Thursday, October 25, 2012


How many swanky new places in river west/fulton market can arrive at once? And when they arrive is there any self restraint to not check them out? Not at all. The most recent addition is Embeya, described as progressive Asian cuisine. The first impression when you walk in is amazing. The space is beautiful with delicate and detailed ornamentation all around. Great bar space, smooth and sexy all around. Dining room feels smaller than it is I'm sure. One thing I didn't love was the use of all windows around two sides of the building. You end up starting at street lamp lights, billboards, and anything else that could distract you from the meal and people you're with. I also remember the noise level being quite loud until the place emptied out a bit.

I really like the approach and design of the menu. (One downer is that they ran out of the chicken dish that everyone has been raving about). It's divided into three simple sections: cold, hot, large plates. There's also sides, rice and vegetables. We dove right in and starting ordering things that looked good. We started with the recommended green papaya salad, with spaghetti like shaved papaya, shallots and beef jerky. Really like the sauce with that, a nice and interesting dish. There was also special rice (?) with radish and pear and seared scallop (it only came with one, cut into three pieces which was a major annoyance that we weren't prepared for - and it's expensive). The glass noodles with the scallop were also delicious. That was our favorite of the three even though we each had one very small bite - and loved the presentation with a flaming mound served under the shell. The rice dish was just ok and the shaved vegetable was nice and refreshing in a sweet Asian sauce.

The main dishes and sides we ordered were sort of hit or miss and slightly more disappointing than the starters. We tried the beef short ribs, big noodles, fish (don't remember which), with a side of bamboo. I really enjoyed the spicy noodle with shrimp. Highly recommended. The fish was totally blah and the bamboo interesting with a nice sauce. The short ribs were not so much. Very fatty pieces of meat and disappointing texture/flavor/etc. Avoid. The dessert of sticky rice and mango was fantastic and possibly the tastiest thing of the evening.

All around the experience was good and fun but there are a lot of ups and downs. Really like the space but don't love the sound level and street view. The menu had some nice items and some just meh items too. Service was good but the bill was pretty high for what we experienced (and only one scallop!). It's a cool spot and worth checking out. I'd probably go back to check out the chicken and also realize that it has been open a few weeks and has a lot of potential (and shut those blinds).

Embeya on Urbanspoon

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