• Friday, November 27, 2020
Best of NYC

Best of Indonesian Cuisine NYC

Wayan: One of the best new openings in NYC. Period.
July 3, 2019
By , Founder and Editor-in-chief

Good for: Date night, group dinners, foodie nights out and even solo dining if you are into good food and opt for a bar seat. Just be ready to take home a doggie bag because the key is to order variety. So, bring anyone you could enjoy a 2+ hour dinner with to help cover the bulk of the menu, which is very focused and selective.  They don’t try to do too much here (like those other Asian restaurants where the menus could be encyclopedias) – what they do here is thoughtful and highly executed.

Atmosphere: Set on a quintessential Nolita street that’s more about the touristy pizza spots and low-key fast casual fare, Wayan is a surprise from start to finish.  The vibe is bustling from the moment you walk into the bar, but progressively gets more sexy, intimate and chic as you proceed to the dining room. Dark wood, sizzle of the kitchen as you pass by or opt for one of the seats that overlook the chefs cooking, and the energy make you like it from first impression. The décor is Indonesian-inspired, and much like something that you would find in Ubud that trended on the more modern side.

Why we like it: We’ve seen what Cedric, son of Jean-Georges could do in classics like Perry Street, and we have to say this may be the best of the Vongerichten group.  Cedric’s first solo venture and one that he boldly embarked on with his Indonesian wife, Wayan has the trifecta of innovative and high on flavor dishes, excellent service, and great atmosphere. Even if you are not so into Asian food, Wayan is just excellent cooking. The menu is diverse: it takes classic Asian fare and puts a very distinct French and elevated culinary spin on each dish.  We liked the food so much that we would eat it at a hole-in-the-wall joint – but luckily, they provide much more comfortable digs.

What to order:  Dishes are small enough that you could easily do two, perhaps three small plates per person, plus an entrée each, and still have room for dessert.  The peeky toe crab is the more exotic and flavor-packed of dishes we’ve had at Perry Street, and you could easily double down on the Clams Jimbaran in coconut and onion. Also, the sashimi exemplifies the skills it takes to amp up the flavor of fish without taking away from its core flavor palate. We really liked the lobster noodle, and the corn fritters were an artistic, generously-portioned fried concoction of goodness.