Red Farm has always been a coveted Chinese restaurant in the West Village to me because it’s a commitment. The wait can be daunting and you could spend over an hour just trying to get upscale Chinese food when there are other endless similar cuisines all over this city. However, this is what makes it that much more special is that you have to pay your dues to get in. The quality of the ingredients, however, are a step about the rest as it is a farm-to-table, locavore concept and the restaurant space is built in an 1828 townhouse parlor-level space with white brick walls, communal tables and a few private booths. It’s a bit cramped but feels like classic New York. I love that menus and chopsticks hang above the tables via piping along with some potted plants and shrubbery.
Duck Breast with Winter Vegetables
This was my second time to the West Village location (their Upper West Side branch also just opened earlier this year). We skipped the dim sum section of the menu composed of dumplings, soup dumplings, spring rolls and started our feast with my absolute favorite dish here- Three Chili Chicken. While it’s nothing that unique compared to a traditional spicy chicken dish with soy sauce, scallions and peppers, the quality of the meat is perfect. The juicy chunks of tender and thick white pieces of chicken are hard to find especially when you order random takeout. Those times when you wonder if what your eating is really chicken makes you appreciate this dish and event though it’s $23, its a large portion and worth every bite. When I crave a Chinee chicken dish, this is the exact one I want in my mouth. This is pretty much how it goes across the board for the mains and the rice- it’s a lot of food and let me just say if you over order like me, you will find yourself trying to take it down for hours if it’s just two of you. I also loved the broccoli. The sauce is light, vegetables cooked crisp and tasty. I sadly was not a fan of the Shrimp and Scallop XO Fried Rice. It doesn’t even compare to Blue Ribbons and could maybe use a little more wet ingredients in it. It’s more on the dry side and not as flavorful as I had hoped. Maybe the BBQ’d Duck & Ginger Fried Rice is better. As stated in my first review, I did love the Dungeness & Rock Crabmeat Long Life Noodles, so don’t forget about those.
We got the special Duck Breast with Winter Vegetables. The potatoes that the bird laid upon were a waste of space, but the duck breast was great. The skin that bordered the tender meat slices were crunchy and the perfect outside texture. The green sauce that seasoned it was light and healthy. All of the presentations and platters used at Red Farm keep things exciting. We also got the Sea Bass with Mapo Tofu. If I had to pick my last meal, it would definitely be a whole fish but this one wasn’t my favorite. It was steamed and it a light sauce with most likely soy but I would have preferred a bit more seasoning. The fish was steamed just as I thought it would be but the steamed fish at Cafe China wins the gold.
Shrimp and Scallop XO Fried Rice
Red Farm is one of the hippest Chinese restaurants in New York that doesn’t draw a club or DJ crowd. It’s a neighborhood, family spot as well as a culinary destination for New Yorkers to venture to. While everything tastes fantastic and looks amazing, there are better dishes than others. I’ll always accept an invitation to Red Farm and am looking forward to its new duck-only concept downstairs opening in the next few weeks. If you want to spare yourself the hourly nightly waits, try going for brunch instead.