If you’ve made it your mission to ring in—or ram in, get it?—the Chinese New Year, look no further than masterchef Margaret Kuo and her limited-edition tastings.
At each of her four regional restaurants (in Wayne, Media and Malvern and at the Granite Run Mall), the award-winning chef presents location-specific seven- and eight-course feasts that celebrate the authentic flavors of the lunar new year.
During a recent visit to Margaret Kuo’s Wayne location, we championed the lavish feat—one speckled with luscious bites of Peking duck, lobster, filet mignon and so much more. Our guided tasting, led by Margaret’s incredibly hospitable husband Warren, was elegant, opulent and jam-packed with flavor.
The tasting menu begins with a vibrant plate of signature small bites, from fall-off-the-bone sesame ribs to crunchy lotus root and asparagus spears and even an intriguing sea scallop engulfed in a crystallized shell. Course-by-course, the dinner exceeded our expectations, with the decadent Peking duck square sandwiched in a steamed lotus bun with hoisin taking our breath away and silencing the dinner crowd. Margaret breezed through as we were nibbling away, revealing that the duck is a complicated dish requiring a significant amount of meat to craft a single square. Her expert attention to detail just made us love it more—and request that it become a permanent part of the Wayne menu (hint, hint).
Since fish symbolizes long life and good fortune, you can expect the Kuos’ tasting menu to overflow with dishes symbolic of luck. After indulging in buttery lobster crowning garlicky mung bean vermicelli, a beautiful rendition of Shanghai-style steamed whole fish, Cheng-du flounder filet with a delightfully pungent sauce and delicate Taiwanese wedding soup loaded with fish balls, we suspect year 4713 will be prosperous if Margaret Kuo’s had anything to do with it.
A series of heartier, dignified courses followed the seafood parade, like the perfectly prepared filet mignon drenched in a tangy red wine reduction. Of course, we recommend you save room for dessert—which may be a challenge (and that’s coming from the pros here)—especially for the traditional sweet rice pudding. With just one bite, we gained a second wind and spooned our way through until there was, sadly, none left.
Inspired now to experience Margaret’s expert tasting for yourself? If your answer is yes—and we’re sure it is—consider booking a reservation through March 8. Margaret Kuo’s Year of the Ram dinner is available at $65 per person in Wayne ($95 with wine pairings). All area-wide Margaret Kuo locations, including those in Media and at Malvern’s Margaret Kuo’s Mandarin, will also feature the New Year’s dinner through March 8, with menus and prices that vary. Margaret Kuo’s Peking in the Granite Run Mall will feature the tasting until Feb. 28.