2-Star Restaurant Fung Tu Adapts While Waiting, 2 Months and Counting, for Con Edison to Turn the Gas Back On

Cans of butane are normally used for hot-pot, but right now, they’re keeping the Fung Tu kitchen afloat
2-Star Restaurant Fung Tu Adapts While Waiting, 2 Months and Counting, for Con Edison to Turn the Gas Back On

Paul Wagtouicz for Fung Tu

Con Ed shut down the building’s gas line in July and has yet to return. 

Fung Tu, the modern Chinese restaurant — co-owned by Wilson Tang, beverage director and general manager Jason Wagner, chef Jonathan Wu, and chef de cuisine Matt John Wells — earned two stars from New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells in May.

Then, in July, a tenant reported a potential gas leak, and Con Edison shut down the building’s gas line. It’s been two months since that happened, and Con Edison has yet to return for a final inspection, so chef Wu, formerly of Per Se, had to adjust.

The menu is slightly smaller at the moment and the cooking takes longer, but the staff has learned to work around these issues. General manager Jason Wagner makes sure that each guest’s wine glass is never empty, for example, so as to “lubricate the situation,” he explains to The New York Times.

It’s also Wagner’s job to run into the cellar to reset the circuit breakers every time there’s a blackout (three or four times a night, on average), which he can now do in 15 seconds.

For now, Fung Tu employs some clever methods that might be familiar to lovers of hot-pot — portable butane hobs, plus induction burners, and a six-quart pot and an infrared temperature gun in lieu of a deep-fryer. The restaurant is still waiting for a response from Con Edison.
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