(631) 425-7788, Huntington
Yu-Mei Zheng has guts. She is the owner of Ting, a relatively new Asian restaurant at a site that’s been an absolute graveyard for a long and disastrous parade of eating places of every stripe. Ms. Zheng, a first-time restaurant owner follows the likes of Scotty’s Corner House, Al Dowds, Il Tulipano, a few Chinese restaurants and more recently two Asians (Legacy and Dao) at 92 East Main Street in Huntington.
Only time will tell whether she succeeds where so many have failed, but she sure is giving it an all-out try. Her task is especially daunting because she is serving essentially the same Pan Asian-style food as her two immediate predecessors. The restaurant’s rather exotic décor has wisely been left intact, with just a little tinkering. Now the front door opens automatically and on cold nights newcomers are greeted with a welcome blast of warm air. But the striking saltwater fish tank centerpiece remains as does the sushi bar, the calm, appropriate dinnertime music, the high tile ceilings and the large panoramic front windows. So too does the efficient, almost-instant service.
Probably the most significant innovation is the addition of a noon to 3:30pm dim sum lunch. It’s not the authentic Chinatown version with carts of small dishes wheeled through the dining room, yet the fourteen-choice dim sum menu is relatively unique for Long Island. We tried only half of the four-dollar dishes, most of which were what they should be. Unlike so many Chinese restaurants where all the dishes arrive at once, when we requested gradually paced service we received it. Only a dish of virtually tasteless sticky rice was a waste of time. Two lotus leaves wrapped around sticky rice with chicken, pork and shrimp is a recommended pick. Just dig to their bottoms for the meat. Too-thick, gelatinous wrappers diminished four steamed dumplings with watercress and dumpling sauce. An interesting, ambitious steamed crabmeat and pork soup dumpling was true to those encountered in Chinatown. Three plump bacon rolls, stuffed with floured crab meat and served with horseradish aioli sauce were top of the line, as were three thin spring rolls with a mayo dip, four steamed crystal shrimp dumplings and a semi-sweet dessert of three steamed egg custard rolls.
Dinner was also a mixed bag. On the plus side was a delicately breaded seven piece (two shrimp, five veggies) tempura appetizer ($10), a substantial unaju roll ($14) that artfully combines its soft shell crab tempura with a topping of eel and eel sauce. The crabcake appetizer ($13) is enhanced by its bonito crust and spicy aioli. The half Peking duck ($27), the most expensive dish sampled, was disappointing. It was somewhat overcooked and only its skin and Hoisin sauce produced much flavor.
A mango cheesecake ($8) finale yielded velvety texture and admirable taste but its thin gelatinous layer of mango contributed little flavor.
Photos by Stephen Lang