1 at Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq.; A, B, C, D, E, F, M at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq.
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This venue is closed.
Pichet Ong, the former pastry chef at Spice Market, rose to foodie prominence long before the Top Chef craze began, though judging from the madcap recipe combinations he throws together at P*ong, his diminutive, highly stylized restaurant in the West Village, he could have been a contender. “This is a bit too peculiar for me,” my father declared, sounding, for a moment, like the great Colicchio himself. He was picking hesitantly at a cap of whipped foie gras, sealed in a slightly burned brûlée crust with a drizzling of cognac, some cherries, and a dab of pistachio-flavored jelly. Or maybe it was the savory, surprisingly tasty “Stilton soufflé,” rolled in crushed walnuts with a scoop of basil-arugula ice cream, or the mound of fresh white crab meat, which Ong flavors with lemon and tarragon, among other things, then sets on a pillow of chiffon-smooth apple mousse, which has a sweetness to it that accentuates the sweetness of the crab. Am I beginning to sound like Colicchio, too? That’s what showy, designer cooking will do. It’s not about eating, really. It’s about experience and experimentation, and depending on one’s mood, it can move you to flights of fancy or plunge you into despair. I experienced both emotions during my visits to P*ong. The twenty-seat room is colored in shades of blond and green, and feels less like a restaurant than a beauty salon (one seviche dish is spritzed with a perfume atomizer). For all its flash and invention, there isn’t much on the menu that adds up to a real meal. The closest thing to a hungry-man’s dinner is a limp serving of Wagyu carpaccio (dripped with a wood-sorrel emulsion), plus an excellent polenta pudding dotted with wild morels.Note
At $59 per person, the chef’s ten-course “suite menu” is one of the better gourmet bargains in town.Ideal Meal
Sweet Maine crab, polenta pudding, kaffir-lime meringue.