The Marlin hotel has seen its share of revamps in previous years, but this latest one is special because it includes Bazi, a Chinese restaurant with a Hong Kong flair. Owned by Chef Michael Pirolo (we always like it when chefs are involved) and partner Jen Chaefsky, Bazi’s exotic food and beautiful decor bring something new and exciting to the iconic hotel’s lobby.
That means reds, golds and lots of Chinoiserie
“We love this style of food and have been playing with the idea of an Asian concept for years,” says Pirolo, who also owns and operates Maccialina Taverna Rustica with Chaefsky. They aren’t exactly looking to replicate the Chinese specialities, but rather do their own rendition of favorites, while taking a few adventurous turns.
One of the coolest things on the menu is the Peking Duck ($96 for two.) It comes with some of the traditional Chinese accompaniments you might expect, such as the such soup and pancakes with hoisin and scallions, but there is also a Duck lo Mein with hand-made noodles that is delicious and a departure from the usual Peking Duck preparation. We expect the Peking Duck to become a favorite, but there are a limited number of them available each evening, so its best to order yours up in advance.
There are a few lighter items—like Hamachi Sashimi and Green Papaya Salad, but most dishes are fairly hearty. Our favorites include the Cantonese Style Florida Shrimp which had a Shaoxin wine sauce, jazzed up with ginger and the Short Rib Buns, which are everything you could ever want in a bun. They are perfectly seasoned, tender meat with just the right amount of sauce to moisten the fluffy rice-flour bun accompanied by crispy pickle slices.
Unlike many Asian restaurants, dessert doesn’t seem like an after thought. A popular one is the coconut milk rice pudding featuring two chunks of freshly fried bananas. Drinks are important too—namely tea. They even offer a Gong Fu tableside tea service with a selection of JoJo tea blends. Cocktails are special too, thanks to Beverage Director William Rivas. He does a Conceptualized drinks including a Whiskey and Tea Highball, with 12 year old Scotch black tea and essence of apple. There is also a oversize cocktail dubbed the Sharing is Caring served up in a Shochu Barrel, the contents of which, while change on the regular.