Vegetable and Chive Dumplings (4 for $8)
Corn, jicama, and yellow chives make for a light and crunchy mix inside delightfully stretchy translucent green wrappers.
Shrimp Stuffed Jalapeño Poppers (part of Appetizer sampler)
A variant on the classic Cantonese dish of hot pepper stuffed with shrimp, Red Farm's version is battered and deep fried, served with a tart salsa.
Smoked Cucumbers ($6 for full sized portion, sampler sized portion pictured)
Crisp and refreshing, yet rich and smoky at the same time, they make perfect drinking partners.
Kung Pao Chicken & Scallion Dumplings (6 for $12)
When Joe Ng says "Kung Pao," he's not talking of the fiery, vinegary, Sichuan pepper-laced Chinese original, but the version you'd find at, say, at the Ollie's chain on the Upper West Side—mildly sweet and spicy with toasted peanuts and diced bell peppers. Totally different, but totally delicious, once again it's the perfectly textured dumplings that steal the show.
Kowloon Filet Mignon Tart (2 for $8.50)
An extraordinarily tender bite of tender sweet soy-glazed beef on a miso-filled tart shell with slivers of blanched asparagus and sweet pickled ginger. You'll want to eat the whole thing in one bite.
Smoked Salmon & Eggplant 'Bruschetta' (2 for $8)
Possibly the best appetizer in a lineup of standouts. Smoked salmon and American caviar mixed with creamy avocado and spooned on top of a faultlessly fried disk of crisp eggplant. I challenge anyone to find a more capable fry cook in this city.
Crispy Duck & Crab Dumplings (4 for $12)
The sole disappointment in the dumpling category; the presentation was cute, with the dumplings wrapped directly around the shell of a crab claw, but after deep frying and dipping in the curry sauce, damned if we could tell that the meat in there was duck and crab.
Skewered Shrimp, Mushroom & Watercress Dumplings (4 for $10)
The procession keeps coming. This time it's more shrimp bound with watercress on a skewer of fried dumplings with a sweet and spicy glaze.
BBQ'd 'Black Food' Berkshire Pork Belly ($12)
If you've been looking for a good place in the city to get the American equivalent of moo yang, the Thai dish of glazed grilled pork neck, you will find none better. Sweet and savory, fatty and tender, it pairs the smoky char of the grill with a hint of kaffir lime and soy along with hot Thai bird peppers and wolfberries. After you finish your pork (don't blink, it'll happen fast), you find that the slices of portobello mushroom underneath have been dutifully absorbing all of the juices, making them every bit as meaty and delicious. This is a real standout.
Sautéed Black Cod with Yellow Leeks ($29)
Tender, moist hunks of black cod in a sweet glaze with snow peas, yellow leek, radish, and a mix of roasted mushrooms (could this be the world's first stir-fry featuring chanterelles?), it's not quite clear what the XO-ish sauce of dried scallop and peppers on the side is for. Dipping? Drizzling?
As a composed plate, this would have been wonderful: a whole piece of cod, sauced with the dried shrimp and chili, mushrooms and vegetables on the plate. As a stir fry, we don't quite get how it's all supposed to come together.
Wide Rice Noodles with Shredded Roast Duck & Pickled Mustard Greens ($16)
Take your classic dry-style beef chow fun, sub out the beef for shredded duck and add a touch of preserved mustard greens and you've got a noodle dish to reckon with. The stir-frying here is much more accomplished than with the chicken, giving you plenty of smoky wok hei, though we could have used a bit more salt. (Or maybe we just miss the MSG?)
Sautéed Snow Pea Leaves, Fresh Waterchestnuts, Garlic ($14)
Emerald green and snappy snow pea leaves with a subdued garlic flavor. The fresh water chestnuts have the moist crispness of jicama and an underlying sweetness that you don't get from the typical canned version.