New Yorkers don't like to pay for expensive Chinese meals, but Times critic Pete Wells writes in his review of Waldorf Astoria's La Chine, an upscale Chinese restaurant by Singapore native chef Kong Khai Meng, that the city could use more Chinese spots willing to get creative, use better ingredients, and charge more. From a raw sliced yellowtail dish with Sichuan chili oil to barbecued collar of Berkshire pork, La Chine's dishes are interesting and well-executed, Wells writes. Here's the critic on some of his favorites:
Cauliflower was stir-fried with thick bacon slices in a very hot wok that caramelized the bumpy surface to a delicious mottled brown. The snow pea shoots with garlic were as simple, classic and good as any I’ve tasted.
Everything is served family style except the soups, which ought to be. In individual bowls, they are hard to work into a shared meal, and people may be tempted to skip them. This would be a loss, because they are beautifully made; there’s a clarity to the chicken cloud consommé, vividly seasoned with ginger, and a shellfish-drenched power to the "eight hour golden broth," thick with lobster, crab and scallops..
Seafood in the main courses were the only low point, Wells writes, such as a scallop dish that was not fresh. Otherwise, the main dishes "show off La Chine's sophistication." He awards the restaurant two stars.