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Wakiya (@ the Gramercy Park Hotel)

m
mlt9 Jul 16, 2007 10:50 PM

so has anyone else been? i really can't wait to hear what all you foodies have to say about this one when you get in... after all the waiting and hype i heard, the reservation line might be open, and they say they're opening to the public next week, but i say save your money.

i should preface by saying i got to go as a "friend" this week and had high hopes. overall, we found it HIGHLY disappointing, overpriced & disorganized.. i don't know if i have the strength to fully review now, but it was not very good, especially their "signature" dish i forget what it was called- chow shin or something like that (steamed shrimp, 4 medium ones (or scallops, beef or veggies) with some veggies(broccoli, edamame beans, bean sprouts) in a steamer, over hot rocks, cooked/steamed by tea poured over it) for $38. first it came out raw (steamer lid remove too soon?) & had to be redone, then was over-cooked. just too unpredictable & RIDICULOUS. i had better expectations and that was just absurd...

2 dishes were good, one was the tiny peking duck, others were overpowered by sauces, others were forgotten altogether due to miscommunications with the kitchen and the lack of english spoken in it. too much seems to requre a "shticky" explanation, and those were lost or forgotten too. the waiter tried, and i know it's new, but there were many wiaters and employees floating around and service was spotty and lacking. they didn't check in enough, especially given small sporadic portions, so if anything was needed for a dish (ie: dumpling sauce) the food would be cold if you waited. and i had to ask for water 3 times.

the high(low) lights:
-nice atmosphere, small, long & narrow with booths on one side & the bar and a few tables on the other , darkish, loungey mini couches and chairs alternating, in navys/black and red fringed curtains, but it was very loud and tables are close together so hard to hear even those in your party.
-1 unisex bathroom w/ 2 stalls & 2 sinks. i'm not a fan of this trend. it was black and dark, simple but w/ modern sinks.
-$18 special watermelon cocktail- delish but no way i'd spend that more than once if at all. $14 glasses of wine. $8 kirin (i think sapporo too)
-large menu, certainly options for everyone, but i expect it will be cut back. didn't have prices on it yet. served family style, as each dish is ready.
--there were approx 10 cold dishes, at least 8 kinds of dim sum, (good chicken & shrimp dumplings, but dry enough that they could have used some sauce/juice), maybe 6 soups (individual portions of these, served in maybe 3/4 full small tea cups, $6 each, 8 or so hot smaller dishes, a number of fish dishes ( i recall 2 sea bass and a halibut maybe, as well as shrimp & lobster options), chicken, at least 3 kinds of steak dishes with sauce options, 3-5 rice & noodles dishes (fried rice omelette in XO sauce was an awful, disapointment, bland other than the sauce that wasn't very well done, and expensive), 4 or 5 veggie side dishes.
- we only had 2 desert options, one bland mango pudding served atop a tea kettle filed with dry ice (shticky again), and some ice cream or mouse in a 3 tea sauce w/mochi balls ( i think?) and a tea cracker. the tea sauce and cracker were tasty, but nothing worth talking about.

the 2 dishes i would eat again:
-steak w/veggies in oyster sauce. very tasty, best dish by far. decent sized, cooked nice and mediumly.
-peking duck (served w/4 smallish pieces) good, no fat, & crispy skin (if you like to eat it)
-wanted the ribs, but they ran out and it took an hour to find that out
- cold sliced chicken w/ginger was good, but not running back for it. presented nicely.
-lobster in black bean sauce could have been good, had we been able to taste lobster... it was way overpowered by sauce and had a little bit if a kick- i saw red pepper flakes. this after my mother inquired about the other sauce option (which was spicy) and told the waiter she couldnt eat anything spicy so got the black bean sauce. was a decent sized portion, presented in a filo dough like basket.
-dumplings all looked fine

well that's as thorough as i can be right now. i think the check for 3 came to something like $280, making the $60/person i recently had for excellent food & service, and feeling stuffed at Buddakan feel like a steal.
i left a lot of constructive criticism, and i hope they are listening to what people have said this week and last. while i'm sure there is plenty more food to try and peraps some gems on the menu, the overall experience left us hungry and very disappointed. the other trendy asian restaurants have nothing to fear here, imo. can't wait to hear what anyone else thinks...

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  1. D...DF Jul 22, 2007 10:38 PM

    Thanks, mlt9. Anyone else been? Cancel my rezzie?

    1 Reply
    1. re: D...DF
      m
      mlt9 Jul 23, 2007 07:22 AM

      well i have heard they are taking all the comments they received seriously, and are re-working things.. so if you are going to go, i'd suggest waiting a bit till they have a better hang of things...

    2. Zion Jul 31, 2007 01:31 PM

      Dinner for 4 at Wakiya last night....quick drinks, good wine service, attentive staff, friendly greet. Here is where the concept comes short...the portion/price/flavor profile was off. The server mentioned "family style" yet we had to order a total of 6 entree and 2 desserts (4 people) and we were still hungry after dinner. Im talking all 4 of us needed a pizza or something! Some of the dishes were literally 4-6 bites with less than 2 oz. of protein. Standouts of these were the soft shell crab and the pekin duck. HINT- stay away from the lobster/chicken combo!! its a scam. False advertizing at its best, with a plate overflowing with red peppers, that look from a far like marinated chicken or beef, yet are pure garnish, not meant to be eaten. 15% of the contents on the plate can be eaten, and the tempura was soggy and lacked taste. So.....Dont go with an appetite, or definatelly order about 3-4 dishes per person to be satisfied. Decor was nice, music was right, unisex bathrooms are a surprise considering the space they have. $300 for 4 people without tip with $110 of it in wine. One last note that left a sour note was that after dinner you are not allowed in to the rose bar, not even for an after dinner drink. never seen that...and i was with 3 hot women! after having a drink at the "lobby bar" management asked us if we wanted to go in yet it was a clear NO at first...weird..

      1. jrazzle Aug 3, 2007 02:47 PM

        I had a reservation for 8:30 at Wakiya tonight. Since two people in my party wouldn't be able to make it, I wanted to call to change the reservation. Upon calling, I was told that the restaurant was not taking phone calls. When I asked if it was open, the receptionist told me that she would transfer me, but I would not get through. I asked her how to go about changing a reservation and she said, "Oh, I thought you were making a reservation." Then, she transferred me. The hostess, or the person who answered the phone, was also quite rude as I attempted to change the reservation. I actually ended up just canceling the whole thing. Has anyone had a positive experience so far?

        4 Replies
        1. re: jrazzle
          r
          RGR Aug 3, 2007 03:35 PM

          Andrea Strong's experience was certainly anything but positive, at least with regard to the hostesses and manger, who somehow managed to miss the lessons about hospitality at restaurant school. You can read her description here (Scroll down): http://thestrongbuzz.com/buzz/buzz_vi...

          1. re: RGR
            s
            Simon Aug 3, 2007 07:10 PM

            Sounds awful...and when i think how wonderful the old bad-piano/goldfish-cracker/cheap-drink bar at the Gramercy used to be, it makes alternately weary and enraged...

            1. re: Simon
              DoctortedNYC Aug 4, 2007 04:28 PM

              I dont think the Schrager hotels were ever known for their food. In addition, I think Asian Fusion cuisine is really an oxymoron.
              Wakiya like so many NYC restaurants seems pretentious and boring.

          2. re: jrazzle
            Zion Aug 5, 2007 06:37 AM

            I totally feel for your experience there...wow! amateur show! the phone exchange is sometimes the guests first contact with a restaurant and thus must be stellar, and this example was anything but....is this what is expected from nobu managment? i am yet to hear a possitive experience but in hospitality and culinary!

          3. l
            Lillian Hsu Aug 13, 2007 07:43 AM

            Just adding a recent review:

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/430507

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