ChefGuo is the eponymous Manhattan debut of Chinese Master Chef Guo Wenjun, who began his culinary training at the tender age of 14 under the mentorship of Chinese Master Chef Ding Guangzhou, a seventh-generation disciple in the line of royal chefs, in the discipline of Chinese Imperial Cuisine. In his forty-year career, Chef Guo has held posts as Executive Chef at the Platinum Seven-Star Beijing Palace International Hotel, the Diaoyutai Garden Villa International Club, been recognized by China as an Elite Master of the Chinese Culinary Arts and won the Gold Medal at the Asia Cuisine Competition.
Chef Guo’s New York debut will showcase his proprietary culinary system that has been recognized by the Chinese Government and his unique brand of cuisine, combining Chinese Imperial cooking and Classic Western cuisine to create his Healthy Royal Cuisine Culinary System. The dishes are made with healthy, organic, and green ingredients, emphasizing a nutritional value and a balanced meal. The food is prepared simply to allow the flavors of the high-quality ingredients to speak for themselves. His cuisine is served in the form of a nineteen-course tasting menu, that includes 15 savory courses, three tea courses, and a dessert.
The dining experience at CHEF GUO extends well beyond the senses to tell a story, as each aspect of the restaurant is designed to transport diners to the chef’s own imperial court. The ornate, Zen dining room features a faux gingko tree, Chinese like the Chinese Bian Zhong (Bronze Chime Bell), an ancient instrument from 2500 years ago, stone horse pillars standing the entrance to welcome guests, and white glove service to complete the experience. The dimly lit intimate dining room softly plays Chinese classical music allowing diners to focus on the intricate dishes before them without distraction.
Diners arrive at their table to find an elegant hand painted charger plates covered by 24-karat gold accented porcelain serving cloches and four individually plated Cold Hors d’oeuvre, which represent life’s four flavors, Sour, black beans and vinegar; Sweet, sweet sliced yam drizzled with a sweet sauce; Bitter, cubed bitter gourd; and Spicy, spicy fried anchovies; designed to be eaten throughout the meal to stimulate the appetite and allow guests to effectively taste the flavors in each dish.
White Pekoe Silver Needle Tea is served as a pre-meal beverage to cleanse the diner’s palate and prepare them for the meal then the cloches are raised to reveal the first course, The Butterfly Falls in Love with the Flower. Arranged as an impressionist painting of butterflies flying over a garden, the dish is composed of dozens of natural ingredients. It is designed and eaten from the bottom to the top and right to left to allow guests to experience the unique flavor of each ingredient.
Magic Elixir and Fruit of Longevity, presented in an eggshell in a golden antique holder. This dish is made of flat peach gum that is harvested from wild Chinese peach trees, which resembles amber and shines like crystals. Peaches are a symbol of longevity in China and are said to invigorate blood circulation, enhance vital energies, and increase immunity.
Big Red Robe Tea, a special type of oolong tea with an obvious essence of rock teas, the same tea that was served to President Richard Nixon on his visit to China in 1972. It allows diners to cleanse their pallet and evaluate the dishes to come. The tea is served from antique ceramic kettles and remains at the diner’s disposal until the final tea course is served.
Taiji Black Truffle, chicken and beef soup that are rendered for two days and swirl into a yin-yang symbol in the bowl to symbolize balance, which relates to Chef Guo’s philosophy that each dish should be balanced and healthy. Freshly shaved truffles grace the top of the soup, providing an aromatic scent and rich but not overpowering flavor.
Fried Foie Gras Au Jus served in a modernist iron bird cage. The foie gras is pan fried to eliminate the excess fat but maintain its fragrance, with an exterior crispiness and tender middle. The plate is garnished with Money Grass to represent health and fortune.
Mustard Greens, Black Rice, and Premium Lobster Tails, uses wild-caught Australian lobster tails as their warm water home gives them a firmer texture, served with a slightly spicy mustard green sauce that emphasizes the natural flavor of the lobster and black rice cooked with Ya Cai, a pickled mustard green from the Sichuan province.
Hundred Happinesses and Eight Treasures in a Bean Curd Pouch, is served in a Thai rosewood jewelry box lined with 101 different versions of the Chinese character “FU”, which means happiness. Inside the box is a money pouch made of bean curd filled with eight different foods, symbolizing wealth, and wishing the diner happiness and prosperity.
Authentic and Traditional Wagyu Beef, seasoned only with a minimal amount of salt to ensure the beef retains its original flavor. The tender cut is perfectly cooked as to melt in the diner’s mouth.
Flame Smoked Duck Breast, high quality duck breast smoked over an open fire with stones.
Sea Bass with Fried Noodle, a modified version of the famous Chinese baked carp. It is marinated for 8 hours and garnished with crispy house-made dragon beard noodles and flavored with sweet and sour seasonings.
Braised Morels with Double Mushrooms, a mushroom pairing of morels and lingzhi mushrooms, the latter traditionally used in Chinese medicine. Morels are some of the most precious ingredients in Chinese cuisine and were given as tribute to several dynasties of emperors. The mushrooms have large amounts of nutrients and can enhance immunity.
Chef Guo Signature Pork Chops, Chef Guo created this classic combining Chinese-Western dish during a cooking-related cultural exchange with French chefs, and it won the Special Golden Award from the Association International de la Gastronomie Chinoise. This dish uses Chinese pickles instead of salt to emphasize the natural flavor of the pork. The chop is fried, giving it a golden luster with a crisp taste as well as a crunchy exterior and tender interior. It is served in a simple tomato sauce and with a house made chocolate pocky stick that melts on the dish, adding a sweet flavor and aroma that complete the dish.
Tofu with Caviar, caviar, one of the world’s ‘three main culinary treasures’ is served over tofu cooked at a low temperature for 8 hours to give it a sweet flavor in a scallion sauce.
Chef Guo Signature Noodles with Black Bean Sauce is an elegant swirl of house made noodles based in black bean sauce on a secret recipe passed down from the imperial palace of the late Qing dynasty’s House of Aisin-Gioro.
Tricolor Sea Swallow, composed of one of the world’s most precious ingredients, known as the sea swallow. The cartilaginous fish lives more than 4,000 meters below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, and it has a high nutritional value. The fish bone is dried then rehydrated to create a gelatin and is served in a glass dish, first with papaya added to create a flavor base then kiwi is mixed in, followed by yogurt. After each ingredient is mixed in, the diner samples the flavors to truly understand the metamorphosis.
Golden Orange Sitting on a Swing is the dessert course. Rather than serve pastries, Chef Guo serves fruit for dessert as is customary in China as it helps to digest from the large meal. The fruit platter is composed of Florida Oranges and Red Delicious Apples.
The final course is Pu’er Tea, produced in China’s Yunnan Province, which is protected by geographical indications, and is made using a specified fermentation technique. It is a ripe tea that has been naturally grown for more than 100 years on an ancient tea tree. Pu’er is orange, yellow, and thick, and has a strong and unique aroma with a dense taste. Guests are encouraged to smell the tea before drinking to experience the full flavor profile.
The restaurant will debut with a seven-wine pairing by Max Tierno (Corkbuzz, Eleven Madison Park, La Devozione) that includes such selections as Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon, Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay, and R. Geoffroy Expression Champagne.
135 East 50th Street.Tuesday-Sunday: Seating at 5:30pm and 8:30pm (212) 886-9888