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241 Church St. (Leonard St.) Send to Phone
Mix Richard Meier, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Chinese cuisine and you've got one of the hottest dumplings in town.

Lunch & Dinner daily
Open late Thurs.-Sat.
  • Dress code: Casual dressy

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: Combine an auspicious name (besides being the side-entrance address, 66 is a lucky number to Chinese), one of Beijing's top chefs and a sleek interior by architect Richard Meier, and you have another Jean-Georges Vongerichten hit. Voluptuous curves soften the straight lines of this white, silver and black room, where the chairs are by Eames. Red (what else?) banners float above a bar as long as Mao's march. The bar turns into a banquet table, and guests can watch an improvised shadow show of bustling waiters unfold behind the glass wall that separates the dining room from the service area. The oblong space is cleverly divvied into smaller lounges by translucent screens for a feeling of privacy without Siberian isolation. Fish tanks, that de rigueur accessory for Chinatown restaurants, are translated to a lavish bona fide aquarium through which you can spy on the kitchen action. Apparently Vongerichten gives the chef a free hand, with French input kept to a minimum. The result is real Chinese food (the dishes on the menu are even numbered). And the simply-named food is anything but simple, as in the refined prawns with lily bulb and sweet walnuts. Call it nouvelle Chinoise, with unusual ingredients and imported techniques subtly intruding on Sino staples, as evidenced in the steamed cod with caramelized onion, ginger and scallions, and the seared salmon with chile glaze and wok-charred snow peas. The core of the menu runs the gamut of Chinese favorites: spring egg rolls, dim sum, lacquered pork belly, stir-fried noodles, fried rice, tapioca desserts. And the wine list features some beautiful Alsatian and Austrian Pinot Blancs that happily marry the spicy flavors. While most dishes are well prepared, they don't instantly make 66 the best Chinese restaurant in town. Still, the attentive diner can decipher intriguing trends that Vongerichten will no doubt cultivate to turn this fortune cookie into a contender.
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