restaurants
Ember Room
647 Ninth Avenue
212 245 8880

If you don't like glaze, this Ian Chalermkittichai and Todd English collab is not for you. If you do, you'll love this bi-level Asian BBQ. Winners on the menu are the scallops, the grilled baby eggplant, the flaky sea bass with nicely done Chinese veggies and a fantastic chicken fried rice (the rice has a kind of seared deliciousness not found in many fried rice dishes) and the specials. On one night, this meant a refreshing gazpacho. Good for groups, the back tables seat six bench- style quite comfortably, and upstairs two discreetly hidden booths, each holding three to four comfortably, overlook 9th Avenue and the bar area for a bit of coziness. That said, each of our several visits involved mixed experiences. The clear winner on the cocktail menu is the heavily smoky and spicy (we love a savoury drink) Hell's Kitchen but other drinks were simply too sweet. Many dishes were salty and we found the beet, chicken and mushroom salads not really worthwhile nor did we like the BBQ short ribs. Despite an unusual calamansi sorbet, we'd say it's desserts and service where this spot falls down. Overall the sweets were, well, not very good. And dishes come out at an uneven rate, with some waitstaff spectacular and others disaffected. We included it because they are trying really hard to do something different but to really soar, they will need to iron out those two things and cut back on the salt.

$$

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