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.

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.

The he

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.

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

hour spot.

Miss Yip Chinese Cafe
900 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

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John Zur