Miss Yip Downtown: Pseudo-Chinese Décor Better Than The Pseudo-Chinese Food
Miss Yip Chinese Café recently opened at NE Ninth Street and Biscayne with a contagious
energy that made its way down the steps and around the corner. There was ample outside seating and a large sign overhead announcing that Miss Yip had made it downtown.
But the parking situation isn't the most accommodating and the impolite hostesses were an immediate buzz-kill. They didn't smile and ignored us until we announced that we had a
The décor is very cool and
Chinatown-esque, highlighted by tiled floors, birdcages over the
bar, a visible dim sum station (with a petite dim sum chef standing on
blocks behind it), red leather booths, and walnut-stained wooden
tables covered by paper place mats adorned with the Chinese zodiac. The
indoors flows into outdoors and the lighting is just right. Unnecessary Miami
flair is added with club music.
Chicken lettuce wraps
The chicken lettuce wraps ($13) are a
fair appetizer. The lettuce is perfect for spooning and rolling the
stir-fried chicken concoction. The portion was
more than enough for two, but unmemorable.
The crispy shrimp on skewers ($12) had a
texture like shredded wheat cereal -- cough-inducing and
terribly dry. But inside was a robust shrimp cooked perfectly.
Served with a sweet and spicy sauce, it was a helluva starter.
The spinach bao ($6) was too
chewy, the bun stuck to the roof of my mouth. There
was nothing particularly flavorful about this dim sum item.
The same can be said of the chicken bao ($6), which was just
a bit better than the spinach. The nugget of nearly
flavorless, overcooked chicken was tough to swallow.
We sipped lychee sake cocktails ($7) with our starters, which were subtle but strong enough.
Miss Yip's dim sum
princess jade sea bass ($29), which consisted of battered chunks
of fish in Chinese mayo sauce, was served over a bed of bok
choy. The texture was tough on the outside, but the
inside melted instantaneously. The Chinese mayo sauce was a bit rich
and drowned the sea bass. The bok choy was perfect, with
its crunch still intact.
An even sadder entree was the Mongolian
beef ($17), stir-fried with ginger, garlic, scallions, and finished with a
sweet and tangy sauce. We could only get a few pieces into the
crunchy, beef jerky-like meat bathed in a sauce that was too sweet.
The entrees were served with a side of fluffy fried rice with
not-so-discreet chunks of chicken, beef, pork, and shrimp.
Mongolian beef, princess jade seabass, and fried rice
The fun, relaxed atmosphere became obnoxious as the night wore on. As the
bar began to fill, guests spilled into the dining room. Staff bumped into guests as
they made their way through.
None of the managers touched tables.
They simply strutted around in their suits, acting important and as
if they were a part of a scene. When one bumped into our table, a
martini spilled, and he didn't so much as apologize. Miss Yip has got to figure out how to handle volume and
get service on track.
Dessert took 30 minutes to arrive after our plates were cleared. This was surprisingly
long, seeing as we ordered dessert with our meal and told our server
we were ready towards the end of our entree. Then the white chocolate rice pudding
($6) was dry, dense, and overly sweet. The only harmonious note was the sweet
red bean topping with fried mint leaves and dried orange zest.
It's difficult to give dinner a
chance. Miss Yip turned into a lounge before 8pm. The place is not the real thing when it comes to Chinese food,
but it's still a fun atmosphere with passable food. Maybe it will establish itself as a great happy
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