After one-star meals at O-Ya and zero-star dining experiences at Bruno Pizza, Pete Wells needed to re-align his taste buds. The critic notes: "In my line of work, grimness of the mouth sets in after I’ve eaten too many things that are trying so hard to impress that they lose touch with anything that comes close to pleasure. " And so, for a change of pace, Wells heads to Chomp Chomp, Simpson Wong's five-month-old restaurant in the Village. The menu is inspired by the hawker stalls of Singapore. A few favorites:
Many dishes are married to their own dedicated condiments. As melamine plates start to mingle around the table, these spouses can become estranged. Try keeping them together; urge them into counseling if you have to, because Chomp Chomp’s condiments are all different, some spicy, some tart, a little shrimp paste here, a little plum sauce there, and energy everywhere.
There’s no separating barbecued stingray steamed in banana leaf from its spicy and wonderfully intense sambal, which is daubed thickly on top of the fish, then sinks into it. (Like many in Singapore, Mr. Wong substitutes skate to good effect, but keeps the traditional name.)
The chairs aren't comfortable, and the kitchen doesn't nail every dish. But still, the hits far outweigh the misses. Wells gives Chomp Chomp two stars, the same rating that he gave Wong's eponymous restaurant in this space two years ago.