Old Hollywood Glam, Big Apple Style

Old Hollywood Glam, Big Apple Style

Macao Trading Co. (Courtesy Macao Trading Co.)

The scene’s like a 1930s Hollywood movie, set in the Mysterious Orient: Within the woody, warehouse-like premises—note the burlap-covered walls and the chicken wire lining the furnishings-filled balcony—you envision a down-on-her-luck Jean Harlow to rendezvous with a cynical (but secretly sentimental) Clark Gable at a marble-topped, candlelit table, while glamorous Anna May Wong glowers in the background.

We have come to this scruffy-chic, dimly lit homage to Old Macao (until 1999, a Portuguese colony within China) to feast on the fare created by its new executive chef Erica Ohrling, late of Vinegar Hill House and Waverly Inn. Rather than do any fusiony mash-ups, Ohrling juxtaposes dishes of East and West, with appetizers like chicken/pork belly dumplings and charred octopus, and such entrees as lobster noodles and steamed halibut with chimichurri, happily co-existing on her menu. But there is some crossover between Chinese and Portuguese cuisines, too: a lamb shank braised with Sichuan spices and mint leaves and adorned with bok choy; raw oysters served with an addictive green apple and tiger’s milk mignonette. A classic Asian dessert of coconut shaved ice over fruit and black sesame paste goes beautifully with a glass of Prosecco.

Speaking of drinks: Behind the curved, scuffed-wood bar, glittering with bottles and glasses, a cornucopia of original cocktails are shaken, stirred and mixed up. Bearing delightful ingredients, from pureed melon to sassafras syrup, and even more delightful names, like Bashful Maiden to Drunken Dragon’s Milk, they pack a potent punch—and offer an ideal way to toast your trip to an imaginary trading post.

>> Macao Trading Co., 113 Church St., 212.431.8750