Hong Kong- Lung King Heen- ✪✪✪

Though by no means a mediocre restaurant, I'll admit that Lung King Heen continued a trend I noticed in Hong Kong and Macau- I have no idea what makes this place special enough to deserve the third star. The space was pretty in a cold, corporate way, the service was attentive but not memorable, and the dishes were neither terribly inventive nor exceptionally executed. I can't bring myself to give them failing marks, but when I think about the pathologically amazing servers at Da Vittorio, the unbelievable colors and creativity in each dish at Gordon Ramsay, or the garden views at Hertog Jan I come away extremely confused as to how this place made any Michelin Inspector's heart sing. More to come on this topic, but my initial conclusion is that Michelin needs to do much more to level-set their grading format globally. 

 Lung King Heen Main Entrance

Lung King Heen Main Entrance

HONG KONG, CHINA

SERVICE: 7.0/10

FOOD: 5.0/10

PRICE PAID: $210 PP (LIST PRICE- PRE-CHALLENGE)

VALUE/MONEY: 6.0/10

FINAL SCORE: 6.0/10

 Lung King Heen Exterior- Four Seasons Hotel

Lung King Heen Exterior- Four Seasons Hotel

Lung King Heen is one of several restaurants and bars inside the Four Seasons hotel in Hong Kong, which it itself connected by walkway to the largest and fanciest shopping mall I have ever experienced called IFC. If you are a person who likes premium goods, I can't say I've ever visited a place that has more of them. 

 Lung King Heen Interior

Lung King Heen Interior

The restaurant's interior was subtle and slightly understated compared to some of my other Hong Kong experiences- lots of red, a wavy metal ceiling, ambiance lighting. As I mentioned earlier, I can't really find fault here besides the fact that it feels a touch like I'm on a cruise ship.

 First Bites: Deep Fried Scallop + Pear + Yunnam Ham, 8/10

First Bites: Deep Fried Scallop + Pear + Yunnam Ham, 8/10

 Xuanwei, in Southwestern China

Xuanwei, in Southwestern China

The first bites are a delightful deep-fried ball of scallops, pears, and Yunnan ham. Yunnan ham is particularly prized - the small black pigs have the run of the steep river slopes, herb-filled meadows, and grassy valleys in this particularly pristine and gorgeous part of China. Other regions like Jinhua are similarly famous, but this more out-of-the way region is about as good as it gets. 8/10.

 Course 1: Pork + Goose + Duck, 8/10

Course 1: Pork + Goose + Duck, 8/10

Next came a very good pork, goose, duck app combo. The pork is extremely tender and good. Duck is also excellent. Good texture, rich flavor. 8/10.

 Course 2: Corn Soup + Lobster + Chicken, 6/10

Course 2: Corn Soup + Lobster + Chicken, 6/10

Next, a sweet corn soup with lobster and minced chicken, with a roasted tomato in the center. The minced chicken texture is a great idea with the soft, round flavors in the corn soup, but the lobster gets a bit lost. 6/10.

 Course 3: King Prawn, 4/10

Course 3: King Prawn, 4/10

This next course was enormous, and tough to approach- overwhelmingly yellow and fried. A King prawn simmered together with an underlayer of green leafy vegetables and bean sprout forms a pretty stout base. The seafood sauce was truly overwhelming and thick- and didn't add much beyond a ton of salt. Disappointing main dish. 4/10.

 Course 4: Braised Abalone + Broccoli + Star Grouper Rolls + Oyster Sauce, 7/10

Course 4: Braised Abalone + Broccoli + Star Grouper Rolls + Oyster Sauce, 7/10

An interestingly presented dish- two rolls of "Star Garoupa" with a rich oyster sauce and a very mildly steamed stalk of broccoli. Lots of different textures- the barely-cooked broccoli contrasts nicely with the soft, rubbery abalone and the even softer fish rolls. 7/10.

 Course 5: Wagyu Cubes + Mushroom, 8/10

Course 5: Wagyu Cubes + Mushroom, 8/10

Next up, some fantastic Australia-raised Wagyu beef cubes paired with fresh grilled vegetables, morel mushrooms and bell peppers. A big, hearty dish that felt a big like American comfort food- really rewarding dish but a bit big. 8/10.

 Course 6: Chicken + Vegetable Dumpling Soup, 6/10

Course 6: Chicken + Vegetable Dumpling Soup, 6/10

Warm, starchy, and a touch on the heavy side, the order of this dish didn't make a ton of sense after the massive, heavy Wagyu beef right before. I was expecting something lighter, refreshing, or perhaps even palate-cleansing, but this was basically another appetizer soup dish. Just fine as far as texture and flavor goes; a bit confusing. 6/10.

 Course 6: Ginger Soup + Sweet Potato/Rice Dumplings, 7/10

Course 6: Ginger Soup + Sweet Potato/Rice Dumplings, 7/10

This course definitely WAS on the more refreshing side of the spectrum, but with a big, hearty, starchy center to it. If the restaurant was concerned that I might leave hungry, they extinguished all possible concern with this last main dish. 7/10.

 Final Bites: Fruit Gelatin + Biscuit, 7/10

Final Bites: Fruit Gelatin + Biscuit, 7/10

What I'd call a hard stop for the end of the meal- a tiny dessert of fruit gelatin and a rice biscuit that was, at most, semi-sweet. Once again, I didn't really understand this transition, but it was an enjoyable plate. 7/10.