It was my first meal of 2018. Had I had it a week earlier, it would have placed well into my Top 25 Restaurant Meals of the Year. Instead, this celebratory family feast for eleven, built around a whole suckling pig and a large, live, king crab, is the pacesetter for my 2018 list.
After the pig was removed and before the buns were delivered, a live, whole king crab was brought to and placed in the middle of our table for our inspection and approval. This had also been pre-arranged. The crab definitely had some life to it and appeared large enough to feed our salivating group. After this brief inspection, it was removed and brought back to the kitchen.
The artfully arranged, meaty pieces of the suckling pig were brought back to the table and placed on the ever useful lazy-susan, so that everyone could dig in, and dig-in we did! The skin was crisp and full of flavor. The meat remained moist and sweet with a subtle hint of spicing, but not so much that the inherent flavor couldn’t shine through. This had been expertly prepared and was utterly delicious, perhaps the best suckling pig that I’ve had outside of Spain.
We spent a short time working on the suckling pig, when the first of the crab dishes came out from the kitchen. Pieces of the crab had been cut, exposing the sweet, white flesh that had been stir-fried with a garlic, ginger, scallion and Shaoxing sauce. The flavors melded together harmoniously with plenty of meat for all at the table.
Those of us who hadn’t experienced this Wu’s feast before didn’t realize that there was still plenty more to come. More of the crab came out having been deep-fried in a delicious, light batter laden with plenty of wonderful garlic. This was a bit more down and dirty than the first crab presentation, but equally rewarding.
We had a bit of an intermezzo with their rich wonton soup with pea shoots. It was brought to the table in a large bowl and divided equally at the table by the smooth service staff with each diner receiving two filled wontons each. The dumplings were expertly crafted, delicate and flavorful more rewarding than those from some high profile recent Chinese dim sum restaurants. The rich broth was otherworldly and a major treat all by itself.
To make matters even better, we were able to bring our own wines to the restaurant. Given the company, this was not a small matter and the wines that we shared were superb and well matched to the cuisine.
The meal finished with mango jelly, a simple, tasty treat perfect for such a rich meal. I had previously been to Wu’s with a small group, ordering from the menu without pre-arranged dishes. It was very good, but not quite the amazing standout that it proved to be for this feast. This is the best way to enjoy Wu’s and one of the best ways that I have found to enjoy a large group celebration in NYC at a reasonable price.