Sweet-and-sour pork belly at JIA in Port Washington.

Sweet-and-sour pork belly at JIA in Port Washington. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

If you needed more proof that Chinese cuisine is taking a great leap forward on Long island, look no further than JIA, which has just opened in Port Washington. The kitchen’s artistry, the dining room’s décor and the menu’s prices are more in line with fine dining than combination platters or takeout.

JIA is the latest venture from Rivers and Hills, a hospitality group run by Doron Wong and Erika Chou that operates six New York City restaurants whose cuisines range from Japanese-Italian (Kimika) and Thai (Wayla) to burgers (Bronson’s Burgers).

In the case of JIA, much of the inspiration came from chef Kand Hu, formerly in the kitchen at RedFarm, Manhattan’s modern Cantonese restaurant. Wong, who was raised and trained in Boston, also grew up with Cantonese food — his mother was from Hong Kong, his father from Guangzhou (formerly Canton).

Most of Long Island’s new authentic Chinese restaurants focus on the cuisines of Sichuan or the country’s northern regions. JIA’s mostly Cantonese menu will seem much more familiar to Americans since it is Cantonese cuisine that forms the basis of so much Chinese-American food: Here are the dumplings that won our hearts, the stir-fried lobster, the steamed whole fish, the sweet and sour pork.

Tea-smoked duck at JIA in Port Washington.

Tea-smoked duck at JIA in Port Washington. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Cantonese food is prepared with skill: Crystal shrimp dumplings, packed with shrimp and fresh bamboo shoots, are tinted pink and brushed with gold; soup dumplings (a specialty of Shanghai) are handmade to order — evident in their gossamer but supple skins — and crowned with sweet-tart goji berries; tea-smoked chicken is made with Bo Bo Farms heritage poultry; the fish of the day might be local black sea bass; seafood fried rice is made with lump crabmeat, jumbo shrimp, bay scallops and squid.

You can start your meal with Kumamoto oysters with uni, caviar and yuzu or yellowfin tuna sashimi. Tea is made with whole leaves and, until the liquor license arrives, , there are five “spirit-free” cocktails to whet your whistle.

The stout little building on Old Shore Road had most recently been Harbor Q Barbeque & Smokehouse. The interior is all blond wood, windows, skylights and contemporary light fixtures. Most starters are less than $15, most mains around $30 — less for noodles and rice dishes, more for Peking duck or lobster.

The interior of JIA in Port Washington is airy and...

The interior of JIA in Port Washington is airy and minimalist. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

“My entire career I’ve faced the problem of price resistance to Asian food,” Wong said. “But we use great products, we prepare them with great skill. And we’ve tried to create an environment where people will want to really dine.”

Wong himself lives in Nassau County. (He is a great fan of Hicksville’s elegant, new O Mandarin.) He knows that during the pandemic, a lot of young families moved from the city to Port Washington and, he believes, “they are looking for something like JIA.”

JIA is at 84 Old Shore Rd., Port Washington, 516-488-4801, jia-dimsum.com.

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