Macao Trading Co – Colonialism Made Good
This. place. is. awesome.
It is a trendy, totally scene-y, overwhelmingly gorgeous, New York hotspot that actually has delicious eats. Macao Trading Company opened with a splash, enjoying good press in all magazines and newspapers with word of its awesome-ness passing quicky through the grapevine.
I will spend an inordinate amount of time on the scene because that is really the reason to go here. To begin with, there is no sign. A single red lantern hangs outside its big black door on a quiet street off of Canal in Tribeca. A doorman begrudgingly lets you in. As soon as you’re inside, you’re hit with noise, a buzz. The bar area upfront is always packed as the bartenders take their time preparing the noxiously delicious drinks. Couples and small groups crowd around small menus, discussing enthousiastically which concoction to sample next. My personal recommendation? The Dragon’s Milk.
It is just dark enough with a flickering red sheen that everyone looks slinky and seductive, even the most dowdy patron (though, in truth, those are rarely seen in such a place…) shimmers. I could only complain that the bartenders were too friendly and the lighting too low and the drinks too tasty – if you call that complaining…
The back room is magical, in short. It’s as though you’ve stepped onto a nineteenth-century pirate ship patroling the inlets of Macao. A wraparound deck that serves as a second story to the restaurant has old chests, swinging vintage lanterns, fishing netting, and hordes of small trinkets from the colonial past of Macao. The upscale Pirates-of-the-Caribbean theme is charming without being kitschy.
The food is unique and exquisite. The menu is divided in two – Portuguese cuisine and Chinese cuisine, to reflect the dual culture of Macao. My boyfriend, John, and I went for a mix of the two cuisines, haphazardly choosing everything that sounded delicious. We had the shrimp, in both Portuguese and Chinese style, the fried goat cheese, the chicken dumplings, Ants Climbing the Tree, and prawns sauteed with chili peppers. All dishes were well-seasoned, with little and intense bursts of flavor, and very tasty. I just wish they doled out more food! The portions were unfortunately small.
Since I went, they have opened a bar downstairs in the basement to allow for more revelers to enjoy their cocktails – I have yet to scope out this scene!
If you’re looking for something with a little mystery and pizazz, check out Macao – it is sure to wow!