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Restaurants & Bars 6

Yi Cuisine (long)

Macy U. | Apr 21, 2006 06:48 PM

Dommy! mentioned a while ago that the chef at Yi Cuisine had recently left, but my friend and I crossed our fingers and decided to check it out any ways.

Bad mistake.

The space is as lovely as Dommy had mentioned. Sadly though, on the Tuesday night that we went, the place was dead. We arrived at 7:30, left at 9:30, and were among 4 other tables at the restaurant. When we walked into the room, the hostess asked us if we had reservations and we looked at the empty room and said ‘wha….’? Anyway, other than that little bit, service was efficient and friendly throughout.

We began with Honey Walnut Shrimp which was good. Light, slightly crispy fresh shrimp. It’s the non-mayo version of Chinese Honey-Mayonnaise Shrimp. We also ordered the Chicken and Tatsoi Salad with Jalapeno Vinagrette to split and this was my favorite of the evening. Spicy and tangy dressing, moist bits of shredded chicken and slightly bitter greens made for a good combo. So far, we were off to a good start!

Then everything went downhill. For the entrée, my friend ordered the Grilled Pork with Hot Mustard Soba Noodles because we wanted to try the soba noodles. The soba noodles had NO heat and were drenched in soy sauce. Grilled pork was very ordinary but good, and was not dry at all.

I went with the Chicken and Wild Mushroom Risotto because I was wondering what kind of ‘twist’ they might do with a risotto. I should gone with my gut feeling though when the waitress informed me that it’s actually a Mushroom and SHRIMP risotto, and that the menu was printed incorrectly. In my head I immediately wondered why they would mess with the nice combination of chicken and mushroom but I gamely said I’d try it anyway. The risotto came out and I was taken aback by how watery it was. The flavor was a bit muddled – shrimp were plump and fresh but the small earthy bits of mushrooms took you away from what could have been a very clean, clear risotto. After a few more spoonfuls, it came to me. This wasn’t risotto! This was … jook! A watery version of jook! I went back and forth on if this was on purpose (for jook can be the asian version of risotto) or if the chef cooked this poorly. I decided in the end that this was how it was supposed to be, since the rice (definitely not Arborio) was very soft (and thin), and not hard as I would have expected if it hadn’t had enough time to soak up the liquid.

On the side, we asked for some kim chee mashed potatoes. There was no kim chee in this dish unless you count the orange-ish hue of the potatoes. In fact, the potatoes were a bit sour – I think it may have had some alcohol in there. Anyway, really really poor version of mashed potatoes. Good idea though, I might try it at home sometime.

For dessert, we ordered the cream puffs (forgot the fancy name for them). The dough was good, fresh, sugary, but the filling was the strange mixture of vanilla and cream cheese that just didn’t work right. It was served with a side of orange crème fraiche that for SURE did not work with the little sugary doughnuts. My friend is a big dessert eater and she could not stomach more than 1-1/2 of these little bite-size balls.

I’m not sure what the final bill was since my friend treated me for my birthday, but I can safely say that both of us would not go back again, unless it was just for drinks and apps.

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