A little over a week ago, Chinatown Brasserie chef Joe Ng and Chinese food aficionado Ed Schoenfeld opened Red Farm with the backing of one Jeffrey Chodorow. There's dim sum, there are oysters, there are deconstructed Chinese staples, there are pastrami spring rolls. And overall people seem to think it works. Or at least the food does. As for that communal table, think again. Quick, now, to the early word.
The Kinda Okay News: Joanne Wilson is disappointed by some of the dishes and the communal table, but thinks it's fine for the neighborhood: "...Can I just say how much I dislike communal tables. That should go on the "out list" vs the "in list". I get it because the place is small and it allows them to pack 40 people in there but listening to the conversations next to us and the obnoxious children did nothing to make my meal more delightful...We began with the Spicy Crispy Beef. I liked this. Super crispy and tasty...This is the Katz's pastrami egg roll that keeps getting written about. Take a pass. One bite and we both put it down. Just didn't work for me...Would I travel here from other parts of the city to check it out, not so sure I'd make the journey. But if you live in the neighborhood and have a hankering for Chinese food, go in and have a meal." [Gotham Gal]
The Good Food, Bad Table News: This comes via the tipline: "Arrived about 6:15. By 7:15 there was a long wait. The food is WONDERFUL: beautifully presented, savory, sophisticated. Service very friendly. It's destination food (at destination prices)...but I have serious reservations (no pun intended) about the communal tables. My husband and I lucked into an end and side seat at a communal table. There are several cozy two-top banquettes along the south wall that are primo. If we were seated in the middle of a communal table we wouldn't be able to hear each other, especially once the music gets noticeably louder at 7:30, and there would be zero privacy. Good conversation (not shouting) is as important to me as a good meal. It's the same at Soccarat in Chelsea. Red Farm is a most welcome addition to the neighborhood--hooray!" [Eater Tipline]
The Rave: Eat Big Apple loves it, and swears he would even if all the food wasn't comped: "Red Farm is a concept that sounds far fetched, but is pulled together beautifully. Serving innovative food beyond anything that you’ll find at Chinatown, while retaining elements of Chinese cuisine that’s distinct and exciting. As long as the team continues to execute the concept, I believe this is one Chinese restaurant that every type of diner can agree with." [Eat Big Apple]
The Good News: From the Eater comments: "Tried it tonight - was very impressed. Chef Ng does not disappoint. Liked the entrees better than the apps but overall great addition to the hood." [Eater Comments]
The Rave: The folks on Menupages love the place. Says one, "Loved eating at RedFarm - the ambiance is great and lively. It’s nice to Chinese food presented in such a lovely way. I tried the Pac-Man, Curry and Stuffed squid w/mushrooms. OMG - the curry is the best you’ll ever taste!! It’s what I’m going back for. The restaurant name displayed in block letters in the jars are so cute!" [Menupages]
The Twitterific News: @lo_zone writes, "Shrimp & snow pea leaf dumplings are closest you'll get to traditional @ Red Farm." @kathyylchan adds, "Thought 'Pac-Man' dumplings at Red Farm would be gimmicky, but instead they were flat out delicious and fun, crisp shrimp, translucent skins." Says @mikebodge, "Red Farm: Insanely over the top gweilo, food was decently tasty. Bring your azn if her parents don't have an accent, skip otherwise." [Twitter]
The Inevitable Rave: Gael Greene, who went to a series of friends and family previews here (and who counts Jeffrey Chorodow as an advertiser) has mostly nice things to say: "Chinese? Sorry. It just started out Chinese. Then something happened. Smoked salmon and eggplant bruschetta. Kumamoto oysters on Meyer lemon-yuzu ice. Okra and Thai eggplant yellow curry. It is “unabashedly inauthentic,” as Eddie Schoenfeld is saying now. Did I hear someone say “fusion?” He would prefer you simply acknowledge the untamable Ng’s genius. And maybe his own for giving it room." [IC]