No other restaurant opening of 2015 has been more anticipated than Orient Odyssey's. It's the new Jericho spot from Tommy Tan of The Orient in Hicksville.
Tan's fans speak reverently about the Chinese food he offers at the original, which is frequently a tasty but chaotic experience. And many may react the same way to Tan's fare in Jericho where, when the dining room isn't mobbed, can be pleasant enough.
The main advice: Pick carefully, consider specials, accept guidance, and you could join the chorus. Tan does present many of the more authentic, vibrant Chinese dishes in Nassau.
So, the expectations are understandably very high at Orient Odyssey. Based on three recent visits, however, the results don't always match them.
Orient Odyssey looks like a combination of old and new. Sleek, bright and contemporary, the dining room also suggests the purely functional, harshly lit style of earlier decades. You're not coming here for the decor and the mood.
You should, however, arrive for dim sum, which is served daily, and arrives via rolling carts on the weekend. For the full show, definitely visit on Saturday or Sunday.
And go with a small group. You'll be ordering many plates. The winners include refined, shrimp-filled noodles; roast pork turnovers and steamed pork buns; sticky rice in lotus leaf; crisp taro buns; delicate pork tripe with ginger; crystal shrimp dumplings; steamed chicken dumplings; and crunchy spring rolls.
If you're here for dinner, sample the subtle, sauteed, cubed flounder with chives. The combination of sauteed octopus and dried squid in a mild riff on XO sauce also is recommended. An appetizer of cold jellyfish sparked with chile sauce delivers crunch to go with the clean, zesty flavor.
Yet, the familiar minced chicken in lettuce wraps is underseasoned. Eggplant in garlic sauce makes up for it. Likewise, eggplant stuffed with shrimp in ginger-soy sauce. Crisp, fried chicken with roasted garlic is excellent. But the house's version of General Tso's chicken turns out much more sweet than spicy. There's plenty of heat in the red-tinted shrimp Sichuan casserole.
Salt-and-pepper calamari materializes almost limp. The salt-and-pepper "crispy" pork chop: mostly saline, thoroughly flaccid. Tender filet mignon with lotus and asparagus does improve the beef selections. On the side, pick lightly garlicky sauteed baby Chinese broccoli; pan-fried noodled or stir-fried noodles Hong Kong-style.
You may or may not receive dessert in advance of the check. For the record, the mango pudding trails the fortune cookies, which at least are optimistic.