This is another awesome Tasting Collective dining club event we attended. (You can read about the previous posts about Tasting Collective events here: http://www.foodlovergirl.com/fish-cheeks/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/win-son/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/f-o-b/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/xixa/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/huertas/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/bessou/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/maharlika/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/traif/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/lalito/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/noreetuh/ and http://www.foodlovergirl.com/traif-2/). Tasting Collective is a dining club for food lovers, and they offer brunch and dinner at great NYC restaurants. They close off the restaurants for the club, so we get to have the entire restaurant and chef(s) all to ourselves. So, this is more than just eating food at a restaurant, but you get to have the background story and its passion from the chef(s), eating 8- to 12- or more course brunch/dinner created specifically for Tasting Collectives.
This event was held at Nom Wah Tu, nine course Chinese-Style New Year Feast. The best way to continue the New Year celebration is to celebrate another New Year, Chinese New Year that is! And we thought it would be awesome to do just that with Tasting Collective event, even if it is not quite Chinese New Year yet. This spot used to be another Chinese restaurant, Fung Tu. The restaurant was reborn as Nom Wah Tu in September of 2017, with new menu but with the same people. If you are wondering, yes, it is a part of Nom Wah empire, partner with Nom Wah Tea Parlor.
Nom Wah Tu is more casual, providing comfortable atmosphere, with a goal to become a popular “local bar” for the area. And the first thing we saw when we walked in was a full bar. It had sort of strange purple-ish neon light there, with an old-fashioned Chinese lantern looking light fixture, which I thought was pretty cool.
Right in front of the bar was an interesting mural on the wall. I couldn’t tell what it was at first, but then with a closer look, I figured out it is a huge crab! It looked as if the crab is fighting in a battle or something… Very energetic painting.
The inside is a bit on the small side, rather narrow and long. I took the photos of interior shortly after the event ended, so the tables are not tidy for that reason. They have tall, long tables on the left, and booth tables on the right.
There are only three booth seating, and two long tables with bar stools. They had mirrors on the booth side of the wall, creating vision of larger space. The decor is kept simple, with few antique-looking Chinese items in the walls. Their kitchen is all the way back, not an open-kitchen so you don’t get to see all the culinary magic that happens in the kitchen.
The most interesting thing they had (in my opinion) was the projector on the ceiling! They had old Chinese movie with Jet Li playing on the back wall (without any sound) during our event. I thought that was quite fun! The Executive Chef and Owner of Nom Wah Tu, Chef Jonathan Wu came out to greet us at the beginning and during our event. He offeres traditional dim sum with a modern twist, so he turns ordinary dishes into something a bit unique.
We ordered a cocktail to kick off the celebration. We ordered Miss Lin, made with vodka, lychee, lemon and ginger. This drink was much better than I expected it to be. Great mix of lychee and ginger, nice sweetness with just a little kick. Lemon flavor added a refreshing and smooth taste, really well made drink.
The first course of the nine course feast was Shaved Broccoli & Carrot Salad with goji berries, crispy taro, and passion fruit dressing. It was super fresh, with nice crunchy texture. I liked the little sweetness from the dressing. The super fruit, goji berries were great. A nice clean, fresh start of the nine course dinner.
Second course was Arctic Char Crudo with spicy and tingling sauce. We each received three small pieces of raw salmon slices.
It was super fresh and meaty. Even though each piece was small, it was thickly sliced and therefore, they had good plump texture to it. It had a good kick to it from the spicy sauce, followed by tingling sensation. Very interesting!
Third course was Pork Soup Dumplings with porcini mushroom sauce. We each received one dumpling.
It was a small dumpling, shaped like a bottom half of a princess dress. Elegant and appetizing. It was packed with flavor, juicy and delicious. Awesome dumpling for sure! Wish if we had at least two…or five…
The fourth course was Fried Shiitake Mushrooms Caps stuffed with shrimp paste. I first didn’t realize it would be fried, so I was surprised to see the fried balls. We each received one fried mushroom. I don’t think I have ever tried a stuffed mushroom that was deep fried. It came with sweet and tangy sauce, which was nice. The exterior was super crispy and crunchy, which was really great. The inside was very juicy and meaty, with strong, good flavor from the shrimp paste.
Fifth course was Taiwanese Scallion Pancake Wraps with char siu duck. This one was the first item that was bigger than bite-size. We each received one and it had soft and chewy pancake with juicy duck. It was filling and quite delicious!
Next up was Egg Drop Soup with chicken and corn. It was a bit too salty for me, but otherwise, it had a nice amount of chicken that were tender and tasty. I liked the sweet corn that added extra flavor and texture. However, it was really difficult to eat, since it was not in a proper soup bowl. The dish was flat on the bottom, and was not deep at all… It was like trying to eat the soup off a plate, which was a challenge. I would’ve liked to be able to focus on enjoying the soup instead of focusing so much on how to eat it.
Lucky number seven was Wok Fired Rice Cakes with butter nut squash and Chinese broccoli. This dish was served family style. This was the first dish that was really filling with great substance, since most others were either really small portion and/or light. The rice cakes were firm and chewy, much firmer than expected. Since it was cooked on the wok, there were few crunchy parts, which I enjoyed. I liked the combination of crunchy and chewy texture of the rice cake. Overall, the dish had strong seasoning, a bit salty but goof flavor. I liked the soft sweet squash and crunchy broccoli.
The last savory course was Sauteed Porgy with soy butter and bok choy. This was again served in family style. It was a nice light ending of the course meal with strong flavors.
The fish was tender and soft, juicy and flaky. The skin was crispy and crunchy, giving great contrasting texture which I enjoyed. Soy butter was nice and smooth, had bit of nutty flavor that went great with the fish.
The very last course was a dessert. It was Oolong Panna Cotta with pomelo.
It had great oolong flavor and super delicious! I loved the texture, it was fluffy and doughy at the same time. It had nice firmness yet velvety and goes down real smooth. Pomelo fruit was interesting, it added refreshing citrus flavor and extra sweetness.
Their bathroom is located all the way in the back, next to the kitchen. They have two gender-neutral bathrooms, with interesting sign on the door that has M and W put together.
The bathroom was clean and had simple and modern decor. It had small heater in there to keep the bathroom nice and warm, which was very considerate, since it was a really cold day.
It was a nice event, we enjoyed all the food, made high quality and tasty. We were pleasantly full and satisfied. The servers were efficient and did nice job around the fully booked space. It was a really nice way to start off the new year, and a great first Tasting Collective event of the year as well. We also met with new food enthusiasm people, which is always fun. Looking forward to more fun Tasting Collective events to come for this year!
For those of you who are interested in joining this great dining club, Tasting Collective, you can use this link to get a discounted annual rate of $115 (over 30% off the normal $165/year) for the first year: https://tastingcollective.com/?invite_code=JUN4346
Nom Wah Tu – 22 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002