BY HELEN KLEIN & MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK
It would be a sin not to dig in with Chinese food as good, fresh and flavorful as that served up by one of the newest eateries on Third Avenue – that yet has deep Bay Ridge roots.
Xin (pronounced Sin) has been open just over a month – yet already has amassed a faithful following, in part thanks to the fact that chefs and wait staff from Lai Yuen, a local institution that closed last year, are an integral part of the new restaurant.
The brainchild of partners David Annarummo and Arman D’Arcadio, the restaurant came about because the pair realized the gap in the culinary landscape of the community that had been created by Lai Yuen’s closing.
“We knew people loved Lai Yuen,” said Annarummo, who said that he and his partner had realized, “A lot of people in the neighborhood were looking for upscale Chinese food but there was none in the neighborhood.” Rather than seeing them head to the city when they craved it, they decided to fill the gap, opening this gorgeous jewel box of a restaurant, elegant and accessible at once, and with a full bar.
“We want them to stay here, not go outside Bay Ridge,” he stressed.
So far, the results have been exactly what the duo had hoped. “It’s amazing,” said Annarummo. “The customers from Lai Yuen are coming back. They say how much they missed Lai Yuen and you can see from their faces that they feel at home here. They have been coming in, in droves, and welcoming us with open arms.”
Lai Yuen fans will be delighted to see many of their favorite dishes on Xin’s menu, with new ones added to attract a new crowd, as well. In that respect, said Annarummo, the restaurant is offering up appetizers that are easily shared – to fit in with the current “small plate” trend. A group of diners can come in, he said, and order several appetizers and one main dish to share.
“Some of Lai Yuen’s signature dishes we do with a little twist,” explained Annarummo, “and we added some extra things we knew the neighborhood would like.”
We sampled Xin’s Bo Bo Platter ($18.95), which features two different kinds of ribs (boned and boneless), dumplings, huge battered shrimp, beef sate skewers and shrimp toast, the variety providing a balance of sweet and savory, as well as a variety of textures that distinguish themselves while complementing each other. Truly, it was enough for the two of us to share for dinner, but it was, in fact, just the beginning.
Before moving on to the main dish, we also enjoyed the Blackened Szechuan Beef Strips ($8.95), a nest of glistening, crunchy, caramelized beef shreds that were positively addictive. Soup came next – the Xin Wonton Special ($9.95), a flavorful broth brimming with good things including a variety of vegetables and chunks of chicken as well as the fat stuffed dumplings for which the soup is named.
For a main course, we shared Xin’s signature Grand Marnier Shrimp ($21.95), which Lai Yuen fans will remember from the old eatery. As presented at Xin, the extra-large crustaceans are generously battered and fried, then bathed in a sweet creamy sauce.
Then, there was dessert. We sampled two: the Xinful Cannoli Crumbles ($8) – deconstructed Cannoli with shards of crispy pastry served alongside a pair of cream fillings, one chocolate, one vanilla, both amazing — and the Mochi ($6), three neat little ice cream-filled rice cakes – one salted caramel, one green tea chip and one vanilla chip, and all cool and refreshing.
They were the perfect ending to a delightful meal, sending us on our way happy and very full.
8320 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209
Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight
Sunday, noon-10 p.m.
www.XINrestaurantandbar.com (under construction)
Free delivery in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights with $10 minimum order