Magazine article The New Yorker

Talde

Magazine article The New Yorker

Talde

Article excerpt

Ten years ago, the cooking of the Filipino-American chef Dale Talde might have been categorized as Asian fusion, a designation that today holds all the appeal of a frozen stir-fry dinner. In 2012, Talde--standing, perhaps, on David Chang's shoulders--has given his Park Slope restaurant the more modern-sounding label of "Asian-American," which is also the ubiquitous adjective for the new New York Knick Jeremy Lin (a Californian of Taiwanese origin), who, for a while, seemed to be pumping air into a deflated franchise. Talde was a popular "Top Chef" contestant, and fans were waiting two hours for tables weeks before anyone uttered the word "Linsanity." It's clear, though, that the chef takes pride in the athlete's rise--wear Lin's jersey, get a free cocktail--and, moreover, in their shared identity.

In decorating, Talde may have gone a little overboard--it's as though someone ran wild at a restaurant-supply store in Flushing, amassing enough mahogany Orientalist reliefs and faux-jade dragon sculptures to far surpass any intended irony. The menu, however, is much subtler, offering playful, family-style food, inspired by a variety of Asian cuisines, and, more often than not, quite good. Pretzel pork-and-chive dumplings taste like the love child of a Hong Kong hawker stall and a New York hot-dog cart: salty, blistered, and stuffed with juicy pink pork, they're served with the kind of spicy mustard that comes with Chinese takeout and is too often relegated to the kitchen junk drawer. …

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