Restaurant Review: Watermoon

Offering terrific food, dramatic presentations, hip décor and a fashionable crowd, Water Moon comes close to dining perfection.


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Pan-Asian Passion

Offering terrific food, dramatic presentations, hip décor and a fashionable crowd, Water Moon comes close to dining perfection.

 

I wasn’t two steps past the entrance to Water Moon before a pretty blonde grabbed my sleeve to proclaim her delight at having a reservation at “the hottest new place in town.” It is, and for good reason. A diner could easily believe he or she was in some hot new boite in TriBeCa. The restaurant boasts a fashionable, upscale dining crowd; a squad of Asian chefs in baseball caps visible from the dining room at their stoves; background Reggae music; a sparse dining room and a menu spanning three dozen or more Pan-Asian and Asian-fusion dishes, dramatically served in the woks and straw baskets in which they had been prepared.

 

With all this glitz, it might be too much to expect the food to be good. But it’s not just good—it is terrific.

 

On multiple visits no one in my party tasted a dish that did not exceed expectations. We kept striking up conversations with people at adjacent tables who had been there during the opening week in January and had returned again and again.

 

Water Moon calls itself a Pan-Asian restaurant, featuring cuisines from Vietnam, Thailand, China, Indonesia and Malaysia as well as a few Japanese specialties. It also has some Asian fusion items (a term describing dishes from a different culture done in Asian style like duck fajitas.)

 

Concerned I might have been dazzled by the ambience on my initial visit, I returned with a friend I consider to be a connoisseur of Pan-Asian food. His rating agreed with mine; on a scale of 10 in which the best Pan Asian meal he’d ever had was a 9.5, Water Moon’s dishes rated a consistent 9.

 

On an early visit, another guest opted for the dim sum sampler, which featured pork, beef, vegetable and shrimp dumplings served with a trio of dipping sauces. I had the Vietnamese summer rolls stuffed with shrimp in a mild mango sauce, which I found a refreshing change from bland Chinese spring rolls; served un-fried, their contents were fresh. On another occasion, we chose an appetizer of Thai crab cakes, topped with tiny flecks of cucumber, which had been marinated in a piquant sauce. They turned out to be the highlight of the meal.

 

For my money, the best dish on the menu was a wok of stir-fried chicken and shrimp with hard-to-find sichuan peppercorns, but others raved about the crispy duck and beef chow fun. The menu also offers items you wouldn’t expect to get in a traditional Chinese-American restaurant, like after-dinner coffee and desserts like lemon tarts, but actually, these are common in Thai and Vietnamese restaurants in Asia.

 

Water Moon gets its name from the idea—and ideal—of the reflection of a full moon on water as a symbol of perfection. Unfortunately, it missed the “perfect” mark slightly. While exotically flavored rices are staples of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, Water Moon offered bland white, brown and fried rice dishes typical of Chinese takeout shops. Still, it was a relatively small miss in an otherwise sublime dining experience.

 

WATERMOON

66 Purchase St., Rye

(914) 921-6652

(914) 921-2852

 

HOURS:  

Lunch,

Mon. to Thurs. 11:30 am-3:30 pm,

Fri. and Sat. 11:30 am-3 pm,

Sun. 11:30 am-3:30 pm

Dinner,

Sun. to Thurs 3:20-10 pm,

Fri. and Sat. 3:30-11 pm

 

PRICES:

Appetizers: $7-$14

Entrees: $10-$21

Desserts: $8

 

 

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