Ring in the Lunar New Year (and the year of the horse) with a feast for kings without getting caught in the thick of activities in Chinatown or Flushing. Here’s a round-up of five great blowout options for a festive dinner.
Annisa, 13 Barrow Street, 212-741-6699
Top Chef Masters alum Anita Lo likes to forgo bolder flavors for the subtle and sublime at her quiet West Village restaurant. Tonight, January 30, and tomorrow, the Chinese-Malaysian chef will serve a $105 six-course menu that features some of the restaurant’s perennial highlights — like silky foie-gras soup dumplings with jicama — as well as dishes inspired by her roots: duck with lacquered walnuts, oysters and turnip cake with pea shoots, and longevity noodles with shiitake mushrooms and egg. Cold-smoked horse mackerel with horseradish and apple starts the meal, a bite meant to bring together the year of the horse and the promise of surplus.
Hakkasan, 311 West 43rd Street, 212-776-1818
This palatial New York restaurant is impeccable in its detail, from the elegant lattice work to a bracingly grand entrance at the 11,000 square foot space in Hells Kitchen. For Chinese New Year (January 31 through February 8), the spot is offering a small a la carte selection with classic options like stewed pork trotters with black moss. Also known as fat choy for purists, black moss is a wreath of fine, dark briny strands — a traditional staple signifying longevity for the new year. Also on the menu: steamed sea snapper, Teochew style, ($28); braised Chinese cabbage ($18); and crabmeat fried rice ($18). To round out the meal, there are also bright-red macarons, embossed with the Chinese character for horse.
Pok Pok Ny and Xi’an Famous Foods, 127 Columbia Street
Two beloved New York City restaurants are coming together, and Xi’an’s collaboration with Pok Pok shouldn’t be missed. On Friday and Saturday, the pair will serve a blowout $150 five-course pork-heavy menu at Pok Pok’s old space. Aside from the traditional offerings, like dumplings and tang yuan (black sesame-filled dumplings in pomegranate syrup), there are eclectic dishes like Kaeung Jut, a pork broth of spinach, fermented tofu, and white pepper; longevity noodles with szechuan peppercorn sauce and homemade chile oil; and muu sam chan pha lo, a stewed pork belly in herbal broth, five-spice, pandan leaf, and mustard greens. We hope that last dish is similar to Pok Pok’s Pet Pha Lo — tender duck leg with mustard green and a duck egg in a deeply flavored five-spice broth.
Congee Village, 100 Allen Street, 212-941-1818
Bordering the outskirts of Chinatown is an old temple of Chinese cuisine, revered for its adherence to tradition (and not for the battered bamboo decor styled like a mai tai). While the Chinese traditionally take their festive meals at home, the Village isn’t missing its chance to serve a progression of big plates to parties of six or more, with menu prices ranging from $300-600. There’s no word out there yet on what the exact menu will be — a limited number of paper menus are distributed within the confines of the restaurant — but expect iconic good luck foods in addition to staples from the menu.
Café China, 13 East 37th Street, 212-213-2810
Want the grandeur of vintage Chinese away from the bustle of Chinatown? Café China’s tasteful love letter to the Chinese teahouses of the 1930s is your best bet: a clean, warmly lit space with dark wooden tables, art deco-inspired mirrors, leather banquettes, and antique porcelain. This year, the restaurant isn’t veering off from where it excels – the pungent, bold flavors of regional Sichuan. On offer: A six-course, $118 dinner for two features braised Napa cabbage with scallops; pepper beef; a dry hot pot of lamb, beef, prawns, and smoked tofu; and a filet of sole. Don’t fret if you can’t make snag a table this weekend; the menu is available for the entire month of February.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect the fact that Susur Lee is not involved at Hakkasan.