Mon-Thurs, 5:30pm-10:30pm; Fri-Sat, 5:30pm-11pm
A, B, C, D, E, F, V at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq.; 1 at Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Even though it’s a Chinese-food-loving city, New York has been reticent to embrace most upmarket riffs on the cuisine, but that might change with Wong. In this charming, dim, knickknack-adorned, white-brick West Village restaurant, Malaysian born chef-owner Simpson Wong (Café Asean) turns out a lineup of refined dishes that, in many cases, reflect the sweet flavors and curries of his native country. This influence is evident from the moment the complimentary housemade naan (served with an addictive paneer-curry dipping sauce) hits the table. It stands out, too, in the duck buns, shreds of tasty meat whose highlight is definitely the sweet and deep-fried mantou bread, a typical accompaniment to the Singaporean-Malay dish chili crab. Mustard greens are simply satisfying in a peanut curry dressing. Shrimp fritters are another highlight, deep-fried crustacean nubs over a bed of cool Asian pear slices and housemade rice noodle—a salad to toss in its lime-based dressing. Pretzel-crusted oysters are crisp and plump, in a kimchee broth with the somewhat unnecessary (albeit tasty) addition of Italian ravioli. Sadly, lobster egg foo young falls flat, flavorwise, despite its intriguing cast-iron-skillet presentation. Presentation is big here in general: Elaborately named noodle dish Cha Ca La Wong is a three-part process to assemble, beginning with skillet-cooked hake that get strewn over a bed of noodles; its dark vinegar sauce may overwhelm many Western palates. Unlike Chinese places farther downtown, Wong isn't designed for family-style ordering, and after each person has an appetizer and entree, the bill may cause sticker shock. Still, don't let that stop you from sampling pastry chef Judy Chen's (Daniel) artful desserts; duck ice cream sounds gimmicky, but the salty-sweet-creamy matchup is wholly satisfying, and the elegant presentation with five-spice cookie and shot glass of housemade plum soda reminds that this homey little restaurant has high culinary ambitions.Featured In
Cheap Eat of the Year: The Steamed Bun (7/8/12)Recommended Dishes
Duck buns, $9; shrimp fritters, $12.50; Cha Ca La Wong, $17; duck a la Plum, $9.