LTO is a “pop up” restaurant showcasing a specific chefs’ tasting menu in the space that used to be Broadway East (B East). I got an email from the LTO listserv and I was excited to see Eddie Huang as I obviously love Chinese and Chinese influenced food.
The restaurant looks exactly the same as it used to. It’s a sort of cavern-esk room with exposed white brick walls with red booths and wooden tables. I generally liked the décor. Although it was probably only 25% full of customers, so it felt a bit empty.
The service was a little disjointed as we had multiple servers and it was hard to get the waiters attention. The servers were nice though.
Anyhow onto the food:
Fried Oyster Po Boy:
This was the typical Baohaus gua bao type of thing with a steamed bun, fried oysters, pickled aikon and carrot and a pate spread. I thought this was excellent, the oysters were perfectly fried, the pate spread was a nice addition and the pickled daikon really went with well with it. I hope he introduces this to Baohaus because these were really good. 8.75/10
Cumin Spiced Beef Skewers with Scallions:
This was simply grilled beef skewers flavored with cumin and there was also a side of grilled scallions. I wasn’t crazy about this, the beef was a little overcooked and the seasoning was a bit bland. I did like the scallions though. 6.5/10
Icebox Duck Wings:
This was duck wings braised in soy sauce, five spice and maybe a few other things, in Chinese they call this preparation lu wei. Duck wings don’t have much meat on them, so they are mainly skin. I’m generally a big fan of lu wei meats and I thought it was pretty decent, but it didn’t blow me away. 7.5/10
Peanuts in Black Vinegar:
These are roasted peanuts in black vinegar with chopped cilantro. These were great. The combination of flavors is self explanatory, but all go really well with each other. 8.25/10
137 Fried Gator:
This was gator tail that was battered and fried. The batter was seasoned with cinnamon. I wasn’t crazy about this, the cinnamon flavored batter wasn’t my thing and the meat was decent, but I was hoping it would be more tender than it was. 6.75/10
Sesame Liang Pi Salad:
This was a take on Xian Famous Foods signature dish using cold wheat noodles in a spicy sesame sauce. I thought this was pretty weak though, nowhere near as good as the version at Xian. It wasn’t very spicy and the sauce wasn’t all that flavorful. 6.5/10
This was a roast chicken served with a slightly sweet chili sauce. This was really good, this was probably one of the best roast chickens I’ve had in a really long time. The skin was nicely crispy, but not overcooked and the meat was very tender even the chicken breast was really tender. The sauce went well with the chicken. I need to give Eddie Huang some serious credit for this, I really liked this. 8.75/10
Salt Cod and Chinese Broccoli Fried Rice:
This was served with the FOB chicken. I really like salted fish in my fried rice, so I thought this was excellent. It was a bit oily, but in a good way. This accompanied the FOB chicken very well. 8/10
DMV Steamed Blue Crab:
This was two different types of blue crab; one was Maryland blue crab seasoned with Old Bay spice and the other was steamed Shanghai blue crab served with a scallion and ginger oil sauce. Both were excellent, the Maryland blue crab tasted just like the typical Maryland blue crab preparation and the Shanghai blue crab was really nice with good sweet meat, I didn’t even think it needed the scallion and ginger oil sauce although it did go well with it. This was a big hit at the table. 8.25/10
Hunan Corn Kernels with Leeks and Ham Hock:
This was corn kernels with smoked ham hock and leeks seasoned with a spicy seasoning. I really like this type of preparation and this version was quite good. The smoky saltiness of the ham hocks really goes very nicely with the sweetness of the corn and the spicy seasoning brings it all together. I’m a fan of this dish. 8/10
This was corn hush puppies served with a sweet chili sauce. They were nicely fried and the chili sauce went well with them. I liked this dish. 7.75/.10
Soy Caramel Bread Pudding a la Mode:
This was exactly was it sounds like, but surprisingly the ice cream was ginger flavored although it was pretty mild and it had a nice salty caramel sauce on it. I was very pleasantly surprised by this delicious dessert as it tasted a lot better than it sounded. 8/10
Overall, there were some hits and misses, but the dishes that were good were great. I enjoyed the meal quite a bit and some of the dishes like the FOB chicken really showcased his skills nicely. It was of a bit of an overkill from a pure quantity standpoint (we were so full when we left), but whatever that’s a good problem to have and that happens at pretty much every tasting menu. I’d definitely recommend trying this out if Eddie Huang decides to do another “pop up” type of deal.
171 East Broadway (between Pike St & Rutgers St)
Manhattan, NY 10002