Chris Cheung isn’t monkeying around.Photo courtesy Chris CheungWe’ve always liked Chris Cheung, going back to the days when the young Long Island–born chef was trying to reinvent Asian fusion from the Chinese side at Almond Flower in Chinatown. (His exit from the place, and its epic aftermath, made some good Grub Street fodder.) Now that Cheung has taken over from Patricia Yeo at Monkey Bar, he’s trying to implement his style of “evolutionary Asian cuisine.” So what does that amount to?
Typically, Cheung says, “I’m trying to cook Chinese food the way I learned in Chinatown, but with higher-end Western ingredients. Chinese chefs don’t like to give away their secrets, but I learned them, and so I make my own bao dough, my own dumpling skins, all that — but then I’m trying to do new things with them.” Currently that means a semi-liquid foie-gras-stuffed bao, short-rib spring rolls served with sriracha foam, and a Kurobuta char siu (roast pork) with a spiced pineapple jam. Our favorite Almond Flower dish, Cheung’s towering fried spaghetti and meatballs, won’t be on the Monkey Bar menu anytime soon. Though if it appears, we hope somebody tells us.