Edric Har, chef and owner at the new 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 saute pans instead of actual woks, and other French touches abound notably the flaky, fluted crust used for Har's take on Chinese egg custard.
The counter-service restaurant is currently open only for dinner, but will open for lunch (and delivery) next month. The Hars say they plan to also start dim sum weekend brunch service in early 2012.
Opening Menu [PDF]
Brooklyn Wok Shop, 182 N. 10th St., nr. Driggs Ave.; 347-889-7992