Chinese Modern was interesting. It mixed flavors completely foreign to me with very well know Chinese food concepts. My idea of Chinese food is based on the local Chinese restaurant's egg rolls and fried rice. Next's Chinese Modern is not that thankfully. You get hints of tradition with plenty of whimsy. All of it was wonderful and I was happy to have experienced this version of Next.
The meal started with us at the table and a centerpiece between us. Little did we know that the centerpiece was our first course. The server came out and explained that our first course was hot and sour soup. He preceded to begin cutting open the large piece of Chinese Okra in the centerpiece. The soup was inside! The centerpiece was pressed down and the soup was poured. A nice start to the meal. The soup was aromatic and finished with a nice taste of cilantro.
Bamboo Shoot and Lily Bulb - Jasmine, Candy Cap, White Cardamom
This course eased us into the what would be a marathon of Chinese food. Light, delicate and wonderful. I really enjoyed this dish.
Scallop Dumpling with Watercress and White Fungus
Pork Dumpling with Jujube and Cuttlefish
Congee as a Hot Foam with Pork Floss
These last three were served together as dim sum. All three incorporated pork in some way. It's interesting to note that all three are dough free. Instead of dough, Next uses a scallop and pork mousse to create the illusion of a dumpling. All three were fantastic. I think the scallop was my favorite but ask me again tomorrow and I'd probably give you a different answer.
Monkfish with White Asparagus in a Roasted Spine Broth
One of my favorite dishes in the meal. A wonderful, delicate dish. A nice balance of heat and coolness. The aroma was crazy. The fish was amazing. I could have stopped at that point and I'd have been happy.
This is the best crab salad I've ever had. It was served in a coconut to create some whimsy. The server also shaved coconut ice at the table and put it over the salad. The best I can recall there was green chili paste, crab, potatoes...I think, coconut ice, mushroom and sprouts. There was more but I just can't remember. A pretty complicated but wonderful crab salad.
Tiger Salad with Cold Skin Noodles and Seitan
Tingly Squab with Tarragon and Sumac
Skate Chops in the Style of Muslim Lamb
These last three were another trio. They were all very distinct strong flavors. The squab left my lips tingling even though is was not hot. While all three were good the squab stood out to me. It was probably the best single thing I had all night.
Shrimp in Duck Yolk "Sand"
This course presented the entire shrimp in varied textures. It started with a small bite to get you ready for the main event.
Beef and Broccoli in Liquid and Solid State
There is not much to explain here. The liquid state was basically a beef consomme with broccoli oil on top. The solid state was dried and oiled beef with fried broccoli on a wood board. I liked this course even if it was a bit heavy. It was a nice play on a classic Chinese-American staple.
Duck in Layers - Sour Plum, Kyobancha, Osmanthus
This course came out in stacked layers. In those layers were steamed buns with duck, mustard and dandelion greens, a poached duck egg over cabbage and of course, duck.
"Pulling Threads" with Sweetbreads, Taro Root and Banana - Goji, Walnut, Black Vinegar
This was a fun course. Think sweetbread magic shell. Pieces of sweetbreads, taro root and banana were served on a large hot plate covered in caramel. Obviously, everything was extremely hot. We dipped the hot pieces in the cool sauce. Within seconds the pieces had a sweet coating. A nice sweet and sour dish.
Frozen Rice Soup with Legumes and Whipped Vinegar
Frozen peas and nuts.Ok, maybe that's a bit too simple. This course was interesting. I kinda think you just have to try it. It's hard to explain.
Dragon's Beard Candy with a Pressing of Honey
I really like this course. Our server pressed a honeycomb at our table explaining where the honey came from. He suggested we dip our finger in the honey and try it before mixing it with the other ingredients on the plate. I'm happy he did. The honey was amazing.
Of course the meal ended with a fortune cookie. We had a giant fortune cookie with a copy of the menu inside. We also had bubble tea. A fun way to end a great night.
Chinese Modern was complex and full of whimsy. I enjoyed the experience from beginning to end. Bravo Next Restaurant for another great night.