When chef Chris Cheung told us “Chinese cooking is cloaked in secrecy. I know those traditional recipes, but I also have been trained in the new, cutting-edge techniques that a lot of Western chefs are using” after leaving his post at Almond Flower last July, he simultaneously had us pining over the loss of his modern Chinese dishes and anticipating his return to the city’s dining landscape. Well, the liquid–foie gras–squirting bao are back — along with sweet-chile baby back ribs — and now available at Cheung’s newest post, Monkey Bar. The Glazier Group hired the Nobu alum as a replacement for chef Patricia Yeo in hopes that he will have better luck revitalizing the chronically buzz-lacking restaurant. With the Chinese New Year starting tomorrow, Cheung informed Gothamist he'll be cooking dishes designed for prosperity, but his new permanent menu, which includes sliders in bao buns and wok-fried noodles with short ribs in house-made abalone oyster sauce, might just be all the luck he (and Monkey Bar) needs.—Alexandra Vallis
The Times has launched a new food blog called Bitten that’s being written by "Minimalist"-column writer Mark Bittman. What’s in store for readers? "We’re going to look at great food made with everyday ingredients and readily achievable techniques — as The Minimalist has been doing for a decade — not food as something to be admired from afar, but as a part of daily life." [Bitten/NYT]
Monkey Bar chef Chris Cheung thinks he deserves a little credit for making black miso cod so popular at Nobu. [Gothamist]
Several changes in their dining culture have led the Vietnamese to embark on a “rodent-eating bonanza.” [WSJ]
We'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?
When Chinatown Brasserie opened last year, its high production values and pointedly non-challenging menu misled many of the city’s self-appointed Asian food experts into dissing the place. But the city’s Chinese community was well aware that Joe Ng, the dim-sum chef there, was the city’s finest and one of the top in his field nationwide. (The process of making dim sum is a complicated one and demands its own chef and its own kitchen.) We dropped in on a recent Saturday morning to see how Joe did it and invited former Almond Flower chef Chris Cheung to help us with our eating.
Kitchen Insider: Chinatown Brassiere [Video]