The Tang joins a growing number of authentic Chinese restaurants on the Upper West Side with its recent opening at 920 Amsterdam Avenue. The Herald spoke to owner Yu Li about his new restaurant.
Herald: What is the concept behind your restaurant? How did it come to be?
Li: “In 2016, we opened the first The Tang in the East Village in hopes of introducing the city to various noodle dishes that were widely popular in China but relatively unseen in New York. Now that there is greater acceptance toward Chinese cuisine, especially with the rise of noodle places, the second The Tang aims to introduce dishes of which the concept of “authenticity“ might no longer be the most important thing. With more kitchen space which allows chefs to make a more creative version of authentic Chinese dishes, we want to transform authentic Chinese noodles and cuisine into food for everyone in NYC. The Tang UWS is the place to both offer people comfort and bring them excitement and surprises.”
Herald: What are some of the recipes you will feature?
Li “The food menu is filled with noodle soups and small plates; the drink menu includes sake, wine, seasonal cocktails. We kept our signatures items such as Drunk Noodles and Braised Beef Noodles Soup at UWS location. Some new dishes developed at the UWS location are: Fried Tiger Prawn with Salted Egg White and Sichuan Style Coca-Cola Chicken Wings. There are also dishes that are influenced by other countries and developed by The Tang’s team: Grilled Eggplant with Japanese bonito flakes dressed with Chinese Soybean Paste and the Vietnamese style of adding bone marrow toOxtail Beef Noodle soup.”
Herald: What is the interior design of the restaurant like? How was it designed? Who did you work with?
Li: “The design is executed by New Practice Studio that turned Tang Hotpot, Hunan Slurp, Hao Noodle, and Atlas Kitchen into beautiful spaces. To echo the lively and sociable ambiance at East Village, The Tang UWS is coated in a dark and crimson palette, using materials such as weathering steel for the storefront, walnut wood for countertop, and red herringbone bricks for the wall and floor. Similar to the boundaryless menu, the interior also tries to achieve a balanced sense of Eastern and Western influence. Space showcases a pair of facing mural artworks framed in Chinese Garden-style shapes, which is backlit with a classic neon sign that reads, The Tang. The centerpiece is the open kitchen surrounded by counter seating where guests can watch the chefs in action and enjoy relaxing conversations with friends.”
Herald: Who is the chef? Can you tell us anything about him or her?
Li: “The restaurant is overseen by the seasoned chef Kim Hui Teo, who excels at dim sum and noodles. Kim was formerly at Tim Ho Wan and Red Farm. I recruited him because he can bring his Malaysian culture to continue evolving our dishes that aren’t defined by any region. With Chef Kim Hui Teo’s help, we can be more creative and add our own little twists to fit the New Yorkers’ palate.”
Herald: How did you pick the Upper West Side for a location?
Li: “There are not many contemporary Chinese restaurants that serve contemporary Chinese dishes on the Upper West Side. With us coming to the neighborhood, the residents now have one more dining option whether they are in the mood for comforting food or a chill place to gather with friends.”
Herald: How does this restaurant differ from others in the neighborhood?
Li: “Compared to the vibrant East Village, the UWS is a quieter neighborhood with a lot of schools, parks, and residential buildings. Yet coming from the East Village, the Tang UWS location keeps the energetic from downtown NYC, reflected on the creative dishes and the open kitchen, bringing the chill Chinese bistro vibe that’s rarely seen in the UWS.”
Herald: When is it opening?
Li: “The Tang soft-opened at the end of May 2019.”