Sunda | River North | Asian | Restaurant
"New Asian" from Billy Dec's Rockit Ranch Productions.

Our Review

During the preopening hype for Sunda, the pan-Asian—excuse me, "New Asian"—preening ground from Billy Dec’s Rockit Ranch Productions, the company issued a full-color vacation album of the Party Baron’s Big Adventure in Asia, featuring him nibbling scorpion sticks and chillaxin’ on the Great Wall with best bud Ross Geller. Dec evidently fancies himself Bourdain in a ballcap. But is the food as robust as Dec’s continent-size ego? There's a wide range of dishes both daring and ridiculous sounding, including sushi, noodles, dim sum, and grilled meats as well as big-ticket entrees, or "main flavors." Raw fish seemed fresh enough and stood on its own merits even when up against seemingly insurmountable overmanipulation like the triple attack of fresh wasabi, wasabi tobiko, and wasabi aioli in a hamachi roll. Same went for the escolar nigiri garnished with potato chips and mild truffle shavings. But some combinations were just plain wrongheaded—an amuse of noodles and ground beef, almost like Bolognese, was the antithesis of something intended to wake the palate. A so-called salad of soft "burnt" watermelon and jerkylike unagi bacon was a total textural mismatch, and the braised oxtail pot stickers in a "white wasabi cream" gave the lie to Dec’s claim that there’s no fusion in this joint.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$
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