Wa Jeal (New York City NY)
||1588 Second Avenue,|
New York City, NY 10028
Reviewed by: Michael Gray
Fall Volume: 2011 Issue: 18(3) page: 27
This restaurant boasts a former chef from the now closed Wu Liang Ye on East 86th street is currently supervising creations here. It is difficult to confirm as no one would comment, but we do know that Wa Jeal opened before the 86th Street location of Wu Liang Ye shut down. There is that, and the menus are quite different.
Overall, I am glad to see them doing well despite the 2nd Avenue subway woes that include that Tony DiNapoli’s longtime rib joint up the block has folded. While Wa Jeal is an appropriate choice for the neighborhood, is it a destination Sichuan restaurant in New York City? You need to decide. As to my thoughts on the topic, I found an over-emphasis on hot chili oil over Sichuan peppercorns. Here is a sampling of what I had and what I thought about each item sampled.
The Dan Dan Noodles did not have enough meat sauce relative to the noodles; and there was too much hot oil in a dish that really requires little to none. The Chef's Sichuan Pickles I tasted were barely pickled and swimming in hot oil.
As to the Kung Pao Chicken, their version had water chestnuts and green bell peppers which I never like to see. Overall, it, fell short on its ma-la or piquancy. The Double-Cooked Pork, despite the heavy-handed use of chili oil, was the best tasting dish while the Sautéed Spinach that followed was cooked in garlic and oil; their rendition slightly over-cooked.
Service was very friendly and attentive; and if you are in the neighborhood, by all means do stop by.