SmSh tries out Together the new French-Korean restaurant from Bina Yu as well as the new location of Sichuan Citizen. Dig in.
What It Is:
Only a few weeks out of the gate, we’ve been hearing lots of positive buzz about Together, a “French-Asian” casual fine dining restaurant anchored around the talents of chef Bina Yu, who was formerly at very decent Korean restaurant Chi-Q.
Interiors are split into a couple dining spaces, with bar-top seating facing an open kitchen, a general dining area, and a private dining table facing the neighborhood activity on Yuyuan Lu. It’s cool, slick, and minimal. Dressed up and stylish, but still approachable. The main dining areas is brick everything, even the floor, with the open kitchen area offering a softer wood pallet.
The menu is sharing plates, of course, everything is these days, with a section of hot and cold starters (50rmb - 140rmb); and meat and seafood mains (150rmb - 400rmb).
Australian wagyu beef tartar, egg yoke, kimchi, garlic bread crisp - 138
octopus, gochujang, crunchy crumbs, aioli - 118rmb
cauliflower - 48rmb
endives and radicchio - 48rmb
fine herbs roasted chicken with tamarind sauce - 138 (half) / 268rmb (whole)
pan seared snapper with basil-shallot oil and kumquats - 148rmb (half) / 288rmb (whole)
the elixir - gin, fresh ginger, agave nectar, fresh lemon juice, fresh carrot juice - 88rmb
Desserts - 38rmb single ice cream / sorbet scoops; pastry selections from the dessert table - 35rmb each
We’re definitely in the midst of a dining trend this year in Shanghai, with the proliferation of these casual fine dining, sharable plates, young, chef-driven restaurants. Feels like that last six or seven places we’ve discussed in this column fall into that rubric. Young chefs and their hip-but-causal restaurants, what is that? A California thing, maybe? It’s a Shanghai thing now.
Together exemplifies some of the best qualities of the genre but also some of the faults we’ve also experienced in other places around town. When it’s good it’s great — offering, as it does, intermittantly, dishes that embody a unique point of view from a talented young culinary artists. Bedrock French cuisine with some interesting Korean flourishes. On the other hand, it’s a little hit-and-miss. The good stuff is really good (the octopus, the cauliflower) and the average stuff is… really average (the chicken).
Still, we’re nothing but supportive of locally-developed talent as it forges new, original paths in the city and works to create a unique food culture and dynamism in Shanghai. Go to Together now because it’s decent. We’re looking forward to seeing it improve as they hone the menu during this soft opening period and the young chef comes into her own.
(Yeah, the ice cream is really good as well.)
I'm also happy they didn't spell the name 2gether. Which would have been tragedy.
And also... Here's Sichuan Citizen's New Location
After the sudden shutdown of its original Donghu location, approachable laowai-friendly Sichuan Citizen took their basil drops and moved about fifteen minutes west to Ferguson Lane. The original spot has been turned into a distressingly similar copycat. But now occupying the second floor at 378 Wukang Lu, it's the Sichuan Citizen we're familiar with, plus a couple of welcome changes.
For one, it's brighter. For two, it has a balcony. For three, it feels roomier. It's bigger and the tables are further apart. It's still red, "exotic," and they kept the palm fans. Menu's basically the same, recategorized it into New Style, Signature and Classic dishes, and with an added thing or two.
Basilico Drop - vodka, fresh basil, pineapple juice, coffee & sugar
Love It - vodka, red berries puree, lemon juice, basil syrup, ginger beer.
Sazerac (70rmb) - classic not on the menu but worth ordering.
Biggest change is the addition of a proper bar. Said bar (separately named Bar Basil though it's in the same space) slings about a dozen cocktails designed by Dario Gentile (once Otto e Mezzo, now Milan). Basil, citrus and berries feature heavily, very summery and refreshing. Of the four-five we tried, pretty good. Also, 60rmb. Definite recommendation is the Basilico Drop, which is like the familiar Basil Drop, except with a margarita rim of crushed sugar and coffee grounds. It's great. Not sure how good eating coffee grounds is for you, but it's a fun enough twist to their signature drink I'm willing to ignore the consequences.
So yeah, Sichuan Citizen is back, having barely been gone, and it's got a righteous expansion to its bar. Go eat and/or drink there!