Qi is absolutley one of the hidden gems in New York City, only it’s not so hidden. Clearly, my plethora of trips to Italian restaurants and my pursuit of the best burger joints in NYC have kept me bereft of some of the more happening, non-beef-centric places in Manhattan. I say this because Qi is located where everyone can see it, right on 14th Street, and yet I hadn’t heard of the place until just recently.
Let’s just say, I was the one missing out. Qi is probably my favorite Asian-fusion restaurant of all-time, and I have only been there once! That’s saying a lot, because Asian-fusion cuisine is kind of New York City’s thing, and there are chefs across this island doing their best to mold the fine-dishes of the Far East into something even more extrinsic and exotic. Well, I’m calling the competition.
In the words of one of my favorite NBA Basketball analysts, Hubey Brown, “It’s over! It’s over! It’s all over!”
Forget those places like Pranna NYC charging an arm and a leg for two specs of food–specs that don’t even taste that good! Qi, however, is doing the damn thing! And even when it comes to the spectacular atmosphere that a venue like Pranna provides, Qi holds its own very well.
Let’s start with the food first! I had the Kee Mao Spicy Basil Noodles with Beef, and boy was that dish good! I don’t know if it was the bell peppers and onions, the fried rice noodles, the juicy beef or that damn sauce they put on my dish, but all together, I haven’t had a better bowl of anything than what was put in front of me that night.
To top it all off, it wasn’t even expensive–and you know a brotha does not like paying “da five!” My massive bowl of well-prepared noodles was literally $10 plus tax, and it was more than enough to keep me away from the appetizer and dessert menus. I don’t know if that’s good or bad for my summer weight goals (which I’m eerily behind on), but it is what it is.
As for the ambiance, this place really is second to none. Yeah, there may be a few places that are a bit more posh and “Feng shui” than Qi, but 99% of those venues have lines out the door, 3-month waiting lists or simply won’t let an ugly-mug like mine in the place without 10 girls on his arm. Qi, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have much of anything in the way of a door policy. In fact, my girlfriend and I walked right in and got a seat immediately. Of course, seating is probably a bit easier for them since they do this whole communal eating thing, where your party sits at the same table as 1, 2 or 3 other parties. However, with the low-lighting, light music and chic ambiance all-around, I quickly forgot about our neighbors to the right and enjoyed a beautiful and great conversation among a very chic and yuppy-like crowd.
So, if you’re looking for some tasty Asian-fusion food, don’t let anybody scare you away from this place. I know Qi only got 3.5 stars on Yelp, but it’s far better than that. Besides, who are you going to trust, a review-crazed, opinion-based platform throwing opinions around like dust in a hurricane…or Yelp. Think hard about that one!