Fusing 5,000 years of Chinese culinary arts with American culinary preferences is Master Chef Best Chinese Fusion Restaurant, which drew a crowd upon its debut in Syosset last month.
After valet parking, the elegance continued as we stepped into the opulent-yet-relaxing center hall with marble floor and magnificent appointments. To the left is the bar area with tables and to the right is a lovely themed dining area decorated with ergonomic-backed silk-lined chairs, silk drapes and silk placemats. Tables are set with golden embossed china, beautiful chopsticks, golden napkin holders, and red napkins.
Patrons will be pleasantly surprised at how good a spare rib can taste, or how an egg roll shell can be flakier than a croissant, or how soup broth can be inside the wonton instead of the wonton being in the soup. The chef uses prime meats, fresh seafood, market vegetables, spot-made sauces, and only the finest ingredients.
We were seated by the host/general manager William Chin, a second-generation former chef who was attentive to each table. Owner Henry Liu hired Chef Chung Fane Ho, who was trained at a renowned culinary school in his native Taiwan. He has been a chef in the U.S. for more than 30 years, making Cantonese and Shanghai dishes that use less oil and grease.
At Master Chef, everything is made to order. This establishment takes diners to a new level of Chinese dining where signature dishes are created with a passion that makes each plate special and unique.
An assortment of teas is offered. We decided on Buddha tea, a combination of black tea and jasmine.
Our meal started with meaty, juicy spare ribs served with pickled cabbage and radish slices. The dipping sauce was a soy sauce with ginger. The ribs, we were told, were cooked for four hours in the oven, then grilled with the marinade added only at the end.
The marinade, as all sauces served at Master Chef, is made fresh, not kept in a bucket in the fridge. Each sauce is different for each dish. Another captivating dipping sauce was made of black vinegar with ginger slivers.
Next came the soup dumpling, a dish with influence from Shanghai. Miracle wontons are served in a steamer and taken out with a spoon. Cut into the dumpling and, voila, the soup leaves the dumpling and spills out into your spoon.
After that came the crispy, flaky, duck egg roll, with a hint of cilantro and miso, black sesame seed, hoisin sauce, served over parsley and cabbage.
That was followed by the Cantonese-style fried calamari prepared with salt and pepper, red and green bell pepper, onion and scallion — crispy, flavorful crust on tender pieces of calamari.
The main course was rack of lamb grilled with cumin and garlic powder, prepared medium rare, with a side of radish and black vinegar and sugar. We also had eggplant rolls stuffed with shrimp and scallops topped with shaved scallions in a garlic sauce, and baby shrimp over pea shoots in a light white wine sauce. The Taiwanese rice dish was minced pork belly that melts in your mouth over white rice, enhanced with five spices and marinated radishes.
Asian desserts are often heated. Here the desserts are made by only the best bakers in the tri-state area. We sampled a cake made of many layers of crepes with a green tea cream. A perfect ending to this lavish meal was the key lime cheesecake – decadent and refreshing.
We had an aristocratic dining adventure where detail matched the quality, in a luxurious atmosphere highlighted with beautiful illustrations of real Chinese food.
Master Chef is a must-try. We are confident that it will quickly become one of the most sought-after dining establishments. We are pleased we were here to see it spanking new.
Master Chef: 6600 Jericho Turnpike, Syosset. 516-931-6222. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Lunch $9.95-$12.95, Appetizers $6-$12, Entrees $12-$46, Desserts $6-$8
Jeff is a practicing attorney. Vera is a retired schoolteacher. Both love Long Island food and wine and are delighted to share their discoveries with you. Contact them at [email protected]