An upscale northern Chinese restaurant with outposts in Hong Kong and London is making its way to New York City. International restaurant group Aqua founder David Yeo is planting his first U.S. restaurant in the former Le Cirque space, a high end place serving dim sum and roast duck called Hutong, according to the Post.
Aqua Restaurant Group — which has more than a dozen restaurants and bars across London, Hong Kong, and Beijing — took over the nearly 19,000-square-foot Midtown space at 151 East 58th Street, near Lexington Avenue, that for years was home to French fine dining institution Le Cirque. The Post reports that it will open later this year or early next year.
The company, founded in 2000, owns restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, from Spanish and Italian fare to Japanese and Thai. Hutong in particular serves Chinese food, with dishes like waygu beef buns, fish and seaweed dumplings with tobiko, and Sichuan-style fried lobster.
The luxe London outpost is in the Shard building, a property known for providing stunning views and not necessarily its food. And many of Aqua group’s restaurants have a better reputation with international high rollers than with culinary obsessives. But Hutong’s food has managed to fare better, receiving critical praise for well-executed seafood dumplings, braised squid, roast duck, fried rice.
Chinese fine dining restaurants haven’t proliferated in NYC the way Japanese or French ones have, and the last splashy upscale Chinese restaurant chain to come to New York was critically massacred. Critics have said that New York’s location of roast duck chain DaDong — despite Michelin stars in other locations — is a flavorless and expensive experience so far.
Eater has reached out to Hutong. Stay tuned for more.