New York, NY (August, 2019) - The contemporary Northern Chinese restaurant and bar Hutong is now open at 731 Lexington Avenue, the former space of Le Cirque restaurant. From its home in Hong Kong, Hutong brings a fresh take on Chinese cuisine with its occasionally fiery Northern Chinese dishes, served in an elegant space inspired by the glamor of Art Deco New York and Shanghai. This is the first U.S. opening from Aqua Restaurant Group, known for its international collection of award-winning dining concepts in Hong Kong, Beijing and London.
China is home to eight different regional cuisines. Hutong pulls its inspiration from the North with culinary influences from Beijing (with its roast duck), Sichuan (famous for its fiery peppers), Hunan and Shanghai (with its focus on fresh seafood). Traditional dishes have been evolved, making them lighter and well suited to today’s palate. Hutong’s chefs also serve up hand-crafted, innovative dim sum perfect for lunch and dinner.
Hutong’s New York menu incorporates signature dishes from Hong Kong and London as well as new dishes created exclusively for the New York City restaurant. The signature Red Lantern is served to the table in a traditional Chinese wood basket overflowing with red Sichuan dried chilies. Crispy pieces of soft-shell crab nestle between them, infused with spices and lip-numbing chili essence. The Halibut Red Star Noodles are served in a clear spicy broth. The red pepper star is opened at the table to reveal the aromatic halibut, noodles and crunchy gong choy.
The Red Lantern, a signature Hutong dish
No Northern Chinese menu would be complete without Peking Duck. Hutong’s Roasted Peking Duck with Pancakes is delicately carved at the table. The whole duck is carefully prepared for 24 hours using a traditional recipe said to have been developed over one hundred years ago for the Emperor, making the duck skin crispy on the outside while the meat remains moist, tender and flavorful.
Hutong’s dim sum is a main feature during lunch. Hutong’s chefs have taken traditional recipes and introduced innovative ingredients such as Rosé Champagne and Lobster. In the Wagyu Beef Millefeuille, tender Wagyu beef is beautifully encased with flaky “millefeuille” pastry that melts in the mouth. Hutong’s famous Dim Sum Platter is also served at lunch and at dinner.
Roasted Peking Duck and the Slow-cooked Wagyu Beef Cheek Puffs
Amongst the dishes specially created for the New York restaurant is Yu Xiang Crispy Pork Mochi Dumpling - spicy pork with salted fish and broad beans in a crispy glutinous rice outer. For dessert, a playful take on the traditional Chinese favorite, Bao and Soy Milk - a white chocolate covered, sesame and caramel mousse resembles a “bao” and is served on top of a praline sesame crunch. Sprinkled with lime zest to resemble scallions, the “bao” is complemented by a perfect scoop of house-made soy milk ice cream served in a marble and glass “cone.”
A centerpiece of the Hutong experience is the bar. Hutong’s intriguing cocktail list complements its cuisine by incorporating Chinese spices and herbs. The list features complex and elevated libations, such as signature cocktail, Comfortably Numb, mixed with vanilla vodka, lychee liqueur, Sichuan pepper honey and ruby red grapefruit. Dried Sichuan peppers coat the rim of the glass, creating a slight tingling sensation upon sipping. Hutong’s extensive wine and champagne list offers options from around the globe, selected to pair perfectly with the restaurant’s cuisine. The list features bottles from popular regions alongside “Discovery” wines from lesser-known varieties and producers.
Comfortably Numb and the bar at Hutong
“It is an honor to open Hutong restaurant right in the heart of New York City. New Yorkers are decidedly passionate and discriminating when it comes to food. We’re excited to have the opportunity at Hutong to share with the city our passion for contemporary Northern Chinese cuisine – occasionally fiery with spices and Sichuan peppers, but always robust reflecting the character of its northern home,” says David Yeo, founder of Aqua Restaurant Group.
The restaurant design reflects the glamour of 1920's Art Deco, a fitting nod to New York City’s heritage as one of the Art Deco capitals of the world. Created by Robert Angell Design International in collaboration with David Yeo, the space pays homage to the dynamic design characteristics of this period while incorporating elements of Shanghai’s own Art Deco history.
“Each Hutong restaurant shares the same DNA but offers a slightly different menu and design. For this great city New York, I was inspired by the amazing Art Deco style here but added Chinese features like those found in Shanghai – Shanghai was China’s center of Art Deco in the 1920s,” explains David Yeo.
Hutong’s Dining Room
As guests arrive, they first see and touch the silver “Eternity” knot door handle, a Chinese symbol for happiness and success to those who enter. A white marble portico surrounded with silver convex mirrors leads to the impressive vaulted blue dining room. The walls are wrapped in long elegant lengths of nav
blue fabric framed with polished nickel and inset with blue squared gesso lacquer finishes. The ceiling features an Art Deco ziggurat design, widely seen in the Chrysler Building, with inset silver leaf panels. At the center of the room is a majestic white marble fireplace set beneath a magnificent bespoke chandelier.
Heading to the bar through a matching white marble portico, a dramatic hall lined with floor-to-ceiling glass wine cases ushers guests into the lounge. Textured emerald green walls and shagreen leather banquettes surround the stunning hexagonal bar with white marble top and a zig-zag oak front inspired by Art Deco proportions. A gilded display for a vast selection of unique spirits descends from a vaulted ceiling.
The restaurant has 140 seats in the main dining room, 83 seats at the lounge bar, 4 private dining rooms with a total of 50 seated, 120 standing.
Reservations are available by phone on 212-758-4800 or at www.hutong-nyc.com.
Hours of Operation:
Address: 731 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022 (entrance in Beacon Court off 58th Street) Telephone: 212-758-4800
Website: www.hutong-nyc.com Social: @hutongnyc
About Aqua Restaurant Group:
In 2000, Singapore-born David Yeo opened his first aqua restaurant in Hong Kong’s Soho district. Following aqua’s success - -the restaurant was named in Conde Nast Traveler’s ‘100 Hottest Tables’ list - more restaurants followed in Hong Kong and then Beijing. Aqua Restaurant Group went international in 2009 with its first restaurant opening in London. In summer 2013, Aqua Restaurant Group simultaneously opened aqua shard and Hutong, with its unique Northern Chinese cuisine, on level 33 of The Shard, Europe’s tallest building. Today, Aqua Restaurant Group has 23 restaurants across Hong Kong, Beijing, London, and now New York City, embracing six different cuisines and delighting more than a million customers every year.
For more information please visit: www.aqua.com.hk.
Originally born in Hong Kong in December 2003, Hutong is a contemporary Northern Chinese restaurant serving innovative and occasionally fiery cuisine with a special focus on seafood and vegetables. The restaurant takes its name from Peking's fast disappearing “hutongs,” the narrow lanes teeming with the capital city’s life. Hutong expanded to London in 2013 with a second location situated on Level 33 of Western Europe’s tallest building, The Shard. Hutong is part of Aqua Restaurant Group and was the fifth concept from the Group. Hutong’s New York City debut in the summer of 2019 is the first U.S. location for Aqua Restaurant Group.
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