New York Times gives Da Dong NY zero stars
Not much to quack about.
Da Dong, the fine-dining Peking duck restaurant with a few Michelin stars to its name, recently opened their first American outpost in Manhattan, but the city’s newspaper of record wasn’t impressed.
In a March 6 review by the New York Times, food critic Pete Wells awarded the venue zero stars, saying their signature dish has “almost no flavor.” (The paper rates restaurants from one (good) to four stars (extraordinary), while zero star restaurants get a poor, fair, or satisfactory, the last of which Da Dong got.)
Da Dong was founded in Beijing in the 1990s by chef Dong Zhenxiang, and they have since expanded around China with four branches in Shanghai. Two outlets here were given one Michelin star each in 2017. They opened in Midtown Manhattan last year December, and within the first two hours, 2,500 reservations were booked through February 2018.
But the NYT reviewer wasn’t blown away. “It made very little impression at all, apart from my strong sense that there ought to have been more of it,” Wells wrote. “Tasted on its own, it reminded me a bit of the lean, whitish, noncommittal supermarket pork chops I grew up on.”
“It was dry, too.”
He speculated that New York City regulations could partly be blamed, with the restaurant forced to use gas instead of wood to fuel its ovens. But he also called the menu as being “rife with dishes that are dead on arrival.”
Wells wasn’t all dismissive, however. He called the duck “precisely carved, as if by laser,” and the skin so crispy “you could bounce a quarter off it.” Desserts were also notable, the service attentive and caring, and the wine list was “a treasure.”