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Sep 10, 2008 01:23 PM

Richard Chen

Who's been and what are your thoughts? I had been anxiously awaiting the opening of this place for months and was somewhat disappointed. Did anyone else have a similar experience?

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  1. Hi, first time post...I came here to see what others thought of Richard Chen. We went on a Saturday evening at 7:30. The service was really bad. We were seated on time but we sat for a very long time waiting for menus. Our waitress finally shows up, drops off the menus and leaves AGAIN...she never asked if we were interested in drinks. She came back and took drink and dinner choices. I ordered the rack of lamb, it wasn't until everyone had ordered and she asked me if I ordered the rack of lamb or the lamb special that we even knew they HAD specials....again loooong wait, the cocktails arrived at the same time as the appetizers. Appetizers were wisked away entrees followed quickly behind. Everything was just ordinary, not bad just eh. We did order desserts they were the best thing we ate all night, but the coffee was very cold. The waitress did return quickly with new cups and a fresh pot. The room is very tight...a few less tables would be good. During the long waits I looked around and saw a lot of people looking around...I don't think the poor service was confined to just our table. For what we was way to expensive. Hopefully things will improve.

    1. I have had the pleasure at dining at Richard Chen twice. I had positive experiences both times. I think it's a great addition to the Pittsburgh dining scene and I enjoyed everything I ordered. Tables are a little tight but I appreciate the restaurant decor - bright, light, sparse -again, something very different than other restaurants in the area. To note, I was on someone else's generous dime on one occasion there - I don't plan on this being a 'regular' spot due to the price point. Service was a little awkward - the first time I dined there we had multiple waiters and this seemed to add to the confusion. The second time I dined there, I had one waiter, one runner, and this seemed to work much better - maybe they are working out the service issues. I really really enjoyed the steamed black cod. Everyone at the table agreed this dish was outstanding. Other dishes recommended: Five Spice Duck, Shu Mai, Szechuan Green Beans. Bottom line - I had a wonderful meal and I think its definitely worth a try - just know its basically a la carte and its going to be pricey (Pittsburgh-wise) - a meal for two (without drinks) could run you into the $100 range.

      1. My husband and I ate there 9/12/08. We did not have any major services issues as others have noted -- in fact, they the servers may have been a bit TOO attentive at times. We enjoyed the food but were not "wowed" by anything. We thought the restaurant had a nice ambience and had a pleasant time overall -- though it won't be on the top of my list to run back. I think there are many other restaurants in Pittsburgh at that price point which are more impressive. We ordered spring rolls, a hot and sour soup, an asian pear salad, duck entree, steamed cod entree, green beans side, steamed brown rice, and a panna cotta for dessert. All the food plus two glasses of wine and one cocktail came to $135. I don't think the prices are that high (especially after living in San Francisco for two years), but I was hoping for a little more excitement.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sdemarco7

          There was a pretty harsh review written in a local blog:

          Author compares his experience in Pittsburgh vs. the Vegas restaurant and was not impressed by Pittsburgh.

        2. SO disappointed. Waiter was very pushy and oddly condescending, including offering a weird explanation of "ootzoo" which i later figured out was meant to be Yuzu. Portions were VERY small and flavors were kinda muddy. I think this is probably the best Chinese-ish restaurant in Pittsburgh, but sadly, that didn't make it good. One upshot: the decor is elegant and the room is lovely.

          1. I agree that the quality did not match up to the price. I could have done better at PF Changs. Has anyone been to his Vegas place that has won all of these top notch awards? Why didn't he bring that menu to Pittsburgh?

            5 Replies
            1. re: SaraMiller

              Probably thinks it needs to be toned down for Pittsburgh. Maybe like Lidia, believes he's doing good for the common folk by making an accessible restaurant. Bah.

              (Admittedly I have know knowledge of Richard Chen's motives, beyond that he is married to a woman who owns another restaurant in the Pittsburgh area. Lidia, though, I have heard from those with more knowledge that her motive is as described.)

              1. re: SaraMiller

                I have been to both Richard Chen and Wing Lei. The difference in the menus is that there is a lot more selections on the menu in Vegas. Most of the items in Pittsburgh are on the Vegas menu. I'm sure there are a bunch of reasons that he didn't bring that entire menu. First and foremost is that he is not going to be here all that often. A prerequisite to have a restaurant at the Wynn (which is completely different from most Vegas properties) is that the chef has to be on site. They could not lend their name to a place and have someone else running the kitchen, the only exception being Daniel Boulud. So Richard Chen is in the kitchen most nights in Vegas. That makes a big difference. Second, the talent of the line cooks working is night and day between the two cities. It is much easier to execute a menu on a night to night basis with a more talented staff. Lastly, the Vegas property does a lot more business than the place in Pittsburgh which allows you to have a bigger menu, and I hate to say it, but a number of the items on the Vegas menu would just not sell real well in the Pittsburgh market. I had abalone, geoduck clams, and something with a thousand year egg when I ate there, all of which are not easy to get in Pittsburgh and might not sell.

                1. re: mcharles

                  I have been there twice and have really enjoyed both times. The price has come to around $60 pp with drinks and appetizers. The menu really lets you stay conservative (mongolian beef & kung pao chicken) or try more exotic items (jellyfish etc.). If I was forced to compare it, I would say it is similar to Suzanna Foo in Philly but possibly a younger version. Suzanna Foo has better food but was not far superior. It is a great addition to the Pittsburgh dining scene and is better left to those who want a complete dining experience and not merely exotic nouveau-Asian chow. It seems unfair to compare it to its Vegas breathren where it can command higher prices, has 3 nightly seatings and caters to a vacation crowd. That clientele does not exist in Pittsburgh and it is silly to think the restaurant could support the same menu.

                  1. re: meatmaster

                    I agree! Have been to Chen's several times and enjoyed it each visit. Love the Black Cod....

                    1. re: meatmaster

                      I agree with you as well. I enjoyed Richard Chen when I visited, I was simply giving a comparison of the menu between it and Wing Lei. I think the Susanna Foo comparison is a good one.