182 N 10th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Our Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Great
Cards: All major
Hours: Sun-Thu, noon-10pm; Fri-Sat, noon-11pm
Booze: Beer and wine
Subway: L to Bedford
Menu: Click Here
Grub Street says:
Edric Har, chef and owner at the Brooklyn Wok Shop in Williamsburg, says the aftermath of the dot-com bubble led him to trade his day-job suit and tie for chef’s whites and clogs ten years ago. After stints at Cru, Veritas, Le Bernardin, and as a private chef, Har and his wife, Melissa, decided to “create something more personal” and went back to the drawing board. Hence, Brooklyn Wok Shop, a concept that grew out of a late-night Chinese-food hankering in the couple’s North Williamsburg neighborhood.
Because healthy food and takeout are, for the most part, mutually exclusive, the Hars began to work on a menu of standards incorporating hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, as well as stocks and sauces made from real bones and scratch, not powders and bases. The result is a pared-down menu of snacks (buns and wings), soups (wonton, short ribs), and Cantonese staples like General Tso’s and orange beef, all made with better ingredients.
It is a mix of traditions and tweaks: Melissa’s family owns Chinese restaurants in Orlando; her father even traveled north to help out on the line during Brooklyn Wok Shop’s first week. Edric, who grew up downtown, braises chicken for the noodle soup in soy sauce like his mother once taught him, and the egg noodles are made fresh at the restaurant. Har prefers to use Escoffier-era black steel sauté pans instead of actual woks, and other French touches abound — notably the flaky, fluted crust used for Har’s take on Chinese egg custard.
There are plenty of crappy Chinese takeout joints in Williamsburg, and a small handful of slightly higher-end Asian joints (M Shanghai and Samurai Mama come to mind), but overall, the area is seriously lacking in quality Chinese food. That’s where the newly-opened Brooklyn Wok Shop steps in.
Run by a husband-and-wife team who live in the neighborhood, BWS serves noodle soups with house-made noodles and broth; small dishes including fried chicken wings with a cinnamon-soy glaze, and entrees like orange-spiced hangar steak and chicken with broccoli topped with a fried egg. Owner Melissa Har told us that she and husband Edric source all of their hormone and antibiotic-free meat from Pino’s Prime Meats in Soho, and their goal is to “upgrade Chinese food a little. It’s not your typical takeout.”
Edric is a ten-year veteran of some of the city’s finest dining establishments, including working the lines at Veritas, Cru and Le Bernadin, and Melissa’s family owns several Chinese restaurants in Florida. The couple calls their Cantonese-influenced fare “Chinese food 2.0.” Right now, the restaurant is in soft-open mode, so they’re only open for dinner (6 to 10 p.m. daily), complete with a wine and beer license, though Melissa told us they hope to launch a dim sum brunch in January.