Judging by the number of brown-handled bags waiting to be picked up at the counter of Miss Yip's new Biscayne Boulevard location the other night, downtown dwellers have discovered the joys of bringing home traditional Hong Kong fare. Taking out means you won't get to feel hip cozying up in the burgundy banquettes. You won't get to watch the older Asian lady make the dim sum by hand behind a glass wall, either, or check out your personality traits on the cool Chinese zodiac placemats.
But you will leave with some decent Asian fare in funky red and yellow, dragon-emblazoned boxes. (Besides, the bar in the back may look sexy, but the adjoining outdoor terrace-lounge does overlook a gas station.) Be sure to ask the manager to stamp your ticket for complimentary valet parking along Biscayne. In the arrowhead-shaped base of the 900 Biscayne condo building, across from American Airlines Arena and just south of the Adrienne Arsht Center, the new, mainland location of this Lincoln Road stalwart caters to late-night diners, staying open until at least 11pm weeknights and 1am weekends.
Skip the house-made dim sum - it doesn't hold up well, even in the specially designed, metal-bottomed containers. Go instead for the signature orange peel chicken, delicately battered, deep-fried chunks stir-fried in a slightly spicy orange-peel sauce that puts to shame that sticky, overly sweet food-court chicken. The large slices of steak in the black bean beef are tender and beyond typical Chinese takeout fare, stir-fried with onion, ginger, scallions, jalapeños and red and green bell peppers in a salty black-bean sauce.
Vegetable spring rolls, stuffed mostly with shredded cabbage, were disappointing. And the perfectly diced cubes of carrot in the Miss Yip fried rice looked (and tasted) suspiciously like the frozen kind. The chunks of light, white-fleshed swai, a farmed Asian catfish, in the Chinese steamed fish were lightly battered and plentiful in a simple brown sauce, but the dish would have benefited from greens or another vegetable. Desserts vary nightly. Our white chocolate rice pudding was nice and sweet, but too cold.
Don't expect to be wowed, but Miss Yip does bring a new liveliness to a neighborhood that's just waiting to happen.