The open kitchen and glitzy tiled woks at R & D turn out innovative dishes with beauty and creativity. The emphasis is on sharing plates, like Duck Duck Bao hanging over fried chicken, dripping it’s juices into the crisp skin. This spot has just recently opened so the slow service (mainly the bar) is understandable. A playful and funky, slightly ambitious décor streams through the highly energized space. Chef Eric Chong has an intuitive grasp of what it takes to excite his patrons. The menu makes one want to splurge. Every item looking so mouth-watering.
Cocktails are creative, however slow to be created. Like the Moonstone Margarita with notes of cream, salt and sweet scented flowers. The Sichuan maple old fashioned infused with roasted duck and orange reads much better than it tastes – a mishmash of flavors.
An umami caesar must be the start! Tomato, clams, celery, kale tossed together are a heavenly spin on a Bloody Caesar. Shiitake polenta fries – thickly sliced wedges of salted grainy goodness – are an excellent update on the traditional. Beef tenderloin steak tartare is an interesting treat – especially if you are like me (if it’s on the menu, I must have it) – son-in-law egg, dried shrimp and shrimp crackers.
Oysters arrive topped with an “elixir of ginger”, spring onions and lime which is unfortunate. In my opinion, oysters are always best on their own. Barbecued pork buns (CSB) are stellar: crumbly sweet outside, soft, spongy and pillowy inside. Egg rolls are the most unique: delicate batter falls away while biting into the charred chicken and bamboo shoots.
Sticky Fun Guo dumplings are so balance with deep earth richness. Little dragon buns explode with juice and flavors, lamb is my preferred. Salmon belly, is brought at the wrong place and time, though tasty, it does not blend.
Then comes the delicate ceviche, enveloped in crunchy daikon radish, spot and tiger prawns, bay scallops and “jolo” butter. Not a moment later arrives this clumsy chicken and waffles. Hey, if I’m at a southern Baptist church on a Sunday afternoon it’s perfect. But this dish doesn’t go with the ceviche brought alongside. Finally the poutine is a rubbery let down. The pieces were way too chunky. It was like a vegetable stew with cheese on top.