatball. In an unpalatable too-sharp tomato sauce. The sop to fusion was that there was some braised squash along with the meatball in the tomato sauce. The meatball itself was too heavy.

 

Remember how great the duck meatballs were on Andrew Carmellini's opening menu at A Voce? Well, this one wasn't.

 

So I approached my main dish in a bad mood. Which is a pity, because my main dish didn't deserve it. It was called "Lobster Egg Fu Yung" on the menu, but funnily enough, the lobster-egg-pork dish at RedFarm was much more like Egg Fu Yung than this was. (I am classless enough to like Egg Fu Yung, BTW.) This was the large part of a lobster in a skillet (as was my meatball, BTW) with sunny-side-up duck eggs fore and aft, some chopped dried shrimp, and cooked whole tomatoes. This time, the flavors were very well modulated, and the whole dish was rather delicious.

 

For dessert, one has to try the Duck a la Plum. If only because of its remeniscence of Pete & Duds. (The menu lacks a Plum a la Duck.) I have to say that I did not find this to be the blow-away that Pete Wells and Rozrapp did. I was afraid the duck-flavored ice cream would be kind of gross. It wasn't. But it wasn't tremendously special, either. If I didn't know it was duck, I don't think I would have thought much of anything about it (other than that it was properly creamy).

 

I'm going to spend some time thinking about why I so prefer Rouge et Blanc to Wong. Probably because Rouge et Blanc has all those French influences that we don't have here. The food at Wong is generally very well cooked. If I'd had a different appetizer, I'd probably be very enthusiastic. But as it was, my one meal there left me basically unexcited.

 

I probably should clarify my reaction to the Duck a la Plum. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, so it amazed me that it tasted really good, as well as having that rich creaminess you mentioned. But I wouldn't say it blew me away or haunts me in the way it does Wells. In fact, I was more blown away by the ice cream "chasers" we had afterwards at Cones.

 

I do agree with you about the meatball being too dense. Each couple shared one enormous meatball, so eating just a half was more than sufficient for me. I didn't find the sauce off-putting as you did. But overall, this was my least favorite dish of the dinner.

 

I have Rouge et Blanc on my "go to" list, but every time I look at the menu, it doesn't quite appeal to me. However, since so many people whose opinions I value say the food is really good, I will go eventually.

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I felt the same way about R et B's menu, but I was glad I went.

 

Thanks, Wilfrid! I just re-read your enthusiastic review and then looked again at the menu. While most of the "Wee Plates" are not my thing, the rest of the menu now seems quite appealing. The whole roasted squab -- one of my favorite foods -- sounds especially wonderful. And as an admitted foie gras addict, I must have that dessert! We'll definitely be going there soon.

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