January 5, 2016
Stuart Thomajan and C.K. Chin of Swift’s Attic finally unveiled their long-simmering modern Chinese restaurant, Wu Chow, last fall, much to the delight of a dining populace eager to consume all the soup dumplings. Leading the kitchen is chef Ji Peng Chen, a specialist in Sichuan cuisine, whose calling card is a top-secret chili oil that only he knows how to make. Here’s what Austin’s fooderati have to say about Wu Chow’s first couple of months.
Those dumplings — Early buzz on Wu Chow centered principally on the soup dumplings, and the restaurant has delivered on that promise. Veteran Chowhounder slowcooked "found the combo of flavor and texture to be fantastic." "Soup dumplings are LEGIT," said Vina Ortiz on Foursquare. "If you've gone to Joe's Shanghai in NYC you'll like them here."
The space — Melody Fury, writing for CultureMap, described the dining room as "stylish," with "metallic pops of color and texture" enlivening the space. Fury also pointed out the wall accented with a mosaic of mahjong tiles as a particularly cool feature.
The food — Chowhounder yimay claimed that the squid with chive blossoms dish is "the only thing worth going for," while Carter B. used the Chongqing chicken (called "Spicy Deep Fried Chicken" on the menu) as an example of "quality chicken was being used." Yelper Michael L. was disappointed in the "overcooked and flavorless" green beans and the "cold and oddly gummy" Xiao Long Bao. Cathy at Forks Up declared the salt & pepper squid as the table favorite: "There were several pieces of tender squid with a crispy, perfectly seasoned taro root outer coating," she wrote.
The service— Yelper Cole A. gave the service a shout-out in his summary: "The food is killer, service is A+ and the ambiance is really nice." Meanwhile, Eliza C. referenced rumors that Wu Chow had been struggling to find good service staff (a problem throughout the city and country) and ruled that "perhaps they should have waited a month or so longer."
The drinks — Forks Up admired the "interesting bar menu," which features Tiki-style drinks, and enjoyed the spicy, gin-based Texas Tiki cocktail. "It was very smooth and a nice compliment to the food."
The prices — Diners across the board noted that for dim sum, the price point is a bit high. Chowhounder ieathereforeiam reckoned that " you pay for the hip environment." Yelper Mickey L.got mathematical: "the price/quantity ratio and the price/quality ratio are a bit out of proportion."