The newest member of EMM Group's empire, the much-anticipated Lower East Side restaurant, The General, opened just a few weeks ago. With Top Chef season 3 winner Hung Huynh at the helm, The General is featuring a much more contemporary and innovative approach to Asian cuisine, with dishes like Philly Peppersteak Sticky Buns and the Bourbon Miso Seabass. This is leaving some patrons excited, and others?well less than excited. Here's what the word on the street is so far.
The Good News: Among the mixed results are some praiseful words from one Yelper who seemed a little more than hungry: "Absolutely the best 'party dining' experience I've ever had; head and shoulders above CATCH in food quality, and the eye candy (Thursday) was unparalleled. I would say the seabass, tacos, spare ribs, and the lobster tempura roll were the best dishes on the menu. The seabass melted in your mouth and was served at the perfect temperature; as did the spare ribs. The tacos and lobster roll had the perfect mix of flavors. A+ all around. P.S. The women... dear god." [Yelp]
The Bad News: Unfortunately, there are others, like this disappointed Yelper, who disagree: "I was excited to dine at the general but, was SO DISAPPOINTED!!! Ordered the calamari and pad thai for an app. The calamari was super salty and the pad thai tasted like it was cooked with pork. (specifically let our server know that we did not eat pork, egg or butter) I tried a few wines on their list and was not impressed. So, I decided to order the Rambo cocktail which tasted like orange cough syrup;( The only thing we ordered that was palatable was the miso- bourbon sea bass. The staff was apologetic and were understanding- but you would think they would of sent a dessert over to unhappy patrons. We left HANGRY and highly unimpressed." [Yelp]
The Not Worth It News: The new approach to Asian fare has one Foursquare tipster just plain confused: "Eh...the Peking duck comes with tortillas which makes no sense...in general (no pun intended) not worth the $59." [FourSquare]
The Ridiculous News: One reviewer on MenuPages is less than thrilled: "9:30 reservation for four people. We were seated at.....wait for it.....11:05. I can't make this up. I ABSOLUTELY understand things can be hectic the first weekend a restaurant is open, but this was ridiculous. And all of the reservations had this issue. Now that being said, the restaurant bought us three rounds of free drinks, and a whole round of appetizers on the house. So while the time delay was crazy even for NYC, it was handled impressively well. The food was excellent. Don't miss the chicken tacos, fried rice with egg, calamari, and any of the sushi. Scene is fantastic; just like Catch & Abe and Arthur's. Verdict; wait for some of the kinks to be worked out, but this place will remain a huge scene. It is a lot of fun and great food, save for the long wait." [MenuPages]
The Happy News: But, it seems like the cocktails have some diners leaving happy (if not loaded): "get the GI! tequila + grapefruit juice + sriracha + sage. soooo good & spicy!" [FourSquare]
The Over-Hyped News: Overall, most opinions on this new spot are 50/50, like this one: "Just opened but already over-hyped. The decor is ok, but nothing special. So is the food - the best was the corn appetizer, the sea bass was ok too but doesn't live up to the better Japanese restaurants in the city, the chicken taco was highly praised by the waitress but also nothing to write home about, rolls were decent but not a reason to go there either, the pad-thai was bland, and the calamari was botched (not chewy the way it is supposed to be, with a strange tasting sauce). We didn't have dessert - which a previous reviewer praised. To be fair, prices seemed more reasonable than other establishment of that type. If you're looking for a scene, go there. If you're looking for excellent Asian fusion, don't." [Yelp]
The Sleek and Sexy News: The people at LocalBozo were really digging it in their detailed review: "The chic interior and scenester atmosphere at The General would have more than made up for a collection of middling dishes being served. But that's simply not the case here. The well constructed menu may be a little wide reaching, but as a final product, it all works together cohesively. Even the most fastidious of eaters can find something on which to nosh on the menu, but in the end, the restaurant's cool ambiance and the experience of being inside The General is reason enough to make a stop to the Bowery alone." [LocalBozo]