On the night indoor dining opened in New York City, I was riding elevators up to the penthouse suite of a multimillion-dollar condo complex in the Financial District—the setting for tonight’s dinner. Now you should know, this penthouse isn’t mine. It’s rented out by a company called Resident, a supper club that hosts intimate dinners in luxury residences throughout the city. The space was minimal yet sophisticated, decked out in black-and-white art, rustic wooden tabletops, and sofas and beds adorned with cozy-looking throws, pillows and blankets.

The kitchen feels like the center point of the residence—quite fitting given why we’re here. Upon being handed an introductory cocktail of vodka, lime juice, ginger, kombucha and grilled peach, Worth editorial director Emily Cegielski and I are ushered onto the rooftop terrace where dinner will be served. At our table, we find fleece blankets draped over our seats in case we get cold, and small bottles of hand sanitizer because we’re still in a pandemic. Many people swing by our table throughout the night, waiters, a sommelier, the chef and the owner of Resident—all of whom are perhaps the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. I would go to another Resident dinner just to interact with these people again.


On this particular night, we had the pleasure of eating whatever Eric Huang was cooking. Huang is the sous chef at the Michelin-starred New York City institution Eleven Madison Park. But unlike Eleven Madison Park’s American tasting menus, tonight, we were served a Chinese-inspired one, prepared by Huang and his girlfriend, we would later find out.

After sipping on our cocktails for a bit, the most friendly, vibrant sommelier I’ve ever met, Olivia Moravec, came around and began pouring our first wine of the night—an Emilio Lustauv Palo Cortado Peninsula sherry. This slightly sweet, slightly savory sherry paired perfectly with our first course of superior broth with ham, truffle, foie gras and two plump, savory little dumplings waiting for us at the bottom of the bowl. Upon smelling the broth, my first thought was that it smelled like White Castle’s sliders—meaty, unctuous, oniony, full of umami—and I stand by that. It was so incredibly comforting, and for a 64-degree and somewhat windy night, this was the perfect starter.


After finishing our sherry, we moved on to the second course and the next wine: celtuce with sesame butter, miso and pink peppercorns paired with a 2018 Alzinger Gruner Veltliner Ried Muhlpoint Smaragd. Celtuce is a vegetable I had never before encountered until this night, but it’s native to China and is as nutrient-dense as kale or celery. It was the star of the second course—fragrant, crunchy, salty, light yet rich. And the white wine paired with it was slightly vegetal and grassy, light enough to compliment the celtuce just so.


Then came the lobster. The lobster sticky rice with XO sauce and shitake mushrooms was one of my absolute favorites from this menu, and the celtuce set it up beautifully. Where the celtuce was light and fresh and crisp, the lobster sticky rice was rich and savory and hearty. The lobster was succulent and had a little oceany funk, and the wine—a Vouvray Demi Sec “Champs Rougets,” Florent Cosme 2017—complimented this funkiness. This lobster sticky rice was like the most high-end takeout, and I absolutely devoured it.

Lobster sticky rice

Moving into the fourth course, we were served a dish that caught me by surprise: roasted porcelet with charred leeks and hot peppers with a tamari-beurre noisette sauce. Now I don’t have an extensive knowledge of Chinese cuisine, but this course took me by surprise because it took influences from all over—France, Mexico, Japan. And though it didn’t strike me as Chinese in the way that I have come to understand Chinese cuisine, it was easily the best course of the night. Pork has never shone more brightly than in Chef Huang’s preparation of it. The cut was nice and thick, and the meat was the most tender. Someone said to me at one point that you could eat it with a spoon, and honestly, I think you really could have. It was so, so tender and succulent. Even if the pork had been served to us by itself, I think it still would’ve been the best pork I’ve ever had because of how masterfully it was cooked. But the charred leeks and hot peppers took this dish over the edge for me. The hot peppers weren’t spicy actually, but they were smoky. And this smokiness was such a nice balance with the richness and slight sweetness of the pork. Further offsetting that richness was the wine pairing—a 2018 Domaine de Fa Fleurie Roche Guillon, which was tannin-y and acidic and slightly dry.

Roasted porcelet

As I started to become happily full, I took a look around and the magic of Resident started to become clear to me. The atmosphere was light and fun, the food was delicious, the wine was expertly paired by an incredibly friendly sommelier, the staff was lively and hospitable, the conversation was deep, the blankets were fleece-y and the overall ambiance was cozy and comfy and chic and fun. It was like spending your night in a delightful little bubble where everything was good, nothing was wrong and the year wasn’t 2020—the pandemic nothing but a distant memory. This is, for me, the true magic of Resident. It wasn’t just that the food and ambiance were good—it was that New York City felt alive, human interaction felt easy and everything seemed hopeful. This is why Resident is special. I’ve had great meals around New York City in the last six months, but this was the one that nourished my spirit.

Which brings us to dessert. A sweet almond panna cotta with peach compote and ginger syrup. Chef Huang noted that this dessert was inspired by almond jelly that he’d typically eat after dim sum. I loved that. The dessert itself had the characteristic cherry-like flavor almond so often has. It was slightly licorice-y and had a nice sharpness from the ginger. The dessert wine paired with it was a Raymond Ragnaud Pineau des Charantes. Sweet, citrusy and almost like juice, it was a good note to end the night on.

If you’re looking for a bespoke, ever-changing culinary experience, grab a friend and book a seat at one of Resident’s dinners. At $175 a seat, it’s well worth it not only for the food, ambiance and staff you’ll have the pleasure of meeting, but also for the sense of hope and optimism you’ll come away with. To live in Resident’s world for a night did me a world of good mentally, and that to me is worth far more than what they charge.