So I try not to write about the past, but I felt compelled to write a post about my visit a few months back to Wakiya and the
(1.) Wakiya is SHUTTING DOWN on Dec 21, 2008
(2.) Multiple celeb sightings / celeb chef
I arrived at the GPH a bit earlier than the rest of my dinner companions (sketchy cabbie was quiet a speeder). Since I was afraid to be mistaken for a prostitute by "hanging out" in the lobby (remember that episode of SATC?), I decided to wait at the
I was only there for about 20 minutes, during which a gauche man tried to chat me up but did not offer to buy a drink (call me old fashioned, but I feel a true gentleman should offer a lady a drink if he tries to talk to her for more than 10 minutes). Therefore, I didn't sample one of their $19 cocktails. All and all, it’s a gorgeous space with gorgeous patrons, but I felt a bit self-conscious (maybe because I went alone?), so I probably wouldn't go out of my way to go back there.
So thanks to my foodie friend, I was tipped off to a little known promotion at Wakiya that week where they comped your drinks, appetizers, and dessert. When I heard this, I automatically assumed it was because the restaurant desperately needed business (perhaps foreshadowing its eventual demise?) and was not expecting a great meal. Well....it wasn't a great meal, but it wasn't terrible either. What made the night memorable were our multiple celebrity sightings and our meeting with esteemed Chef Yuji Wakiya (a legend for Chinese cuisine in
I started off with a mango martini (pretty standard, although I did like the slice of star fruit used as a garnish) and a
roll as an appetizer (was confused as I thought this was a Chinese restaurant). The main courses are supposed to be eaten “family style”, family style defined at Wakiya as a family of two models. You see, readers, the main problem I have with eating high end Chinese food is the deeply ingrained knowledge that I can get cheap, delicious, authentic, and generously portioned dishes in Chinatown/St. Marks. Nevertheless, the three of us ordered three dishes: pan seared whitefish dusted with “golden sand”, the hosin beef lettuce wraps, and chin shan steamed lobster. California
The whitefish was well seared and tender, although I still am unsure of what exactly was the “golden sand”. The beef wraps were tasty, but extremely Americanized. The best dish by far was the chin san steamed lobster with vegetables. I am biased because I love any type of cooked lobster (it’s hard to screw up a crustacean that is so innately delicious), but the presentation was way cool (steamed on the spot with boiling water poured from a tea kettle).
For dessert, we got a shelf of mini truffles, which my dinner companions loved. I am not a huge fan of chocolates, but they were tasty enough to end the meal on a sweet note.
NOW, for the exciting part…celebs! The friendly manager (who stopped by our table at least 4-5 times) told us both Leo DiCaprio and Wilmer Valderrama (the guy from That 70s Show, LiLo's ex) were dining in the restaurant with us! I am terrible at celeb spotting, but sure enough, I recognized them as I walked by their table (more than a few times - how terribly indiscreet of me). BUT the best part of the night was meeting Chef Wakiya. He was extremely nice and we took a picture with him (he might have thought we were Asian tourists).
|With the Chef|