Almond Flower Bistro
Thu Oct 19 2006
Photo: Talia Simhi
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5
96 Bowery between Grand and Hester Sts (212-966-7162). Subway: B, D to Grand St. Daily 11:30am--11pm. Average main course: $21.
This new Chinese-owned eatery on the Bowery appears to take great pains to distance itself from its dim sum--parlor neighbors. With exposed-brick walls and a crimson-lit blond-wood bar, the restaurant seems to take its design cues from Lower East Side hipster havens. And instead of having curtly efficient service, like many spots in Chinatown, the waitresses are exceptionally solicitous. Finally, the menu doesn’t go anywhere near any Asian staples. This all seems surprising until you learn that the chef-owner is Chris Chung, who’s worked at many great eateries and owns Little Bistro in Cobble Hill. His dishes come from all over America and Europe: fried calamari, lamb chops, escargot, angel-hair pasta, mini-hamburgers and even a pot roast, many of these made with East Asian accents. The calamari, fried in a light tempura batter, came doused in a balanced sweet-and-spicy dipping sauce; they were greaseless and delicious. Braised-beef lollipops consisted of toothsome collection of fried beef wontons skewered atop a base of cucumber and tomato slices. Even the chewy baby back ribs (pictured)—served with corn on the cob and mac and cheese—evoked Shanghai more than Memphis in their glistening sweetness. The best part of the dish was the macaroni in white cheddar, topped with a crisp sprinkling of Japanese bread crumbs. Spaghetti Eastern cuisine, maybe?—TONY