Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Xiao Ye - 198 Orchard St, New York NY10002 (Btwn Houston & Stanton St) (212) 777-7733
After reading about this new Taiwanese place from Time Out New York (my go to bible of all new restaurants and events), I was really psyched and looking forward to trying this place out. When I went online to look at their menu, I was a little taken aback by their prices. But in their defense, I figured they needed to keep the prices high to pay the rent by any means. Besides, I felt compelled to show some support to my fellow Taiwanese people.
It took me a while to find this place because the directions on Google maps was completely off. Just when I was about to give up looking, I decided to give it one last try and looked up their number and call them. It turns out that they're not located on Houston street but on Orchard street, between Houston and Stanton. This needs to get fixed asap!
Although this is suppose to be a Taiwanese restaurant, it didn't offer many of the traditional Taiwanese dishes you would normally see. Appetizers such as stinky tofu and chicken roll weren't even on the menu at all. What was offered on the menu was definitely interesting to say the least, they've taken some well-known dishes like Zha Jian Mien, and called it, "Princeton Review Bean Paste Noodles." They've got plenty of other unconventional names for their foods such as, "Obey your parents noodles, Trade my daughter for fried chicken, and Robster Rice," names that only ABCs (American Born Chinese) would understand and not feel offended by it.
I get their humor and it's definitely an interesting spin with what they've done with the menu, but my impression of this place was that this restaurant caters primarily to non-Chinese patrons. I understand that they don't feel the need to keep their prices low to stay competitive because they're located in lower east Manhattan and not Chinatown. But Chinatown is literally 5 blocks away. The prices and the limited items on the menu would be enough to deter Chinese people, but for me that was not even the case. I've noticed that this Chinese restaurant does not have any Chinese workers. I hate to compare this to other Chinese restaurants in Flushing and Chinatown, especially since Xiao Ye is trying hard to set itself apart, but I'm used to having cheap, good food as well as fast service. This place has got white people working in the back cooking Chinese food. Are you kidding me? They must have still been trying to figure out how to prepare my meal, because it sure took them a long time. I ordered the Beef Noodle Soup and Princeton Review Bean Paste Noodles and the noodles were overcooked and tasted bland. It was nothing out of the ordinary, except that the portions were small and I'm paying double the price. My advice would be to hire a real, professional Chinese chef!
I know it's a new restaurant and they've just opened this year in June but it needs a lot of improvement. They really need to bring their A game to the table if they want to stay in the game. The quality and taste of the food really needs to improve. Maybe I'm being critical because being a Taiwanese and a fan of Taiwan's night market, I was hoping for more. Or maybe my expectations were too high. Either way, all I have to say for Xiao Ye is that it's got a lot of style but no substance.
Price: Expensive for Chinese tapas styled food $25-$50 PP