Inside the Most Expensive Chinese Restaurant in America

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The idea of Chinese food doesn’t often bring to mind an elaborate, 19-course meal of meticulously composed dishes served in custom-made vessels. “Chinese food has thousands of years of history and culture. It should be expensive,” said chef Guo Wenjun, whose eponymous restaurant in New York, at $518 per person for the tasting menu, is the most expensive Chinese restaurant in America. The windowless, Midtown East location is meant to serve no more than 10 patrons a night. The first course, ‘Butterfly Falls in Love With the Flower,’ is an exercise in delicacy and precision. (Courtesy of Chef Guo) Guo, who has served as executive chef at China’s Diaoyutai Garden Villa International Club, Imperial Kitchen of the Palace Museum, and others, oversaw the decor, from sourcing stately seats from Indonesia weighing some 160 pounds, to curating the playlist, to handcrafting the faux gingko tree whose branches sprawl across the ceiling. It’s a deliberate affair, meant to mirror the tradition of imperial banquets....

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