Is Asian cuisine, literally, the hot food of the moment? In a trendsetting mecca known as New York City, where thousands of restaurants open and close in a New York minute, Asian fusion has been reigning at the city’s latest hotspots. Even the hottest Asian restaurants with a following in other cities have opened Gotham outposts this year. Here are some of the top openings. The downside of dining at a hotspot is the long wait for a reservation, but it is well worth the wait. In the meantime, try your hand at some of these award winning recipes available exclusively to Asiance readers.
traditional Chinese culinary techniques and methods of preparation
Anchoring the Northwest corner of Lafayette and East 3rd Street in what was formerly the famous model hangout of the 90s, Time Café, which later added Moroccan den Fez, and was transformed into the bottle service lounge, Rehab, by night, is now the latest Nolita Asian hotspot, Chinatown Brasserie. Other than the statuesque white columns, Chinatown resembles little of its 90s heyday white tiled café look and Fez has been stripped of its Moroccan splendor. Backed by Joshua Pickard and John Mcdonald, the same duo with the Midas touch that launched Lever House, Lure, Merc Bar, and Joe’s Pub, Chinatown is exotic, dramatic, and intimate. The main dining room has lush banquettes modeled after Imperial beds with brightly colored silk canopies. Custom-designed, oversize silk lanterns are suspended from the tall ceiling. A special stairway with a “lily pad” landing leads to the downstairs dining lounge, with a striking koi pond extending the length of the area. To lend an authentic Asian feeling large traditional cork sculptures and screen paintings adorn the walls.
The food is as tasty as the décor. Executive Chef Tyson Wong Ophaso has researched traditional Chinese culinary techniques and methods of preparation in order to present straightforward Chinese classics as well as signature dishes with more unusual ingredients such as Chinese okra, flowering chives, pickled plums, white asparagus and fuzzy melon.
Start with some of the dim sum dumpling selections such as sweet corn with mushroom, XO dumplings or shrimp with chive, and also the barbecue specials. Standouts for the main course include the crispy chili garlic whole bass or crispy soft shell crab as well as new takes on favorite dishes such as General Tso’s Chicken and Prawns with black bean sauce. Save room for dessert sand indulge in Chinatown’s signature homemade ice cream with flavors such as green tea, caramel, and lychee sorbet.
Shrimp with Broccoli & Egg White
Executive Chef Tyson Wong Ophaso
- 7 shrimp (size16-20, approximately 5.5 oz total volume), sliced in half
- 12 broccoli florets (approximately 0.5 lb)
- 4 fresh water chestnuts, sliced in half (can substitute 1 small can if necessary)
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
- 2 scallions, chopped in 1/4” pieces
- 2 egg whites, beaten in bowl
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp white wine
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- Pinch salt
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Sesame oil
- 1 tsp Potato starch
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add shrimp and marinate for 10 minutes.
- While shrimp are marinating, combine all ingredients for sauce in a bowl.
- Heat wok over high flame. Add vegetable oil. When oil is hot, add shrimp and all marinade. Cook quickly – “ approximately 35 seconds to 1 minute or until shrimp just turn pink.
- Add broccoli and water chestnuts, cook one minute longer.
- Add egg white, sauté until cooked through.
- Remove all ingredients from oil. Place into a strainer and rinse under hot water to remove any excess oil.
- Pour left over oil out from wok. On high flame, add ginger and scallion to wok; cook until fragrant.
- Add sauce to wok and cook until reduced by half.
- Add drained shrimp, broccoli and water chestnut back into wok. Cook for 1 minute in the sauce. Serve.
Cold Green Noodles with Chicken and Peanut Sauce
Executive Chef Tyson Wong Ophaso
- 1 cup water
- 6 Tbsp Kikkoman soy
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Creamy Peanut Sauce
- 1 lb. creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup sesame oil
- 3/8 cup sugar
- ¼ Tbsp salt
- 2 Tbsp vinegar
- 5 Tbsp soy sauce, preferably Kikkoman
- 2 Tbsp hot chili oil
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 11 oz (cooked weight, 5.5 oz uncooked weight) spinach lo mein noodles
- 8 cups fresh beansprouts
- 8 Tbsp cooked edamame
- 2 cup shredded cucumber
- 1 bunch chopped scallions
- ¾ cup chopped roasted peanuts
- Combine water, soy, garlic, sugar and salt in bowl. Add chicken breasts and marinate for 15 minutes.
- Bring large pot of water to boil with 1 Tbsp oil and 2 Tbsp salt. Add noodles and boil until al dente. Pour into colander and rinse with cold water. Chill in refrigerator.
- Remove chicken from marinade and place in steamer. Steam for 10-15 minutes. Remove and slice into strips.
- Add chicken to cold noodles.
- In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for peanut sauce. Stir to combine.
- Pour sauce over chilled noodles and chicken. Mix so sauce is evenly distributed.
- Place noodles in serving dish. Garnish with beansprouts, edamame, cucumber, chopped scallions and chopped peanuts.
Further uptown near Gramercy Park, the Windy City hotspot Japonais, just opened its Big Apple outpost. The dramatic interior is designed by Jeffrey Beers juxtaposing sumptuous velvets, glass, gold hues, stone and copper throughout the space.
Japonais offers the best of both worlds – “ signature sushi and cold appetizers by world-renowned Sushi Chef/Partner Jun Ichikawa and hot appetizers and entrées by celebrated Chef /Partner Gene Kato. Executive Chef Sushi Chef and Partner, Ichikawa is known for his ability to blend years of training with a naturally creative eye resulting in some of the highest quality, most innovative sushi in the country. Together the chefs blend two sophisticated, innovative culinary styles blending French techniques with Japanese ingredients creating a menu that is beautifully composed with the guests’ needs and preferences in mind.
Signature hot appetizers (Les Entrées Chaudes) include Japonais’ signature and popular “The Rock,” thinly sliced marinated New York Strip Steak cooked on a hot rock right on the table; Madako Kimo, decadent and flavorful monkfish foie gras wrapped with octopus in a house-made Ponzu sauce; and Miso Zuke Barramundi, broiled miso marinated Australian bass served with fried bass cheek, peach sansho glaze and a shaved radish salad.
Delectable hot entrées (Les Plats Principaux) consist of Grilled Hamachi, fresh Hawaiian hamachi served with crispy shrimp dumplings in a light wild mushroom broth; and the whimsically named “Le Quack Japonais,” Chef Kato’s unique take on Peking Duck served with tender maple leaf smoked duck, tangy hoisin sauce, mango chutney and soft mushu wraps (half or whole duck available).
Integral to the Japonais dining experience are the innovative sushi rolls that spotlight beautifully prepared, clean flavors prepared with the chef’s signature flair. Sushi bar specialties include Spicy Mono, a delightfully spicy octopus roll topped with spicy tuna tartare and sweet unagi sauce; Tuna Tuna Salmon, delicate salmon tartare graced with sliced tuna, avocado sauce and wasabi tobiko sauce, and Special Salmon, a crisp shrimp tempura roll covered with marinated salmon sashimi and a refreshing wasabi tobiko sauce.
A decadent finale to the meal is found in the Dark Chocolate Marscapone Cake served with homemade coconut ice cream and tropical fruit or the autumn-inspired Apple Toban Yaki comprised of Michigan Red and Ginger Gold apples with oatmeal ginger crust and vanilla honey ice cream served in a sizzling clay pot. Yuzu Almond CrÃ¨me Brulée offers a creative alternative to a classic as it is a homemade blend of creamy citrus custard served with almond tuile cookie and the Kabocha Cheesecake, an innovative and flavorful Japanese pumpkin cheesecake served with five-spiced pineapple mousse and almond cookie crust.
- Kabocha Cheesecake Batter
- 3lbs Cream cheese
- 3cup Kabocha puree
- 14oz Sugar
- ½ oz Salt
- 1 ¼ oz Corn starch
- 3 oz Egg yolks
- 9 oz Whole eggs
- 2 oz Milk
- 4 oz Heavy cream
- .2 oz Yuzu zest, finely chopped
- ¼ oz Vanilla
- ½ oz Lemon juice
- 2 pcs Chinese almond cookie
- Beat cream cheese and puree in mixer w/paddle attachment, scrape down bowl, repeat this step for the rest of the puree
- Add sugar, scrape down bowl
- Add salt and corn starch
- Add yolks and eggs, scrape down bowl
- Add milk and cream, scrape down bowl
- Add yuzu zest, vanilla, and lemon juice, scrape down bowl
- Preheat convection oven to 325°
- Prepare 24 cheesecake cups on full sheet pan
- Spoon in heaping 1t of almond cookie crust, flatten and set aside
- Pour all of cheesecake batter (about 3 – 4 qts) into a bowl
- Whip 8 egg whites and ½ c sugar to soft-med peaks
- Fold whites into batter
- Ladle (use 3oz) batter into cups, the cups should be ½ full
- Place into oven, fill pan with cold water up to bottom rim of cup (16c)
- Bake for about 25 min, until golden in color, it should crack on top
- Turn oven down to 300° and bake until toothpick (inserted straight down, slightly off center) comes out clean (about 20 min)
- Carefully remove from oven, dump water into a sink and cool on speed rack
- When completely cooled, wrap, label, date, and store in cooler
- line ½ hotel pan w/foil along bottom and sides
- Pour about ¼ c water under foil
- Cut kabocha into 8 slices
- Scrape out seeds and fiber
- Line slices in pan, upright (skin on bottom)
- Cover pan tightly w/foil
- Preheat oven to 500°
- Bake kabocha for about 45 min
- Test for doneness by piercing w/knife
- Knife should pierce w/o resistance
- Scrape out kabocha, discard skin
- Puree in robocoup
Yields 3 cups
- 6 egg whites
- 2c sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 5tsp honey
- 4c heavy cream
- 1c pineapple puree
- Chill medium bowl in cooler
- Whip egg whites, add sugar at soft peak stage, whip until full and stiff peaks
- Store whites in chilled bowl in cooler
- Whip yolks with honey to ribbon stage, fold w/whites
- Whip cream until tip holds its’ peak
- Add puree and cream to eggs, fold
- Cover cheesecakes immediately
5 Spice Sugar
- 2 cup sugar
- ½ oz 5 spice finely ground
- 5 spice sugar
- pineapples peeled and sliced (1/4” thick) pieces, core cut out
- Toss 5 spice sugar w/pineapple pieces until coated
- If using frozen pineapple pieces, drain liquid first
- Sauté in a little butter in heated pan until golden brown
- Puree well in blender
- 1 pineapple
- Slice thinly and bake at 200 degrees for 3 hrs
- Garnish with pineapple chip and five spice powder