Having tasted some of the dishes pre-opening (and midday), I was interested to see how the space, service, and food was going to do at night with paying customers. My bottom line answer: so so.
The room was full last night, but the space is set up so that you don't ever feel cramped in. The music, however, was piped in far too loud, making it hard to hear at times. The space was also packed with famous restaurauters who were checking out the latest, after so many months of kitchen controversy.
The service was attentive, though sometimes overly so. I also found that there were too many runners for the number of tables. Additionally, the runners seemed to have little to no communication with the servers whatsoever. On more than one occassion, a runner tried to clear away our dipping sauces, assuming we had just finished a course, when in fact it had yet to be delivered. There are several dishes that require sauces or tableside preparation (the dim sum, the chin shan, etc), so communication will be something that needs to be smoothed out in the coming weeks.
Now to the food....I was pleasantly surprised by the dishes we had. The dim sum that we tried (soup dumplings, shrimp and chicken dumplings) were great. They were not too doughy nor too flimsy, and the fillings were perfectly cooked. We also had a starter of the spicy fish lettuce wraps. The filling comes in an edible bowl made mostly of sesame seeds. This was quite delicious...the filling was spicy but not overwhelmingly so. The fish with the panko breadcrumbs (which they call white sand here) was also great.
The one disappointment was a dish called "Fiery Pepper Hunt". I had skipped over it on the menu when we ordered. But, we happened to be seated next to a very famous food writer who had ordered it, so we decided it must be good. We were duped. We ordered the dish with lobster and chicken, just as our table neighbor had. When we got the bill, we realized this little dish cost $54!!! It comes in a large bowl filled with spicy red peppers which are for decoration and to add an essence of spice. You cannot eat them. The dish is called "hunt" because you have to dig through the bowl with your chopsticks beyond the plethora of red peppers to find pieces of deep-fried chicken and lobster. In total, we counted 4 small pieces of chicken, and 5 of lobster. I'm talking bite size pieces. This dish is a total scam, and not worth it at all.
We skipped dessert and opted for another glass of wine instead.
All in all, the food was good. I would go back (skipping the hunt of course) in a few months once the kitchen and service staff had a chance to find their ground.
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