Chef Erica Ohrling has officially taken the helm at Macao Trading Co. The almost-hidden gem in New York City has remained a neighborhood favorite for its eats and acclaimed beverage program since opening in 2008.
Nearly a decade later, Ohrling — who worked as a pastry chef in the city before moving over to Vinegar Hill House and transitioning back to savory as sous chef at the Waverly Inn — has designed a whole new menu for the nine-year-old Tribeca favorite.
The new menu items still reflect the Chinese and Portuguese roots of Macanese cuisine, incorporating dishes like a whole Peking duck with five-spice, black pepper, and grated ginger that can be ordered in advance; Arroz de Pato, which is duck confit, black rice, and charred scallion. The signature braised lamb hot pot takes center stage with a lamb shank seared and braised with spices, a nod to the Silk Road and the spice trade that ran through Macao. That spice list includes coriander, fennel, black pepper, cumin, Sichuan, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, and bay leaf. Served bone-in with baby bok choy, kabocha squash purée, spicy honey, toasted pumpkin and fennel seeds, cilantro, and mint, it’s a warm and hearty dish that’s arrived just in time for cooling temperatures.
“The addition of more Portuguese-style dishes like boquerones, fresh cheese, bacalao, and raw bar items reflect Chinese, Portuguese, Mediterranean, Macanese cooking styles,” Ohrling says. “Whenever possible, I shop at the farmers market and in Chinatown.”
Other new offerings include a crispy whole fish; Boquerón crostini with roasted red pepper, anchovies, and capers; and, of course, burrata with charred scallion, persimmon, yuzu, and green chiles because fresh cheese is part of any Portuguese diet.
Then there’s the octopus, braised in aromatics and red wine, charred on the grill with a little extra-virgin olive oil, and served with pine nut purée, tarragon salsa verde, cerignola olives, and a Chinese vinegar gastrique.
“Macao is extremely unique in many aspects, both as a destination spot and as a place for our regulars who have been coming since the beginning,” Ohrling explains.
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