529 Hudson St., nr. Charles St.; 212-792-9700
Simplicity tends to be the best policy when it comes to ancient western versions of that timeless barnyard classic roast chicken. But don’t tell that to Joe Ng, the frenetically inventive chef-partner of the popular new West Village restaurant RedFarm. This technically complex dish appears on the menu as an occasional market special. Before it gets to the table, Ng sweetens the free-range bird with spoonfuls of brown sugar and smokes it in a steaming wok in two different kinds of tea. After that, the chicken is roasted until the skin has a crackly, parchmentlike quality, chopped into chopstick-ready squares in the Chinatown style, and served on a platter scattered with scallions, soft mushrooms, and little bits of star anise. The result is succulent, crispy, sweet, and compulsively delicious, a perfect combination of Western amplitude and intricately flavored Asian technique.