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Fatty Crab’s hustling impresario Zak Pelaccio is still fine-tuning his Pan-Asian riff at Chop Suey as our foursome settles into the glass-wrapped second-story nest at the Renaissance hotel overlooking Times Square’s neon rat-a-tat. Illuminated stock-market ticker tape streaming across Broadway seems to run right into our scallion pancakes with chopped-pear mostarda and the luscious oyster and bacon in lettuce cups with kimchee. I am bemused by designer Jordan Mozer’s subdued drama, his undulating salt and pepper shakers and occasional anthropomorphic sofas in the bar-lounge. Pelaccio’s mixed Asian metaphors are dramatic, too: chili-detonated noodles with curls of Chinese roasted pork, and the savory chicken wings with fried curry leaf. “It’s a hotel, so you gotta have something accessible,” Pelaccio says of the wings. Crispy rock shrimp on thin-sliced pork belly is tame enough for sissies, too. Perfectly cooked halibut in a complex green-curry sauce, the big fat burger with kimchee and cabbage slaw, and sensational roasted potatoes are the hits of our tasting, better than dried-out pork shoulder or disappointingly staid short ribs. Sorbets in a fortune-cookie “saucer” make a tangy finale. “How could I say ‘No, I’m too busy’ when someone asks me to do a restaurant in the center of Times Square?” Pelaccio muses. With entrées from $24 to $80 (for Wagyu rib eye), let’s hope Pelaccio keeps tweaking and tasting till he runs off to a new Fatty Crab on upper Broadway.
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