Macao Trading Co., Tribeca’s popular Macanese restaurant and cocktail hot-spot, has brought Chef Erica Ohrling on board as executive chef, and she is proving herself as a masterly commander with new and refreshing additions to the menu.
Macao Trading Co. has a look rooted in 1930’s Macao’s industrial warehouses and opium dens and a menu that fuses Portuguese and Chinese cuisine to create a truly transportative experience. Combined with their handcrafted cocktails, Macao Trading Co. delivers an experience for diners to get lost in.
The cocktail program at Macao Trading Co. is deep and thoughtful, with twists on traditional cocktails and some very original creations that highlight the restaurant’s Macanese motifs. The Gin Ganju is a take on the gin fizz, with light citrus flavor coming from the lemongrass syrup. It is a frothy and floral drink that was a great start to the meal. If you are looking for something a little more off the beaten path, try the Drunken Dragon’s Milk. Warm spice, tea flavored vodka, and creamy coconut make this drink easy on the palate and even easier to order again and again and…
Chef Erica has introduced some new dishes to the appetizer section of the menu, including the Boqueron Crostini. This is an amazing salty treat! Literally mouthwatering, the delicious white sardines, laid upon a stroke of parsley butter on toast and topped with roasted red peppers and capers, are truly special, and may be one of the best appetizers I’ve tried this year. This would be perfect for a snack on its own, or as the entr’acte to a large meal. It didn’t compete with our cocktails, but stood strong on its own. It paired perfectly with the Burrata, which has Chef Erica’s own twist as well. Topped with a persimmon puree and served with yuzu, charred scallion, and green chiles, this was delicate and sweet, and contrasted beautifully in between bites of crostini.
Looking for something a little different than these new items? The Mushroom and Truffle Croquettes are crispy little pockets of earthy goodness. A small bite to whet the palate with their creamy and savory gooey insides, the croquettes are decadent little thumb sized treats. Or try the Chicken and Pork Fried Dumplings. Crisp and chewy and full of flavor… Like a ton of flavor… and served piping hot and plump, these are bits of well seasoned meat wrapped inside a delicious and doughy wonton.
After your first course, revisit the bar again with the Ginger Lynn, named after an 80’s porn star, this smoky, spicy, and sultry mezcal cocktail packs quite a bang. She knows how to put a smile on my face. If you are a rum drinker, the Dr. Funk is a sweet and herbal concoction with basil and strawberries topped with a drizzle of Absinthe.
One of Chef Erica’s most visually stunning new additions to the Macao Trading Co. menu is the Crispy Whole Fish. Served with wok fried corianders long beans, this fried whitefish is filleted at the table and looks impressive. Pick the meat from the plate and be sure to get some bite of the crispy skin, and it tastes even more impressive. The fish is full of flavor and filling, but that didn’t mean I was about to stop eating. The Five Spice Braised Lamb Shank calls upon Chef’s own five spice mix, inspired by spices from the Silk Road, to pack in its flavor. The shank was served on the bone, but promptly fell off. The meat is tender and full of flavor from the squash, red chili oil, and bok choy that accompany it. This is a carnivore’s perfect dish.
If noodles are more your speed, Macao Trading Co. offers a delightfully creamy Macanese Lobster Noodles. Shanghai noodles, kale, and chili beurre blanc are topped by a grandiose grilled lobster tail. This dish is as deep in the theme of the restaurant as the decor and a lot of fun.
After your entree, be sure to digest and prepare for desert with a Yellow Fever #2. This cocktail combines bourbon, sassafrass syrup, ginger, and white peach into a stomach settler with a boozy kick. It got me ready for Chef Erica’s imaginative and fresh approach to frozen dessert, the Shaved Frozen Coconut. Frozen young coconut, shaved into little flakes and served like a mountain’s snow cap atop fresh fruit and black sesame paste, this is a remarkable, and not too sweet dessert that is not to be missed.
Sometimes, everything just comes together perfectly, and the crew at Macao Trading Co. have worked really hard to make sure that everything works together seamlessly. The addition of Chef Erica Ohrling only strengthens those connections. The decor, the drinks, and the food all come together and tell a well spun tale of another place and time, far across the globe.
Macao Trading Co. is located at 311 Church Street and serves dinner Sunday through Wednesday from 5pm until 11pm and Thursday through Saturday from 5pm until 12am. More information can be obtained at macaonyc.com.