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Restaurants & Bars

Wakiya (@ the Gramercy Park Hotel)

mlt9 | Jul 16, 200710:50 PM     9

so has anyone else been? i really can't wait to hear what all you foodies have to say about this one when you get in... after all the waiting and hype i heard, the reservation line might be open, and they say they're opening to the public next week, but i say save your money.

i should preface by saying i got to go as a "friend" this week and had high hopes. overall, we found it HIGHLY disappointing, overpriced & disorganized.. i don't know if i have the strength to fully review now, but it was not very good, especially their "signature" dish i forget what it was called- chow shin or something like that (steamed shrimp, 4 medium ones (or scallops, beef or veggies) with some veggies(broccoli, edamame beans, bean sprouts) in a steamer, over hot rocks, cooked/steamed by tea poured over it) for $38. first it came out raw (steamer lid remove too soon?) & had to be redone, then was over-cooked. just too unpredictable & RIDICULOUS. i had better expectations and that was just absurd...

2 dishes were good, one was the tiny peking duck, others were overpowered by sauces, others were forgotten altogether due to miscommunications with the kitchen and the lack of english spoken in it. too much seems to requre a "shticky" explanation, and those were lost or forgotten too. the waiter tried, and i know it's new, but there were many wiaters and employees floating around and service was spotty and lacking. they didn't check in enough, especially given small sporadic portions, so if anything was needed for a dish (ie: dumpling sauce) the food would be cold if you waited. and i had to ask for water 3 times.

the high(low) lights:
-nice atmosphere, small, long & narrow with booths on one side & the bar and a few tables on the other , darkish, loungey mini couches and chairs alternating, in navys/black and red fringed curtains, but it was very loud and tables are close together so hard to hear even those in your party.
-1 unisex bathroom w/ 2 stalls & 2 sinks. i'm not a fan of this trend. it was black and dark, simple but w/ modern sinks.
-$18 special watermelon cocktail- delish but no way i'd spend that more than once if at all. $14 glasses of wine. $8 kirin (i think sapporo too)
-large menu, certainly options for everyone, but i expect it will be cut back. didn't have prices on it yet. served family style, as each dish is ready.
--there were approx 10 cold dishes, at least 8 kinds of dim sum, (good chicken & shrimp dumplings, but dry enough that they could have used some sauce/juice), maybe 6 soups (individual portions of these, served in maybe 3/4 full small tea cups, $6 each, 8 or so hot smaller dishes, a number of fish dishes ( i recall 2 sea bass and a halibut maybe, as well as shrimp & lobster options), chicken, at least 3 kinds of steak dishes with sauce options, 3-5 rice & noodles dishes (fried rice omelette in XO sauce was an awful, disapointment, bland other than the sauce that wasn't very well done, and expensive), 4 or 5 veggie side dishes.
- we only had 2 desert options, one bland mango pudding served atop a tea kettle filed with dry ice (shticky again), and some ice cream or mouse in a 3 tea sauce w/mochi balls ( i think?) and a tea cracker. the tea sauce and cracker were tasty, but nothing worth talking about.

the 2 dishes i would eat again:
-steak w/veggies in oyster sauce. very tasty, best dish by far. decent sized, cooked nice and mediumly.
-peking duck (served w/4 smallish pieces) good, no fat, & crispy skin (if you like to eat it)
-wanted the ribs, but they ran out and it took an hour to find that out
- cold sliced chicken w/ginger was good, but not running back for it. presented nicely.
-lobster in black bean sauce could have been good, had we been able to taste lobster... it was way overpowered by sauce and had a little bit if a kick- i saw red pepper flakes. this after my mother inquired about the other sauce option (which was spicy) and told the waiter she couldnt eat anything spicy so got the black bean sauce. was a decent sized portion, presented in a filo dough like basket.
-dumplings all looked fine

well that's as thorough as i can be right now. i think the check for 3 came to something like $280, making the $60/person i recently had for excellent food & service, and feeling stuffed at Buddakan feel like a steal.
i left a lot of constructive criticism, and i hope they are listening to what people have said this week and last. while i'm sure there is plenty more food to try and peraps some gems on the menu, the overall experience left us hungry and very disappointed. the other trendy asian restaurants have nothing to fear here, imo. can't wait to hear what anyone else thinks...

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