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Restaurant Reviews: Wei Fun, East Hampton New York

BY RICHARD JAY SCHOLEM As seen in Long Island Pulse Magazine , syndicated with Publisher's Permission. Wei Fun in East Hampton has handed conventional Chinese classics to a talented American ...

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As seen in

Long Island Pulse Magazine

, syndicated with Publisher's Permission.

Wei Fun in East Hampton has handed conventional Chinese classics to a talented American chef with spectacular results. Dishes like wonton and hot and sour soup, barbecued spare ribs, chow fun and lo mein are better than ever as a result of the deft touch of Kevin Penner. He is well known to Hamptonites who previously sampled his food at Della Femina, the Star Room and 1770 House.

Sometimes all Mr. Penner does is eliminate the oiliness and greasiness so commonly encountered in garden variety dishes at Chinese storefront take-outs and restaurants. His crisp, crackly renditions let the flavors of the ingredients speak for themselves, unencumbered by any culinary distractions. His crunchy, feathery, triangular scallop puffs are Exhibit A. Meaty, tender barbecued spareribs arrive without the cloyingly sweet glaze associated with them elsewhere. That enables diners to taste the meat rather than the finish that often masks it.

Patrons who order the pork starter are treated to tea-smoked Berkshire pork, a superior ingredient that gives the dish a depth of flavor not available from run of the mill varieties. Only the black Mandarin fried rice with an impressive list of ingredients, but virtually no taste, was disappointing.

Before rattling off any additional individual dishes, a word or two about the sleek, sophisticated Wei Fun itself is in order. First, it's a white, bright, airy Hamptons-sharp spot that opened at the end of last summer. Its floor-to-ceiling glass doors lead to an outdoor patio surrounded by hedges and dotted with trees. Inside, massive wall-mounted gears that are reminiscent of antique Chinese coins dominate the stylish bleached wood and burnished steel room with its red tile covered pillars, bare tables and sound absorbent ceiling tiles.

Second, Wei Fun is Chinese, not Chinese-Japanese with a sushi bar, not Asian or Asian Fusion. It is unapologetically Chinese-Chinese, rather than trying to be a department store restaurant. ("Whatever you want, we've got.") And why not? Chinese food is the seminal Asian cuisine.

Other distinguished dishes sampled on a recent visit included a high-octane wonton soup, and an intense hot and sour brew. An entre fancifully dubbed "ants climbing tree" turned out to be a tangle of cellophane noodles laced with beef, scallions, ginger and chilies. Buttery roasted filet mignon festooned with peeled Chinese broccoli and oyster mushrooms was first-rate, and chengou pork with green beans was given a tasty kick by its fresh hot pepper and garlic. Best of all were the very crisp soft shell crabs with pea shoots paired with contrasting scallions and black bean sauce.

The smiling, anxious-to-please waitstaff needs a bit of fine-tuning. Dishes often were not delivered to the person who ordered them, courses sometimes came staccato style and the host's wine should be poured after his initial sip, and poured last not first as it was.

Western-style sweets with Chinese touches provided an appropriate finale. Try the warm almond cake with red bean paste and bananas, and the warm chocolate cake with kumquat.

Wei Fun

203 Pantigo Road
East Hampton, NY 11937


As seen in

Long Island Pulse Magazine

, syndicated with Publisher's Permission.

Long Island Pulse brings you the best of Long Island Restaurants, Entertainment & Lifestyles in a dynamic full color magazine. LI Pulse Magazine features reviews of Long Island's finest restaurants, articles and recipes from some of the culinary masters, things to do and "hot spots" across Long Island, New York. Copies of the magazine are available by subscription. Click here to get your

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