May 17 2018

Dadong New York


3 Bryant Park
New York, NY 10036

Finally, I dined at Dadong in New York. I probably will return reluctantly, because of, I’m from Beijing, their duck is good, the decor is nice. At the moment, they may be the only high-end Chinese restaurant in town (Tse Yang @  34 E 51 St closed about 10 years ago; Mr. K’s at 570 Lexington closed too … those so-called high end needed to be shut down, making room for the newer ones. Buddakan & Tao, and the like are under the name of Asian or Asian fusion…). I heard from a friend that the majority owner of Dadong is from Hong Kong, and Dadong itself holds a minor stake.

The entrance is from a yard. Their interior decoration is pretty good, not as tacky as their many branches in Beijing.

 


They have an extensive wine list, with nice wine glasses – thin stems and light. This 2014 Pinot Noir is from Domaine Fourrier (Jean-Marie Fourrier) in Bourgogne/Burgundy, France – where they produce Burgundy wines, also the pinot noirs and Chardonnay, Chablis and Beaujolais. The sommelier said this wine is allocated to them – which brought me to think of food rations 粮票 ha ha.

The service. It’s good but inflexible: when our server kept on asking if there is anything he can do for us, that makes me wonder how can’t he judge if we need him or not? More training, perhaps? I do miss the good old boys at the steakhouses who just knew when or what a customer needs. A girl came to take our order, lectured without any regards that all food should be shared … Don’t I look like a Chinese? Thank heaven they didn’t try to teach us to use chopsticks. Then funny enough, after my friend order this wine, the sommelier switched to French but when my friend replied in excellent French – yes Americans are known to have no second language – he then switched back to English.


We were running 45 minutes late but called ahead. When we got there, were seated immediately, to the third floor. The first/ground floor is just a reception desk with a single girl manning it. The second floor is the bar, pretty noisy. The small dining hall on the third floor is very quiet, with one couple at the table near the elevator. Oddly enough, the usher wanted to seat us on the first table to the elevator, next to them – what was she thinking? By the time we’re done, the hall only added two more tables with six people in total – I asked for the table at far end. “Fine,” she said and then led us over. When we were just about to sit down, a staff came, “oh, no. This table is unstable.” As the leg was broken. Emmm… they’ve just opened last November, and the unstable table is nicely laid out with tableware. It was so close to us, I had to ask them to move it away from us a little, avoiding knock over unintentionally by me.

The food. The freebies, edamame (ends cut – detail, very good) and boiled peanuts are good choices. Tufu with scallion, water chestnut 马蹄, pea sprout 豌豆苗 and zhajiangmiao (noodles) 炸酱面 are good.

  


The duck is good, they sell half too.

The pinenuts fish and dumplings have been cooked long before they were served – I liked how they pace the food but that doesn’t mean the chef should cook so far ahead, and let the food sit around. The fish wasn’t crisp. One look at the dumplings I knew they were toward cold – see the sagging skins, and the fillings are ok but could be a little less fine/fussy. The dumplings were topped with alfalfa sprouts – totally not necessary. Two dumplings are broken, come on, this is so basic!

 

Some diners on the other side were overly loud for this type of environment – remember, it’s a Chinese eatery, with many Chinese – not something the restaurant could control. Nice music but could tune down a bit.

All in all, I think Buddakan is better, not that many issues I could think of.

And another basic question, where is my duck bone? I ordered half, there still should be half of the bones, right?