03/28/2011 10:36 am ET Updated May 28, 2011

Walle: Chinese-American food in Midtown


China and America may never fully understand each other, but bridging that gap are certain commonalities, like our positions as economic superpowers, and never cheating at sports, ever. For a restaurant bridging the gap on its own, hit Walle.

Started by the Chin-Chin dude (who recruited a Monkey Bar alum chef), this new midtown spot's focusing on "Evolutionary Chinese Cooking" in dimly lit digs with a downtown-ish vibe, evinced via a lounge with black textured walls and red backed chairs, and a curtained-off main dining room that sports a raised nook rimmed with backlit booths, who look far more foreboding the closer they get to Lincoln Center. Sin-fluenced small plates kick things off, from lobster-stuffed dumplings, black pepper scallops, and tuna tartare, to liquid foie bao buns, baby egg rolls w/ roast Berkshire pork & bacon, and salt and pepper rock shrimp, a reasonable compromise considering rock lobster would probably B-52 dollars. Larger plates pimping the fusion include a Walle Burger in a Shanghai pancake bun; pan-seared fluke w/ king crab & pork chili; a Creekstone Farms beef trio that includes slow-roasted short rib, filet mignon, and marrow; and mac-and-bleu-cheese-sided Sweet Chili Baby Back Ribs, a phrase nobody eating there has ever actually uttered.

And to keep things varied there's a Blue Plate BBQ rice program, with options ranging from Shanghai pork belly, to Chinese sausage, to beef and broccoli, also a fair description of how we relate to the Chinese regarding sports...and broccoli.