It wasn't too long ago that the words "Asian fusion" triggered a visceral reaction, conjuring images of sad avocado egg rolls and over-sauced hybrid sushi. But over the years, fusing elements of Eastern cuisine with classic American, French or Italian techniques has become par for the course, with culture-crossing chefly innovation at an all-time high. From in-your-face mashups to subtly-infused plates, here are seven new Asian fusion dishes to try right now.
Shaanxi arepas at Fung Tu: Per Se vet Jonathan Wu imbues Venezuela's famed cornmeal sandwich with the fiery flavors of China's northwestern Shaanxi province in this bicultural creation cooling spicy braised beef with Napa cabbage slaw and avocado crema. $15
Chawanmushi at Kingsley: For her take on the savory Japanese egg-dashi custard, young-gun chef Roxanne Spruance showcases her technical training with traditionally-prepared escargot, pungent black garlic, cranberry and an espuma (foam) of fine herbs. $17
Ceci e pepe at Momofuku Nishi: David Chang's latest venture, best described as a Korean-accented Italian restaurant, is headlined by this oddball take on humble cacio e pepe, swapping the requisite pecorino romano cheese with a creamy paste made from fermented chickpeas. $23
Tartare at Tuome: At his intimate East Village spot, Thomas Chen upgrades this garden-variety Gallic appetizer with premium Wagyu beef, seasoned with citrusy lemongrass and topped off with a three-hour slow-poached egg. $17
Kamo-duck confit filo at Autre Kyo-Ya: The team behind Michelin-starred kaiseki mainstay Kyo-Ya switched gears with this French-Japanese restaurant, serving hybrid creations like this duck two-ways (kamo-style roasted breast, confit) stuffed into flaky filo pastry and flecked with black trumpet mushrooms, chanterelles and a beet-plum sauce. $28
Barbecue osaka at Okiway: The customizable Japanese pancake okonomiyaki had a moment in 2015, in part due to this Bushwick newcomer turning out versions both traditional and hybrid, like a Carolina riff with pulled pork, barbecue sauce and pickles. $15
Chinese special burrito at Mission Cantina: For the New Year, freewheeling toque Danny Bowien introduced a separate Chinese menu (Mongolian beef, crab rangoon) at his Lower East Side burrito outpost. Still present, however, are those super-sized, California-style rollups, which include a rotating Chinese option that's ranged from mapo tofu to General Tso's. $14