There’s a litany of jokes about the low quality of Chinese food, but the MAAC Hospitality Group (part of Greenwich-based cb5 Hospitality Consulting) aims to change this perception by reintroducing Chinese food as most Americans know it.
“The family-run Chinese corner place doesn’t fit into the modern food sensibilities related to local, fresh, and health consciousness,” says Jody Pennette, cb5 founder.
Enter WUJI, a 100-seat ode to classic Chinese-American cuisine, thoughtfully prepared and stylishly plated by Hong Kong-trained chefs. MAAC’s “farm-to-wok” dining concept includes the use of organic chicken, pasture-raised pork, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, cage-free chicken eggs, and, when possible, organic vegetables.
There are vegetable spring rolls with sweet chili dipping sauce, organic heritage pork spare ribs with honey-plum glaze, hand-shaped dumplings, Peking Duck served with plum sauce and mu shu pancakes, Cantonese roast chicken with crispy garlic and shallots, and spicy fried rice capped by a soft egg. Half entrée plates, enough for one, run $14 to $18, while full entrée plates for sharing cost $20-plus.
Perhaps the most stylishly plated Chinese restaurant in the county; the spare ribs are made with organic heritage pork and dressed in a honey-plum glaze.
“It’s not healthy but healthy-ish,” says Pennette. “It is Chinese food after all.”
The beverage program includes less sweet versions of Trader Vic’s-inspired cocktails, such as the Singapore Sling and the Mai Tai, plus Asian beer selections, cold sake, a well-curated wine list, organic house-made soda, herbal-infusion ice tea service, and blossoming flower hot tea.
And WUJI forgoes the sparse “lucky cat” décor typical of many Chinese restaurants and instead has outsized Chinese Buddha statue prints, an “energy wall” with shards of Chinese Blue Willow china, and enormous Chinese porcelain vases.
Look for a brand-new location in Rye later this month and one in Larchmont in December. A Westport, CT, spot is scheduled to debut winter 2016.