High-end Chinese restaurant Hutong debuts its second U.S. location in Brickell. Already major in Hong Kong, the upscale eatery is poised to be a big hit in Miami, where pricey Asian fare already does so well in restaurants like Novikov and Komodo. But Hutong doesn’t attract the same crowd as its competitors, where dinner is usually a scene. The people here are older and admittedly more polite, and there’s a sort of quietness to the experience that lets you focus on the food. You also won’t have to shout across the table to have a conversation. That’s nice too, no matter what age you are.
Like most restaurants of its kind, Hutong shows off its culinary prowess with Peking duck. The specialty dish takes 24 hours to make, is carved tableside and is served two ways. First, slices of the juicy, crispy breast accompanied by thin sesame pancakes and matchstick onions and cucumbers. The second portion involves the carcass (thankfully, this part is not done tableside) presented in a flavorful sauteed medley alongside lettuce cups for DIY wraps.
The rest of the northern Chinese menu includes seafood items from Shanghai, a variety of noodles and rice dishes and plenty of dim sum to snack on and share with the table. Shellfish get a lot of love on the menu but nothing is more delicious or visually arresting like the basket of fried soft-shell crab over a bed of dried whole chilies. The halibut floating in a crimson Sichuan pepper broth is a close second. Both dishes, and many others on the menu, are spicy but the heat is tempered just enough to enhance the flavors without overwhelming the palate. Should you need something else to soothe your tastebuds, the cocktails do wonders on the tongue.