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  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American West Village Moderate Good

We in this business of eating are all victims of sameness to some extent. Restaurants fall into one of several categories. There’s the seasonal/local/New American genre, the regional Italians, the modern Greeks, the Indians, the seafood shacks, the burger joints, the tapas spots, the Gastro-Pubs, and of course, the multiple variations on upscale Chinese and Japanese. You get the idea. We’ve got variety, but at the end of the day, we are all sort of eating food that’s slightly derivative. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ll take sheep’s milk gnudi any day of the week. Ditto pork belly, and the meatball du jour. My point is that we aren’t regularly eating food that makes us stop and take notice like it did when Wylie first started at 71 Clinton. Yes, it happens. There’s David Chang, Zak Pelaccio, Brad Farmerie, April Bloomfield, Alex Raij, and Jason Neroni. But it’s just not that common. But the other night, I found it again at P*ONG. P*ONG is the debut restaurant of Pichet Ong, the pastry chef who made a name for himself with his Thai Jewels and Chocolate and Vietnamese Coffee Tart at Spice Market and Durian ice cream and salty-sweet dim sum desserts at 66. But Pichet’s not all about the sugar. He’s also had some experience with salt. He worked for Jean-Georges as a fish cook, and on the savory side at Tabla and Olives. In many ways, then, this restaurant represents a reunion of his two lives as a cook—savory and sweet.

The menu reflects this dichotomy and is set up in three categories of plates meant to be shared—savory, savory and sweet, and sweet. While you can mix ‘n match your menu that way, I’d go for the ten-course tasting menu entitled Pong Suite ($59). It’s really the best way to taste your way through the menu and get an idea of what Pichet is up to.

That’s what we did the other night when Steven, Stephen, Carol and I had dinner at P*ONG, a lovely little restaurant that is peaceful and calming to dine in, with white tables lined in blond wood, super soft ivory leather backed banquettes seated in red linen, and smooth modern lines that feel clean and sleek, not cold and hard. We arrived just after 7:30, and started out with some cocktails ($14), a list that includes a Rhubarb caipirinha (cachaça, wasabon sugar, and lemon), a Madagascar martini (vanilla infused organic vodka, coconut infused rum, rhubarb, lemon ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in West Village :
+ Jefferson-- Closed   + La Palapa Rockola   + Sumile   + Babbo   + Tasca   + AOC Bedford   + Home   + The Spotted Pig   + Barbuto   + Numero 26   + Mas   + August   + Alta   + Cru   + Blue Mill Tavern-- Closed   + Employees Only   + Lassi   + Metropol--Closed   + Turks and Frogs   + Bellavitae   + Yumcha-- CLOSED   + Gusto: SEE EARLIER REVIEW; THIS CHEF HAS LEFT GUSTO   + Perry Street   + Home   + Ditch Plains   + The Little Owl   + Cafe Condesa   + Cafe Cluny   + Gusto   + The Waverly Inn   + Morandi   + P*ONG   + Perilla   + Soto   + Market Table   + Centro Vinoteca   + Barfry   + Dell'Anima   + Bar Blanc   + Smith's   + Commerce   + Elettaria   + Bar Q   + Cabrito   + 10 Downing   + Minetta Tavern   + Braeburn   + Scuderia, by guest reviewer Kathleen Squires   + Bar Blanc Bistro by Guest Reviewer Kathleen Squires   + Joseph Leonard   + Bar Henry, by Guest Reviewer Kathleen Squires   + Kin Shop   + Monument Lane   + Wong   + Bin on Bleecker, by Dara Pollak   + Ristorante Rafele   + Cole's Greenwich Village by Guest Reviewer Claire Jaffe   

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