High-end Hong Kong-based restaurant Hutong opens its New York City outpost today, bringing Northern Chinese fare to the Midtown masses from an expansive, swanky space.
Backed by international restaurant group Aqua, Hutong is known for its dim sum and roast duck offerings, two specialities now available at 731 Lexington Ave., where Le Cirque once stood. It’s the first U.S. opening for the group helmed by David Yeo, who runs more than a dozen restaurants and bars across London, Hong Kong, and Beijing.
The restaurant opens tonight in a 19,000-square-foot, high-ceilinged space that includes an elegant 140-seat dining room, an 83-seat lounge and bar, and private dining rooms.
This is Hutong’s third location around the world, and the New York menu is much like the ones in Hong Kong and London. Expect dishes such as fried soft shell crab and a roasted Peking duck carved at the table, though a few new items like spicy pork and salted fish fried dumplings are exclusive to NYC. There’s a robust seafood section, too, as well as dessert. One option includes sesame and caramel mousse covered in white chocolate in the shape of a bao, served on top of a praline sesame shell and with a side of soy milk ice cream.
The big lounge and bar area will serve cocktails with Chinese bents, like one made with vanilla vodka, lychee liqueur, Sichuan pepper honey, and grapefruit, plus dried Sichuan peppers coating the rim of the glass. Wine and champagne are also offered; take a look at the bar menu below.
Lunch service only begins on July 15, and dim sum is supposed to be the main attraction during the day.
Hutong has received critical praise in the past for its well-executed seafood dumplings, braised squid, roast duck, and fried rice. Parent company Aqua is behind restaurants that serve a variety of cuisines from Spanish and Italian fare to Japanese and Thai, though many of its other outlets have a better reputation with international high rollers than with the culinary crowd.
NYC is experiencing a Chinese food renaissance, with multiple regions represented at all price points in all of the city’s Chinatowns (there are nine) and beyond. Hutong is now bringing Northern Chinese fare on the higher end of that spectrum.
New York hasn’t seen a plethora of new upscale Chinese restaurants, especially when compared to Japanese and French fine dining venues, and the last one that opened wasn’t too well received. Famous roast duck chain DaDong has been dubbed a flavorless experience despite its Michelin stars in other locations.
Hutong opens tonight at 5 p.m. and is open daily until 11 p.m. (and until midnight Thursday to Saturday). The bar is open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight Monday through Wednesday; until 1 a.m. on Thursday and Friday; and it opens at 5 p.m. on the weekend.