Chifa Gets 3 Bells
Craig LaBan dines at Chifa and finds Jose Garces’ gastro-genius on display.
Overall, I find the rambling bilevel space full of odd nooks, and the ambitiously wide-ranging menu a notch less compelling than Garces’ other more-well-defined tapas emporiums. Even if it is inspired by an actual tradition (known as “chifa”) that developed organically over more than a century by Chinese laborers in Peru, one gets the sense that is merely a pretext for this chef and his talented crew to show us their creative chops – and it can feel disjointed and vaguely indulgent.
And yet, if there’s a chef in town I’m happy to indulge, it is Garces. And there are simply so many stunning flavors here, starting with the addictive yucca-flour cheese buns (pan de bono) in the complimentary bread basket, it’s nearly impossible not to leave impressed.
3 Bells – Excellent