Episode 49: China Blue + Designing a Different Chinese Dining Experience

While we love the stereotypical hustle and bustle and brusque service of Chinatown restaurants, there's a new wave of restaurants in New York City that are offering quality Chinese food in a different setting. In Episode 49 of the podcast, we discuss the elevated dining experience you can find at a number of Chinese restaurants in recent years.

To get the insider perspective of the Chinese restaurant scene, we talk to Yiming Wang and Xian Zhang, who are behind Cafe China, China Blue, and Birds of a Feather. They opened Café China in 2011 without any prior restaurant experience, guided instead by their vision of a respectable Chinese restaurant where they themselves would enjoy eating. The restaurant was a success and earned two stars from the New York Times and a Michelin star. They went on to open China Blue—which focuses on Shanghainese cuisine—and most recently, Birds of a Feather in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, serving Sichuan food.

Learn how they designed these three beautiful Chinese restaurants, their thought process behind the menus, and what it's like operating their business as a husband and wife team.

The concept for Birds of a Feather is that of a re-imagining of the dining experience. We wanted something new, we wanted something that was interesting...and it just happens to be a Chinese restaurant—not the other way around.
— Xian on the modern, subtle Chinese decor of Birds of a Feather