This week’s Review Of The Week comes, once more, from New York. Why do we keep looking to the Big Apple for fodder here? Because it is crazy full of restaurants and people reviewing them on MenuPages. Also because it is crazy.
However, this review, for Wai Lee, holds the distinction of not only being our favorite review to read this week, but also one that we could actually run (it was on point, involved no libel, and actually delivered useful information about the restaurant). Also, it is way funny:
When the delivery man shouted “Chinese food! Open the door!” into my cell phone (the building’s intercom system is dead– maybe this guy’s been here before), I felt like he must be bring us something so special and urgently delicious that anything less than my running down five flights of stairs would have been irresponsible to him, me, and my date.
His curt bow of thanks reinforced my feeling that this would be a
no-nonsense meal; the MSG-laden fumes emanating from the plastic bag told me that we could be expect to be pummeled by fists of flavor. Wai Lee was rated 4/5 for value on Menupages yet only $/$$$$ for price, and had a solid 18 reviews. (Note: many reviews doesn’t necessitate popularity. The notorious Saigon Grill has been reviewed 127 times, mostly due to its dodgy treatment of deliverypeople). So here’s my attempt quantify and come to a verdict.
+ Guy who answers phone speaks great English. Just as important, he’s a terrific listener. His laser-like focus on your every order is
undeterred by pots and pans crashing in the background. He makes you feel like you are the only person in his world. He’s a Chinese Bill Clinton.
+ Free can of Coke. I don’t even like Coke, but come on people, it’s
free. Too bad I forgot that Coke + rice = tsunami for your stomach.
+ “Bean curd” not euphemistically, Americanistically referred to as
“tofu,” which sounds like a martial art performed only with the tips
of the feet.
- No chopsticks. Though I rarely use these ancient implements, their
absence was disappointing on a spiritual level, kind of like going to
the East Village and not seeing any mohawks. Also, how much does bamboo even cost? I recently saw a PBS special on bamboo (I’ve had many lonely Saturday nights), showing how bamboo grows so quickly and plentifully in Southeast Asia that the field rats feeding off it and breed at algorithmic rates–you can actually hear them break the sound barrier when they mate en masse– can’t quite keep up with the
newly-sprouting shoots of bamboo.
- No fortune cookie. I’m all about cutting back the frills in today’s
economy, but again, how costly could this flour-water-sugar treat be? I saw an episode of NOVA on fortune cookies the other night and–just kidding. Thus not knowing my fortune, I cannot say whether it’s in my future to order from Wai Lee again, whether or not my hearing ever comes back.
Aaaaand…. Scene! If only newspaper reviewers were so funny.
Wai Lee [MenuPages]