Water Moon on UWS: when will it reopen?
after seeing this post, we figured we'd try it tonight...it's nearby and we weren't too hungry, so a few dumplings and pork buns sounded just fine.
our excitement ended nearly immediately upon entering Canteen 82. the restaurant is very bright and has little charm to it. the waitstaff was sloppy in their appearance, most notably the manager who looked, well, dirty. fine, we were there for the food, not a fashion show...
thinking we'd try a few different dishes, we first ordered XLBs (pork soup buns) and pork buns, which i figured would be similar to what is served at Ippudo. the pork buns came out first. they were more like fried dumplings. nice crisp outside and soft doughy inside, but no flavor. definitely edible, but not desirable.
the XLBs came out a few minutes later and were pretty good. the broth was light and less fatty than others i've had. the skins were not too thin, but not too thick. taste was different than usual, but not in a bad way. still, they're far from the best that Manhattan has to offer.
service was so poor and neither of the two buns enticed us to order more so we settled up and left. there were only a few other full tables, yet we struggled to get refills on water even once. when we finally did, the waiter came over with a coffee pot substituting as a water pitcher...details, people...details. all in all, we left thinking we wouldn't return.
we must have been there at the same time. after seeing the op this morn, i sauntered over around 8:30pm. definitely a bizarre place. i walked in to an atmosphere of confusion and inexperience.
i ordered fried chicken dumplings, scallion pancakes, a ginger ale and a chocolate chip muffin. afterall, those random desserts behind the glass case were so out of place that i was hoping, perhaps, they were there b/c they were just so darn good .
a confused-looking guy took my order and spent about 10 minutes trying to get the dumpling order into the computer system. [i mean i didn't order anything unique. i'm sure dumplings are their most popular item!!] . after trying and trying, he called an older woman over (the one who ran to the front every time someone walked in) and announced to her that the computer wouldn't take the dumplings and she would need to tell the kitchen to add them to the order that had just transmitted. she was very confused by this request and kept questioning him.
anyway, i threw the poor guy over the edge with my decision to add a ginger ale onto my order b/c he couldn't get that into the system either. he kept saying, "ugggh , ginger ale is different." someone had to come over to help him but he couldn't do it either. finally, i paid and went to sit down.
someone soon brought over a warm can of ginger ale in a glass with two small (and nearly melted ice cubes) and no straw. i watched as folks stopped in or looked with intrigue from outside only, to turn away once they saw the menu or felt the vibe.
it is these key moments that will make or break a place. sadly, this didn't go well for them.
after about 15-20 minutes of waiting, another guy came over to tell me the computer system lost my order and he had to take it again. if i hadn't paid already, i would have just left but i couldn't even fathom asking them to credit my card with the charge.
10 minutes later i got boiled chicken dumplings (even though i had repeated fried twice during my original order and three times the second time to hear it repeated back to me by each guy who took the order) and the scallion pancakes. the dumplings have the weirdest, yellowish coating ever which is thick and chewy, and the chicken inside is gooey and smashed instead of a chunk of chicken. somehow, they were still edible and, surprisingly, i don't have stomach pains yet.
the scallion pancakes were very, very good - light, airy and crispy with a pleasant taste.
just as i was about to finish, the older lady ( who also spent most of her time FAILING to do damage control) told one of the guys that i still hadn't gotten my fried chicken dumplings. they interacted briefly over this possibility and then the guy came over. i politely told him i did in fact get the dumplings but they were not fried. he cleared the plates without offering an apology.
ok, i know they just opened and we should cut them slack. usually i do but there is just too much wrong with this place, aside from the computer system and poorly-trained employees. sadly, this place will not last. the lady told me water moon still owns the place. it appears they redid it with a cafe theme and decided to stick in random asian dishes as a after-thought. the confused theme matches the confusion level of the staff. they also definitely kept plugging their daily 8am opening time for the stuff in the glass case - 3 croissants, 4 muffins, and 6 containers of cookies. that's it. btw, the muffin was meh.
here's a photo of the dumplings: http://www.highlowfooddrink.com/2010/...
lol. i was sitting up front at a table for two - small, beardless white girl with my dark hair pulled back into a bun. i have a faint memory of perhaps seeing you guys but i wasn't able to process much while sitting there.
y'know, i kinda had this thought a couple of times before, i think CHers should be able to identify themselves to other CHers. i dunno....i'm thinking somethin' like a small, red piece of cardboard shaped into a giant "C" slipped into a small silver holder would do it. so we'd be the only ones in the know and can chat if we feel like it. perhaps i'll suggest this crazy idea in a post to see if i can make it happen. it would be fun and totally voluntary.
Totally agree. Had soup dumplings, duck buns and scallion pancakes.
The pancakes were meh, but the dumplings and the buns were very good. Too bad it took them 1/2 hour to get them out of the kitchen. The place definitely has kitchen timing and service issues... I wonder if that's the best they can do for the prices, which are pretty cheap (though as others have pointed out, not Chinatown cheap).