NEW AND NOTED
Behold the Hairy Crab
We’re just on the cusp of hairy crab season, and these furry little critters are about to invade our dining tables—from Groupon deals as low as $30 per crab (surprisingly not too shabby: simply steam at home on a bed of perilla leaves with ginger) to $2,000 epic hairy crab tasting menus. For the crème de la crème, make a reservation at two-Michelin-starred Yan Toh Heen (Lower Level, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Rd., Kowloon, 2313-2323), which is celebrating the best catch from Yangcheng Lake in an eight-course hairy crab degustation ($2,488 plus 10 percent, available Oct 14-Dec 10). Conceived by guest chef Wang Bo and Yan Toh Heen executive chef Lau Yiu Fai, the labor-intensive dishes (some take up to a half-hour to pick enough meat for just one serving) blew us away, with a number of different preparations to highlight the flavor of the crab: from crispy taro dumplings with seafood and hairy crabmeat roe; to hairy crabmeat roe and bird’s nest soup with lobster and vegetables; and tender garoupa filet with, you guessed it, more hairy crabmeat and roe. The most innovative dish is the last course: glutinous rice dumpling soup with a fried purple sweet potato stuffed with crabmeat— subtly sweet, delicate and a delicious ending to a meal that only comes around once a year. In Hong Kong, it’s out with the old and in with the new… unless the new happens to be the reincarnation of one of Hong Kong’s oldest Italian restaurants. Following in the footsteps of Dan Ryan’s, Grappa’s Ristorante was the latest institution to get booted from Pacific Place last month, closing down after 26 years of service. But grieve not: They’ve popped up again at a new venue with the same staff—and an expanded menu and wine list. The new Grappa’s QRE (G/F, 18 Queen’s Rd. East, Wan Chai, 2868-0086) combines the old décor—including the signature handpainted mural and vintage Italian wine and liqueur posters—with new elements such as wooden airplane propellers as ceiling fans and a vintage Italian Vespa above the pizza kitchen. While signature dishes remain, you can look out for a few new items, including the “QRE house pizza” with green olives, potatoes and pepperoni; the slow-roasted suckling pig with grapes; and the Haagen-Dazs ice cream with 30-year-old balsamic vinegar. The bar has also been extended to include the largest selection of Amarone in Hong Kong, a unique dry and fullbodied Italian wine from the Valpolicella region of Italy.
Kimchi gyoza “lollipops” at Fujiyama Mama