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Yam'Tcha-like experience in NYC?

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  • cqt Jul 21, 2013 07:59 PM
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I recently had an amazing experience at Yam'Tcha in Paris. Amazingly great - omakase-style food that blew our minds with how simple but delicious it was.

Any similar experiences in NYC? I have one more day to plan for.

Usually, when we go, we hit all the big places (EMP, Per Se, Le Bernardin, JG, ABC Kitchen, etc.). This time will be no different.

But I'm still thinking about Yam'Tcha and the amazing food in Paris....

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  1. Your best bet might be Hakkasan.

    1. I'm not that familiar with Yam'Tcha in Paris but when you say "simple but delicious" omakase in NYC, it makes me think of Kyo Ya.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Thank you! This seems to be similar to what Yam'Tcha was. I just read the NYTimes article on this. What was your experience like? Is it really hard to find?

        1. re: cqt

          It's not that hard to find as long as you know what block it's on, and that its basement level, so you need to go down a flight of stairs. I was able to spot it just now on Google Street View.

          My experiences there have always been excellent. Serene setting, charming staff, great food, and interesting daily specials, often using ingredients flown in from Japan.

      2. There's no equivalent to Yam'Tcha in New York. Frankly, I'm not even sure Yam'Tcha would survive in New York, there isn't a lot of respect for expensive Chinese food in this city. The closest we have to a high end Chinese restaurant is Hakkasan but it's stylistically different.

        If you have a group of 8-10 people, Pearl East in Long Island does a brilliant chef's tasting if you call ahead and explain what you are looking for.

        24 Replies
        1. re: Pookipichu

          Why do you say there's no respect? Isn't it a chicken and egg thing? Wouldn't we have to have some to disrespect it first?

          1. re: Peter Cuce

            I'm not so sure.

            Everytime an expensive Chinese restaurant opens, people in general start screaming that they shouldn't charge so much for Chinese food.

            And the outerborough specialists start bragging that they can name 50 places where you can eat better for less than $10.

            1. re: Sneakeater

              What Sneakeater said. Anytime an expensive Chinese restaurant opens they are held to a different standard than any other cuisine. It seems the food, service, execution need to be perfect to command such prices whereas lesser restaurants of different cuisines are given more leeway.

              Peter, there exists a high end Chinese restaurant in NYC and it is called Hakkasan and yes it has been disrespected. The reviews of Hakkasan were unfairly scathing, unfair period. It's not a perfect restaurant but the food is on par or better than many acclaimed restaurants at a similar price point. With this kind of reception, what restauranteur would open a high end Chinese tasting menu concept in NYC.

              1. re: Pookipichu

                And the victim is people who adore fine dining Chinese cuisine like myself. I really miss that haute Chinese cuisine found everywhere in Hong Kong.

                1. re: Pookipichu

                  So your entire thesis is based on one restaurant?

                  1. re: Peter Cuce

                    No, it's based on reactions I've heard throughout the years on the openings of Mr. K, Wakiya, 66, Hakkasan. It's also based on subtle disdain I've heard for Chinese food in general, relegating it to the $20 and under, cheap and tasty category.

                    To clarify, people are generally willing to accept Chinese food if it is inexpensive. But judge harshly if it is expensive. I contrast that with how any number of other cuisines are treated. Like haute Mexican eatery, Fonda in Park Slope, which is obscenely expensive based on portion size and cost of ingredients, not even as flavorful and delicious as places like Tortilleria Nixtamal, but Fonda is constantly packed and very well reviewed.

                    1. re: Pookipichu

                      Also: Shang by Susur Lee

                      1. re: kathryn

                        Thanks Kathryn, I forgot about Shang.

                      2. re: Pookipichu

                        Its amazing how many people have been harsh on Hakkasan without trying the food. Some good news, seems like Hakkasan is doing alright, was there on a weekday lunch recently and it was full of Chinese families skipping the prefix and doing a la carte dining. Wakiya, seemed like it was doomed from the start, most people wouldnt understand\enjoy wafu chuuka @ premium prices, surprisingly Saburi is still around.

                        1. re: Shirang

                          You raise a point that was extremely baffling to me, the people on the boards who were bashing Hakkasan without even having eaten there.

                          Furthermore, reading the reviews of critics, I feel like I went to a completely different restaurant than them. According to one reviewer, Hakkasan is a "zero" star restaurant and Pok Pok "5 stars". Something is seriously amiss with the reviewer, not the Hakkasan. If it is not culinary bias, I have no other explanation.

                          1. re: Shirang

                            I can appreciate Hakkasan for what it is.

                          2. re: Pookipichu

                            This general devaluing also crosses over into the "industry" as well. A general lack of Chinese cuisines or chefs on The Food Network, no delicious Chinese "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," no James Beard award winning Chinese chefs etc.

                          3. re: Peter Cuce

                            Years ago Canton was the "high end' restaurant in Chinatown. The food was very good, The dishes were the same as most of the banquet places but double the price. It was always rated by Zagat as #1 Chinese restaurant. But most people complained that it was too expensive. David K's was another uptown expensive Chinese restaurant, that used to be packed all the time. So I guess some people gave respect to the high end places.
                            Tamarind is an Indian restaurant in the same situation, it is at least double most Indian restaurants. But manage to get some respect. Personally, I've had better Indian food in Queens for much cheaper.
                            Maharlika has managed to get some respect for Filipino food, which is typically inexpensive and huge portions. Maharlika is much more expensive and much smaller portions, but has gotten respect of mostly non-Filipino clientele.
                            I have not found a high end Dominican restaurant. But I would imagine it would be the same situation, as Dominican restaurants have great food at reasonable prices.

                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                              you're sort of missing out on what high end chinese food is, its not simply chinese food in a nice setting, its actually different food and few people on the NY board have had it bc it simply doesn't exist in the US literally. You'd have to go to HK to have it. Canton, Mr K etc etc are not what i would consider high end chinese, its literally not the same dishes (totally different)

                              I've thought about it and i have no idea whether it would do well in NY or not bc I'm not sure how the NY consumer would react to some of the ingredients (sea cucumber, very high end fish etc)

                              Btw Hakkasan is good, i dont understand the criticism of the place after having eaten there several times, i'd actually say its one of the best chinese restaurants in NY right now. I'll write a review on it at some point

                              1. re: Lau

                                its literally not the same dishes (totally different)
                                ___________________________

                                Word.

                                Part of the reason for the lack of high-end Chinese in the US is the difficulty in sourcing some of ingredients that high(er)-end Chinese restaurants often need.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  yah i can imagine that would be a pretty big issue if you were to actually try to open one up

                                2. re: Lau

                                  Just as an aside, there is more to high end Chinese cuisine than just restaurants in HK. There are fantastic high end Chinese restaurants in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Beijing and Taipei, etc. and not all of them are 佛跳牆, abalone, sea cucumber places.

                                  1. re: Pookipichu

                                    agreed, i just used HK as an example because its probably the most established as "high end" chinese cuisine (probably bc they've had money the longest), but certainly China, Taiwan etc have their own as Chinese cuisine is broad

                                  2. re: Lau

                                    I agree that Hakkasan is one of the best in the city. I look forward to reading your review of the restaurant.

                                    1. re: Cheeryvisage

                                      Cheeryvisage, do you mean one of the best in general or one the best Chinese restaurants?

                                      With regard to my experiences, I personally think that Hakkasan is the best overall Chinese restaurant in NYC right now and do not know of one better. I also rank Hakkasan highly among general restaurants I have eaten at with their standout dishes (Peking duck, pipa duck, Chinese honey seabass, dim sum and outstanding desserts (the flavor of the pistachio parfait and cassis sorbet is so intense)

                                      1. re: Pookipichu

                                        It's one of the best Chinese restaurants and in general, it's among the top 10 in my book.

                                        I also love their fruit platter. I can probably make an entire meal out of that fruit platter because it's so satisfying.

                                        Slightly digressing, I'm actually not a huge fan of their Peking Duck. The duck itself is great, but the way Hakkasan carves the duck... they don't carve it laterally like other Peking duck places so that you get the maximum amount of (crispy) skin per piece. Instead, the duck is sliced directly down, vertically so you barely get any skin. I wish they slice it like all of the other Peking duck places.

                                        1. re: Cheeryvisage

                                          I hear you, I've had a lot of Peking duck, everywhere that I see it offered and I know what you mean. However, I personally don't mind the way they slice the duck. Stylistically the pieces are attractively uniform and easy to wrap. My major complaint regarding the way they serve Peking duck is that they fail to properly time service. Peking duck should be served by itself, not with all the other entrees at once, because the pancakes cool and become gummy... or the entrees cool. Serving them together, diminishes the experience. Also, the server took away the lid of the bamboo steamer which exacerbated the cooling. These are novice type mistakes they shouldn't be making with such delicious duck.

                                    2. re: Lau

                                      I guess I'll have to go to HK to really see the high end food.
                                      I have not tried Hakkasan, you like it, but say there is no "real high end" Chinese food in NYC. Does that mean, Hakkasan is not high end, but just very good.
                                      I used to go to 30 Pell St. ( formerly Hong Gung) it was a banquet place, a dim sum place, then a karaoke place. i've had many dishes with sea cucumber , high end fish, quail, etc
                                      Many Chinese weddings took place here. At the time, years ago, I thought it was high end Chinese food.
                                      Lake Pavillion has Squirrel Fish, and many others, are those some of the high end fish dishes?
                                      Can you further describe what you would refer to as high end Chinese,,,, send link to your blog if necessary

                                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                                        no the menu at hakkasan is not the same as the high end places im talking although i wouldn't really consider it the same as the chinatown places either, so its probably somewhere in between

                                        here's a bunch of places (although look at the non-dim sum dishes as alot of these places serve high end dim sum as well):
                                        http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...
                                        http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...
                                        http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...
                                        http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...
                                        http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...
                                        http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...
                                        http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...

                                        i never really posted about them on my blog, but bc its been such a topic on the board, next time i go to HK im giong to make it a point to go a few and post on them

                                        kosmose7 actually have a bunch on his blog, but i can't read korean, so maybe he can post a few?

                        2. What was so amazing about Yam'Tcha in Paris? Did you post about your experience there on the France Board? Can you tell us more about the dishes that you had - and the teas?

                          Paris is not known for having great Chinese food. According to CH poster clemx, Yam’Tcha is the fusion of “French preparations with a restrained use of Asian ingredients.”

                          Yam’Tcha’s chef is Adeline Grattard. Her husband is Chi Wah. They spent two years in Hongkong. It seems that he pairs the tea to be served with her Asian inspired dishes - which change regularly.

                          61 Replies
                          1. re: scoopG

                            I've actually had amazing Chinese food in Paris, just not in the "Chinatown" but the high-end restaurants like Yam'Tcha and Shang Palace are exceptional.

                            1. re: Pookipichu

                              It seems Shang Palace, the same exact name as the Chinese restaurant at Kowloon Shangri-La Hong Kong, exists in every city that has a Shangri-La Hotel. Very nice!

                              1. re: Pookipichu

                                Ancedotal evidence is most always convincing, but rarely representative. In general, Paris is not known for its Chinese restaurants.

                                1. re: scoopG

                                  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Paris is famous for Chinese food. I'm saying I've had great Chinese food in Paris when I avoid Chinatown. The mid-tier Chinese restaurants in Paris would be considered high end in most of the US

                              2. re: scoopG

                                Here is my post with some pictures: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/904730

                                Despite the name, I wouldn't characterize Yam'Tcha as a Chinese restaurant. Other than the tea pairings and use of Asian ingredients, it is almost an entirely different cuisine than Chinese. I love the description you found in the quotes because it sums it up perfectly.

                                Used to live in London so have been to Hakkasan, which to me is upscale $$$ Chinese food. Yam'Tcha is totally different and exquisite in comparison. The tea pairings were a good counterbalance to the food - interestingly, the heavy dishes had the lighter teas while the initial amuse bouches had the smokies teas.

                                1. re: cqt

                                  Thanks. It's clear then what Chef Grattard is up to be then! You might also want to consider Jungsik. Here are some reports, starting with Cheeryvisage’s first (and second report) with photos:

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/815513
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/868416
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/861296
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/815513

                                  1. re: scoopG

                                    This is exactly what I was hoping to find and it's literally around the corner from family that ill be visiting! Hopefully, it won't be difficult to make reservations. Thank you! Will report back....

                                    1. re: scoopG

                                      Darn it....they are closed on Sunday!

                                      1. re: cqt

                                        Perhaps you can do some rearranging then.

                                    2. re: cqt

                                      I would disagree with you in the sense that while Yam'Tcha is not a traditional banquet style high end Chinese restaurant, it is similar to Chinese tasting menu concept restaurants I have been to in Taiwan. To say it is not Chinese food is to ignore or be unaware of a spectrum of Chinese food or for example equate only red sauce pasta serving restaurants as Italian.

                                      1. re: Pookipichu

                                        Perhaps we have arrived at post Chinese cuisine then.

                                        In 2010 I spent ten days in Qingdao* and can say just about every lunch and dinner meal I had was a Chef’s tasting menu. Eating with Chinese friends (old and new) I never saw a menu, nor was one ever presented at the table. The banquets were either decided ahead of time or planned with the chef on the spot.

                                        Adeline Grattard herself says (on the Yam’Tcha website) that what she is doing is “a fusion initiation, inspired by Cantonese tradition” and that she “draws her inspiration from Chinese gastronomic culture, yet is determined to preserve her cultural heritage.”

                                        This isn’t a case of a Fuchsia Dunlop meets Wylie Dufresne. Grattard did not spend years studying Chinese, then classical Chinese cuisine(s) and then decide to create her own riffs. One of her main influences seems to be her mentor at L’Astrance, chef Pascal Barbot (just out with his “Astrance: A Cookbook” at $95).

                                        She then spent two years at Bo Innovation in Hongkong – where Alvin Leung, Jr. seems to be mixing molecular gastronomy with traditional Chinese cuisine: a thin slice of tuna belly topped with freeze-dried raspberries and air-dried powdered foie gras or ice cream made from Chinese sausage baked with rice in a casserole pot.

                                        ETA: * ten days in Shandong province: Qingdao and Weihai mostly.

                                        1. re: scoopG

                                          I think we just have different viewpoints on what constitutes Chinese food. I don't think that my viewpoint is definitive, and I can see arguments for and against, but I do view Yamtcha as Chinese.

                                          1. re: Pookipichu

                                            When the French chef herself does not call it Chinese, where do go from there? If only she was much more grounded in the basics of Chinese cooking. (We have enough "chefs' running around this country already claiming to serve "French" or "Italian" that never trained there, let alone speak the language...)

                                            Perhaps as new techniques fuse with classical Chinese cuisines, UC Riverside anthropologist E.N. Anderson’s old definition will fade:

                                            Chinese food is defined by a flavor principle of soy sauce, ginger, garlic and green onions and cooking methods that include stir-frying and steaming.

                                            1. re: scoopG

                                              I am astonished. That definition is as offensive as it is incorrect.

                                              It sounds like Prof. Anderson is talking about Chung King frozen Chinese dinners. His definition isn't even accurate as to the Cantonese cuisine I assume he's addressing -- much less an even conceivably possible summation of the cuisine of a country with dozens of culinarily distinct regions.

                                              You hardly need to fuse new techniques to classical Chinese cuisines to come up with something infinitely deeper than what that passage describes.

                                              And people doubt that Chinese food gets insufficient respect in the U.S.??????!!!!!!!

                                              1. re: Sneakeater

                                                All of the Chinese cuisines share those characteristics - plus I would add rice wines and specialty vinegars.

                                                ETA: I guess he wrote a book about it.
                                                http://www.amazon.com/The-Food-China-...

                                              2. re: scoopG

                                                Chinese food is defined by a flavor principle of soy sauce, ginger, garlic and green onions and cooking methods that include stir-frying and steaming.
                                                ______________________________

                                                What about Northern specialties like dumplings, baos, mantous, da-bing, noodles, etc.?

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  A lot of steaming and lots of scallions.

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    I guess you'll just have to buy his book.

                                                    1. re: scoopG

                                                      The last thing I need is a professor of anthropology to tell me about Chinese food.

                                                      I'm better off reading 老夫子 comics. Probably more edifying, too.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        I adore 老夫子! Haven't read those in years :)

                                                        1. re: Pookipichu

                                                          A great national treasure!

                                                          All the lessons in life are explained in those comics, and more.

                                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                                      Even in Cantonese cuisine, they have deep-frying, poaching, boiling, baking, and broiling techniques, etc, etc.

                                                      As a person who used to live in Hong Kong over ten years, I think top rated fine Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong are on par with places like Le Bernardin in New York. Although Hong Kong currently has only one Michelin three starred Chinese restaurant (Lung King Heen @ Four Seasons), HK locals would agree that some restaurants without Michelin stars are equally good.

                                                      And I feel really sorry for some people in New York who think Chinatown foods are all about Chinese cuisine.

                                                      1. re: kosmose7

                                                        Of course there are numerous cooking techniques in Chinese cuisines - Fuchsia Dunlop I think cites 27 different ones in Sichuan alone. Anderson was highlighting what was unique to the Chinese.

                                                        Do you know how many local guides Michelin currently has in Hongkong? One valid criticism leveled at them in the past was their preponderant use of European guides who tend to favor French cuisine above all. Jean-Luc Naret, Michelin Guide's director until 2010, once said it would take years to build up a team of local reviewer/inspectors.

                                                        1. re: scoopG

                                                          Actually, I don't pay too much attention to Michelin stars, especially in cities outside France. For me, it's one of various references only. I often find the lists odd and strange.

                                                        2. re: kosmose7

                                                          kosmose7 - exactly! (re: chinatown food)

                                                          Also i prefer high end chinese to le bernadin etc, but i think i have very asian taste in food

                                                          1. re: Lau

                                                            Oh, I love, love, love high end Chinese food, which can not be found in New York. Even in Korea, there are a few Chinese restaurants where former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (江澤民) and former Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji (朱鎔基) once dined, serving seasonal dishes using abalone, eel, hairy crab, crab roe, fugu fish, sea cucumber, etc, etc. Light, subtle, flavorful, and healthy.

                                                            By the way, I enjoy your LauHound very much. Thanks! :)

                                                            1. re: kosmose7

                                                              thanks!

                                                              I'll get back to updating it very soon, I've been totally bogged down with other stuff, so stay tuned

                                                              and agree with you re: high end chinese food, I think it would totally shock the vast majority people on this board to see what that kind of food tastes like

                                                              1. re: kosmose7

                                                                I have had abalone, eel, hairy crab, sea cucumber and more in Chinatown in NYC,,, so I'm confused as what makes it high end in HK. Real fugu I have only had in Japan. Blowfish I have had here.

                                                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                  What makes for high end Chinese food in Hongkong, Taiwan and elsewhere in Asia?

                                                                  It is more than just having excellent settings, the freshest ingredients, highly skilled chefs and artful presentation. It's also about being willing to pay for them - and in a society that is very much preoccupied with food, there is no shortage of folks striving to eat the very best with family, friends or clients.

                                                                  It is entirely possible to arrange your own feast in many cases, relying on what is available and do-able from the chef, and drop US $5K to $30K and more for your party of 8-10.

                                                                  Here are three of many examples in Hongkong:

                                                                  Above and Beyond:
                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/894014
                                                                  http://www.hotel-icon.com/dining.aspx...

                                                                  Lung King Heen:
                                                                  http://www.fourseasons.com/hongkong/d...
                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/821414

                                                                  Tin Lung Heen:
                                                                  http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Propert...
                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776163

                                                                  1. re: scoopG

                                                                    yah it is expensive, the ingredients are going to be seasonal, the dishes may change, there is always new innovative dishes coming out...hopefully u can see some of that from the pics i posted and scoopG did, but i would encourage you to really go try it if u happen to have any trips to Asia planned out, I think it will totally change your views

                                                                    post up on the China board if u ever happen to be going to HK and you'll get all the good recs

                                                                  2. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                    So far I haven't found any Shanghai hairy crab in New York. Is it available here? @.@

                                                                    There are so many different kinds and different quality of abalone available in Hong Kong, just as you enjoy various kinds of uni here in New York. Sea cucumber and 'real' fugu too. And needless to say, the sophisticated cooking techniques used when they prepare those fine ingredients, which I believe are far superior in Hong Kong to New York's Chinatown, make a big difference as well.

                                                                    Buddha Jumps Over the Wall (佛跳墙) full of abalone, scallops, sea cucumber, shark fin, silky chicken, Jinhua ham, pork tendon, ginseng, and a drop of Hennessey cognac...

                                                                    Bamboo fungus and bird's nest in crab roe sauce...

                                                                    Since you are a foodie with a very good palate, and you enjoy the seasonality, freshness, and lightness of Japanese cuisine, I am certain that you will love high end Chinese cuisine as well, once you try it! :)

                                                                    Lung King Heen (Hong Kong)
                                                                    http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900382...

                                                                    Tin Lung Heen (Hong Kong
                                                                    )http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/901108...

                                                                    Summer Palace (Hong Kong
                                                                    )http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900762...

                                                                    Man Wah (Hong Kong
                                                                    )http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900208...

                                                                    Dynasty Club (Hong Kong
                                                                    )http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900511...

                                                                    Pal Sun (Seoul
                                                                    )http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900967...

                                                                    Tao Yuen (Seoul
                                                                    )http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900994...

                                                                    Toh Lim (Seoul
                                                                    )http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900965...

                                                                    Crystal Jade Palace (Seoul
                                                                    )http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900951...

                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                    1. re: kosmose7

                                                                      Notice how many, though not all, of the fine high-end Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong mentioned in this thread are based out of hotels.

                                                                      Are there any Chinese restaurants in NYC hotels at all?

                                                                      Not that being affiliated with a hotel guarantees success (eg. Wakiya, Shang), but there are advantages such as a built-in, often spend-y client base.

                                                                      Then again, hotel restaurants in NYC (and US in general) tend to not be very ambitious or good for that matter. The highest Michelin rated ones (Gilt, GR, SHO, L'Atelier de JR) have all gone out of business or are going out of business.

                                                                      My guess is, for whatever reason, NYC will never be able to sustain a HK-like high-end Chinese restaurant the same way it finds it so hard to sustain a high end hotel restaurant.

                                                                      1. re: fooder

                                                                        The one exception to hotel restaurants in the US would be Las Vegas.

                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                          I think it has to do with the tourist clientele. There are a lot of high roller types who visit Las Vegas regularly. I don't think that's the case with NYC. The high roller types tend to have residences or are based here, rather than visiting now and then.

                                                                          Re: Pookipichu, I am going to Hakkasan for the first time tonight, so I will be able to form my opinions then.

                                                                          Re: Getting this thread back on track. I'm not sure what OP means by "omakase-style" food. Omakase just means chef's choice. I believe he means tasting menu or kaiseki menu style. As mentioned in the thread, Kyo Ya and Kajitsu are probably the best comparisons here in NYC.

                                                                          As far as Chinese food goes, as a native traditionalist with most of my experience in HK and Shanghainese cuisines, I still find that those cuisines are hard to translate into a kaiseki/tasting menu style of presentation. Even many high end and exceptional Chinese restaurants do not excel in that format.

                                                                          1. re: fooder

                                                                            re: fooder, If you order the Peking duck, I would make sure to tell them not to bring the entrees all at once and to serve the duck prior to or after.

                                                                            1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                              Thanks for the tip, but the restaurant recommends ordering the Peking duck one day in advance, so we're probably just going to go with the truffle roasted duck (rec from a friend) and the pipa duck (rec from cheeryvisage, also a friend).

                                                                              1. re: fooder

                                                                                fyi i think the pipa duck is better than the peking duck

                                                                                1. re: fooder

                                                                                  I've ordered Peking duck several times at Hakkasan and never ordered it in advance (not that you have to order it). Perhaps it's the caviar version that needs advance notice?

                                                                              2. re: fooder

                                                                                Re: Getting this thread back on track. I'm not sure what OP means by "omakase-style" food. Omakase just means chef's choice. I believe he means tasting menu or kaiseki menu style. As mentioned in the thread, Kyo Ya and Kajitsu are probably the best comparisons here in NYC.
                                                                                _______________________________

                                                                                fooder - the chef at Yam'Tcha seems to change her menu almost daily, hence the chef's choice aspect to her meal.

                                                                            2. re: fooder

                                                                              I think this thread is losing a bit of perspective. While I agree that the high end Chinese restaurants in China, HK, Taiwan, etc. are a notch above, I think it is a disservice not to call Hakkasan a high end Chinese restaurant.

                                                                              Wing Lei in Las Vegas, extremely expensive, did not offer the best Chinese food I've ever had but has a service level and execution of food that exceeds Gotham Bar & Grill. Is Gotham Bar & Grill high end?

                                                                              To analogize, Marea is considered a high end Italian restaurant but would not scrape the top 10 in Italy. Let's differentiate "best in the world" from "high end" or there are truly very few "high end" restaurants.

                                                                              1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                i just gave a list of some, clearly there are more, but anyhow i agree its getting off topic

                                                                                all im saying is that few people on this board know what im talking about bc they just simply haven't had it, so my recommendation is next time you're able to go to Asia please do yourself a service and go try it (happy to give recs when u do) and you can thank me later

                                                                                1. re: Lau

                                                                                  I wasn't claiming that you are stating a definitive list of high end Chinese restaurants and I am not arguing with you. My point was Hakkasan is high end in the same way Marea is high end. In both cases there are better examples of their respective cuisines in China and Italy respectively. But they are both still very good, and exemplary examples of their respective cuisine in the US.

                                                                                  1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                    oh yah i agree that hakkasan is quite good and underrated...should be a board darling

                                                                              2. re: fooder

                                                                                > Then again, hotel restaurants in NYC (and US in general) tend to not be very ambitious or good for that matter.

                                                                                I think this is changing somewhat in NYC with the more casual end of the spectrum. The NoMad, Ma Peche, Locanda Verde, The Breslin, John Dory, Maialino, Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya, Ai Fiori, etc.

                                                                                And isn't Jean Georges technically in a hotel?

                                                                                1. re: kathryn

                                                                                  Not just technically.

                                                                                  So is Daniel.

                                                                                  1. re: Sneakeater

                                                                                    Daniel hasn't been in a hotel in a while. It took over the old Le Cirque space in 1998. Daniel's old space, where Cafe Boulud is now, is in a hotel.

                                                                                    1. re: fooder

                                                                                      Of course you're write. Fingerfart there.

                                                                                  2. re: kathryn

                                                                                    Yes, Kathryn, and that's a great trend to see. Love the NoMad and they are still constantly busy. But like you said, this improvement is still on the slightly more casual end of the spectrum.

                                                                                    Jean Georges is indeed in a hotel and an excellent restaurant. I wonder if it has anything to do with it being established so long ago (it's closing in on 2 decades) that it's developed a stronger group of local support than the other closing/closed ones.

                                                                                  3. re: fooder

                                                                                    Notice how many, though not all, of the fine high-end Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong mentioned in this thread are based out of hotels.

                                                                                    Are there any Chinese restaurants in NYC hotels at all?
                                                                                    ___________________________
                                                                                    fooder, the western hotels in Asia, all part of a multination empire (or chain!) all have the luxury of having websites. But yes, there are fine stand-alone restaurants that do not have websites.

                                                                                    There is the S. Dynasty restaurant in the Lexington Hotel.

                                                                                    I had lunch there once about a year ago and was not impressed.

                                                                                    511 Lexington Ave, 2FL (48th ST.)
                                                                                    New York, New York 10017
                                                                                    Tel:(212) 355-1200

                                                                                    http://www.sdynastyny.com/DropDownMen...

                                                                                    1. re: scoopG

                                                                                      I had lunch at S. Dynasty sometime ago and it was OK but as you said, I was not impressed either...

                                                                                       
                                                                                       
                                                                                       
                                                                                      1. re: scoopG

                                                                                        > Are there any Chinese restaurants in NYC hotels at all?
                                                                                        None, sorry.

                                                                                        Well, maybe it's just me. I a couple months each year in HK and I still think our local Hakassan is not worth the money: I wouldn't be willing to pay 30% of what I'd gladly pay in HK. I can only hope this post won't be considered a bait.

                                                                                        As a reference point, I do think Mc Donalds is too expensive while Le Bernardin is not

                                                                                        1. re: diprey11

                                                                                          Interesting choice of places for your reference point. Are you comparing the quality of Hakkasan to McDonalds? It's unclear what you mean.

                                                                                          1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                            Not to that extent, but close. I think the assertion that Chinese food must be cheap is a strawman. I don't like Hakassan, and not because the bill is in three digits, but because I think they are hardly worth two. Personally, I'd better order sea cucumber at 456 than at Hakkasan.

                                                                                            That's my very personal view, but it's funny how people would say: hah, that must be because Americans think Chinese food must be cheap. No! We think it should be better.

                                                                                            1. re: diprey11

                                                                                              I think you're assuming that there aren't any Chinese supporters of Hakkasan on this board. (Btw, the clientele at Hakkasan is predominantly Asian on all my recent meals.)

                                                                                              Kosmose, Lau, ScoopG and others, myself included have spent time in China, and are Chinese or Asian.

                                                                                              If you're saying Hakkasan is close to the level of McDonalds, I'll just say I differ in opinion.

                                                                                              1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                I differ in opinion.

                                                                                                I don't question ethnicity, cultural background, or culinary taste of others on this board. Thanks!

                                                                                                1. re: diprey11

                                                                                                  I apologize for any offense, none was meant and if I misunderstood your post I apologize.

                                                                                    2. re: kosmose7

                                                                                      Great assembly of photos here kosmose7!

                                                                                      1. re: scoopG

                                                                                        Thanks scoopG!

                                                                                      2. re: kosmose7

                                                                                        In a lowly attempt to add some unsolicited color, attached are ten photos of a (twelve course!) Qingdao feast for 19 at the very modest Fu Xin Hotel in Qingdao in 2010.

                                                                                         
                                                                                         
                                                                                         
                                                                                         
                                                                                         
                                                                                         
                                                                                         
                                                                                         
                                                                                         
                                                                                         
                                                                                         
                                                                                        1. re: scoopG

                                                                                          Wow, they look delicious!

                                                                                          1. re: scoopG

                                                                                            looks wonderful

                                                                  3. I just ate at Yam'Tcha and I agree it is an amazing experience.

                                                                    The restaurant that comes to mind in NYC that is unique and a very special experience is Kajitsu. It is not the same type of food but the experience is similar and the food is amazing.

                                                                    Jungsik is another restaurant that comes to mind.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Henrychinaski

                                                                      Kajitsu is not the same anymore since the opening chef left.

                                                                      1. re: Shirang

                                                                        When was the last time you were at Kajitsu?

                                                                        1. re: Henrychinaski

                                                                          In March.

                                                                        2. re: Shirang

                                                                          It's sad but I have to agree with you...
                                                                          I used to go to Kajitsu every month when Nishihara Masato (西原理人) san was there...

                                                                          1. re: kosmose7

                                                                            I've been going there every month since they have opened. I stopped going regularly once Nishihara san left.