Italian restaurant Savona is out. Chinese restaurant Wuji is in. Scarsdale diners might miss the former tenant on the corner of Chase and Popham Roads, but Wuji is a worthy replacement.
Wuji is where grown-ups can feed their Chinese cravings in a classy setting. The space is modern and beautiful; the dishes , fresh and semi-guilt free.
The restaurant, owned and operated by MAAC Hospitality Group, has been six years in the making. Wuji strives for Chinese authenticity in everything from the décor in the dining area to the staff in the kitchen, where Executive Chef Guang Zanghou of Hong Kong is at the helm. He and his team use organic, sustainable, MSG-free ingredients.
But it is still Chinese cuisine with an American accent. Jody Pennette, part of the MAAC team, says he has trained the staff (sometimes using a translator) to make food that will appeal to the American palate.
Out front, a comfy outdoor lounge and red delivery bikes – they’re functional as well as decorative – welcome you to Wuji. Only bring a companion (or two) who likes to share as it will be hard to choose just one entrée or resist stealing a dumpling from across the table.
If you want to try something new, go for the bao bao buns – they’re stick and doughy on the outside with sweet and sour pork on the inside. The standard apps like tender spare ribs, steamed shrimp and chive dumplings and organic vegetable dumplings served in a bamboo basket are still worth ordering.
The drink list is a mix of signature cocktails, wines and Chinese beers. Some of the cocktails are on the sweet side, save for the Singapore Sling, which has gin, cherry, pineapple juice and Benedictine – a hard-to-place liqueur that delivers a floral kick.
The “classics” are recognizable, but they aren’t boring. Pennette says he didn’t bother putting chicken and broccoli on the menu, because it has no “mojo.” Instead there’s classic Peking duck served mu-shu style, tangerine beef with tangy citrus and Shanghai bok choy and Chef Joe’s Dragon Chicken with red chilis and sugar peas.
As for sides, the cool peanut sesame noodles were a standout with a tasty but mild sauce and fresh cucumber bites. Other sides include variations of fried rice and noodle dishes that also did not disappoint.
Look for Sunday dim sum soon as well as a dessert menu. (Meanwhile, console yourself with Wuji’s sugar and blueberry corn cookies, courtesy of Manhattan’s popular Momofuku Milk Bar.) More locations are slated to open in Larchmont in the next few weeks and in Westport by the end of the year.
Pennette says Wuji’s design style is clean and elegant without TVs because “the food should be the opiate.”
Still, if you want to eat fine food in the comfort of your own home, Wuji gets it. The restaurant offers takeout and delivery – in custom-insulated carrier cases no less.
Wuji is at 2 Chase Road. For more, call 914-713-8811 or visit wujirestaurant.com.
─ Story and photographs by Danielle Brody
Editor’s note: Danielle B. enjoys some retail therapy while dining at ABC Kitchen in WAG’s September “Passion for Fashion” issue, then gets an “Infusion” of compassion at the charitably minded eatery in Pelham for our October “Compassion” issue. For more from our Gourmet Goddess, visit wagmag.com.