A little more than a month after opening, Macao Trading Co., the Tribeca eatery brought to you by the Employees Only crew and Chanterelle’s David Waltuck, has already achieved a fair amount of buzz. While most of the big guns have yet to weigh in, Sietsema and Gael Greene as well as a bevy of Yelpers/Chowhounders have already posted mostly positive remarks. However, some complain of service issues, long wait times, and not-so-impressive food. Here’s the news as it stands today: good, bad, and everywhere in between.
The Good News: The Village Voice’s Robert Sietsema checked in early, giving the food the thumbs-up: “Our favorite dish on a first visit came down to two: a bowl of picture perfect, thin-skin chicken dumplings knee-deep in an oily and fiery Sichuan sauce; and (picture above), Manila clams cooked Portuguese style with chorizo in a delightful brick-red sauce, from which the taste of garlic leapt out like an open-palm hand coming across the room to slap you in the face. We liked most of the food, and are looking forward to coming back." [VV/Fork in the Road]
The Mostly Good News: The Insatiable Gael Greene likes the food but is made to wait 45 minutes: “Noisy but charming, I think. And then, as the wait for our reserved table stretches toward 45 minutes, not so amusing. With apologies, the host offers drinks to the four of us?The Road Food Warrior said he’d love to go back and taste more of Waltuck’s delicious musings. But if they do change the door policy, there’s no way we’ll ever get in again.” [Insatiable Critic]
The Bad News: One Chowhounder was not so impressed: “It was far from meeting expectations. The space is cool and it will be more of a scene for drinks if they want to survive long term. I’m sure they are still working out the kinks on staffing however this was amateur night. The food was ok at best I could have had the same meal at Ruby Foo's or PF Changs I was embarrassed that I suggested Macao for dinner with friends from San Fran.” [CH]
The Fairly Good News: One Yelper loves the vibe and the drinks, but thinks the food is just OK: “The vibe is just right...sophisticated but absolutely not pretentious. The waitstaff was exceptionally friendly and courteous, and really helpful in explaining the menu items (esp. the funky drinks). Speaking of, I recommend the Bashful Maiden and Drunken Dragon's Milk---both were really delicious and unique amongst their selection. I wasn't overly impressed with the food overall (chinese veg curry and lamb meatballs), but the fried goat cheese appetizer and fried milk dessert (see a theme here?) were AWESOME.” [Yelp]
The Not So Good News: Another Yelper likes the atmosphere but has a few complaints: “I reserved a table for 5 and we really got a table that sat 4. The food was not impressive at all and the waiter charged us 3 bottles of wine while we only drank 2..when we asked to correct the error, he didn't seem apologetic or surprised... as if he knew! He also forgot one of our dishes..I'm not a difficult person but I think a restaurant is only ever as good as its waitstaff (I was a waiter for years) I would go back because it's a cool place. We also checked out the adjacent lounge but it's pretty whack..” [Yelp]
The OK News: Another Chowhounder weighs in with some mixed opinions: “The food was good but nothing truly special with only a few dishes that stood out to me. The Portuguese meatballs were very good. African chicken was well liked by all. The Chinese ribs were not all that interesting. A few people in our party really liked the Portuguese Seabass but it seemed ordinary to me. We also liked the rice bacaola and the bok choy sides. We had drinks at the bar before dinner and those were all very good. Kudos to the bartender. Service seemed pushy to us. Several instances of the bus person taking away plates before people were finished; even mid-fork in one instance.” [CH]