Was it during the Ming Dynasty that the Orient Odyssey sign went up in Jericho? The much-anticipated Chinese restaurant, offshoot of The Orient in Bethpage, has been in the planning stages for more than a year. On Thursday the wait ends.
The day before the opening, partner Tommy Tan was making final adjustments to the spacious, modern dining room — the live fish have yet to arrive to populate the illuminated fish tank — and putting the kitchen staff through its paces. Tan, who has been a fixture at The Orient since it opened in 2002, will be on hand for the new restaurant’s launch but will leave the day-to-day management to Frank Mui, a veteran of Chinese restaurants in Flushing.
“Flushing-style Chinese” is what Tan says he is going for at the new restaurant. The head chef, who goes by the name Chen, is a native of Hong Kong, and his menu reflects that city’s urbane, Cantonese-influenced sensibility, as well as its emphasis on seafood.
Tan’s regular customers will recognize certain items on the dinner menu that are frequent specials at The Orient: crabmeat omelet ($10.95), braised scallops with black pepper sauce ($20.95), sauteed octopus and dried squid in XO sauce ($18.95), sauteed fish maw with egg white ($14.95) and bacon-raisin fried rice ($12.95).
The lunch menu features 16 “over rice dishes” — from fresh squid and black bean sauce to pan-fried ham and egg — that are all less than $8. Dim sum will be served from carts on weekends; many of the steamed dim sum items can be ordered a la carte during weekday lunch.
Tan confessed that he’s a little worried that his kitchen won’t have enough time to get up to speed before the crowds descend on the first couple of days.“ All my customers have been calling and calling,” he said. “But we need to start slow.”
Orient Odyssey is in Birchwood Plaza, 511 N. Broadway, Jericho, 516-719-0021.