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NYT Critic Pete Wells Gives Beijing Import DaDong Zero Stars

It’s a goose egg for the famed Peking duck restaurant

Peking duck at DaDong Photo by Gary He

Beijing-based DaDong is considered by many to serve some of the best Peking duck in that city. In fact, some locations of the high-end chain, which has locations throughout China, have one Michelin star. But, the new New York City outpost earns no stars from New York Times critic Pete Wells, who dropped a goose egg on the much-hyped restaurant today.

DaDong opened in New York in December. After news that chef-owner Dong Zhenxiang would be opening the first DaDong outside of China, eager New York diners snagged 2,500 reservations within the first two hours they became available, booking the restaurant through February. But, when Wells dined there, the duck — DaDong’s star menu item — “made very little impression at all.”

Wells writes in his zero-star review that although the Peking duck skin was crisp, “Slowly, gradually, with great mental resistance but still inexorably, it dawned on me that I had paid $98 for a duck with almost no flavor.” He adds, “It was dry, too.”

The menu overall, which is more concise than the one served in Beijing, is “rife with dishes that are dead on arrival.” And although Wells approves of the presentation of many of the dishes, they only occasionally live up to their appearances.

Although it’s not the New York Times critic’s most scathing review — desserts and the wine list were high points — Wells couldn’t give a Peking duck restaurant with flavorless Peking duck more than a “satisfactory” zero stars, despite its stars elsewhere.

At DaDong in Midtown, Modern Art and Lame Duck [NYT]

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