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Elevating the Ordinary: One Dragon’s Innovative Take on Traditional Dishes

Elevating the Ordinary: One Dragon’s Innovative Take on Traditional Dishes

Licking Caviar off Glassware and Inhaling Culinary Cocaine: Welcome to One Dragon’s Culinary Adventure

I’ll admit, when I first stepped through the doors of One Dragon Restaurant, I had no idea what to expect. This wasn’t your typical Shanghai cuisine spot, that much was clear. As I navigated the dimly lit, warehouse-like space, surrounded by the hum of a nearby freight train yard and the occasional glare of a convenience store’s bulletproof glass, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of intrigue.

What kind of place was this, tucked away in the industrial corners of Shanghai? And who was the culinary mastermind behind it all? Little did I know, I was about to embark on a journey that would challenge every preconceived notion I had about traditional Chinese cuisine.

Defying Conventions: One Dragon’s Unexpected Approach

The first clue that this was no ordinary restaurant came when I was presented with the menu. Gone were the familiar dumplings and noodle dishes I’d come to expect. Instead, I found a tasting menu that read more like a surreal work of performance art than a standard dining experience.

As I scanned the offerings, my eyes landed on a curious item: the “Culinary Cocaine” course. Intrigued, I turned to the server for an explanation. “It’s not actual cocaine, of course,” she assured me with a wink. “Just a playful riff on the classic – dehydrated coconut and lime powder that you inhale through a straw.”

Hesitantly, I picked up the tiny straw and dipped it into the fine, white powder. As I brought it to my nose and took a gentle sniff, the clean, citrusy flavor exploded on my palate, evoking memories of childhood Pixy Stix. I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle – this was certainly not your typical Shanghai cuisine experience.

As I later learned, the “Culinary Cocaine” course was the brainchild of Chef Phillip Foss, the mastermind behind One Dragon’s innovative culinary approach. Foss, a Midwestern native with a penchant for unconventional techniques, had made a name for himself by pushing the boundaries of traditional fine dining.

Pushing Boundaries: One Dragon’s Culinary Philosophy

Foss’s culinary philosophy was simple: take the familiar and make it extraordinary. “I’m not going to kid myself,” he told me during our conversation. “This will never be a three-Michelin-star restaurant. We’re so far outside the box that we don’t even know where the box is anymore.”

And he wasn’t kidding. As the meal progressed, I was presented with one surprising dish after another, each one challenging my preconceptions about what Chinese cuisine could be. There was the raw milk course, served in a baby bottle, that had more than a few uncomfortable diners squirming in their seats. And the Twix Bar, a creation of chicken liver and chocolate that was consumed with the hands, like a decadent finger food.

But it was the caviar course that truly epitomized One Dragon’s unconventional approach. Rather than presenting the delicate morsels in a traditional manner, Foss insisted that we lick the caviar-topped White Russian off a small, clear glass bowl. “Why a glass dish?” he asked with a mischievous grin. “So you can see the person licking in front of you. And who doesn’t enjoy that?”

As I sat there, surrounded by fellow diners tentatively licking their bowls, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to the innovative work of Chef Alvin Leung at Bo Innovation in Hong Kong, another culinary maverick who has pushed the boundaries of traditional Cantonese cuisine.

Embracing the Unexpected: One Dragon’s Culinary Narrative

But Foss’s culinary vision went beyond mere shock value. Throughout the evening, I found myself drawn into a captivating narrative, one that wove together the unexpected, the familiar, and the downright surreal.

Take, for instance, the lamb course, served with an olive sauce. On the surface, it was a relatively straightforward dish, but Foss had infused it with his signature sense of playfulness. As I cut into the tender meat, I couldn’t help but notice the sharp, studied chopping motions of the diners at the adjacent table, who I later learned were seasoned industry veterans.

“That’s how you know they’re experts,” the server, Akiko, told me with a grin. “They’re making sure there are no lumps in the powder.”

Powder? I looked closer and realized that the diners were expertly dividing the remnants of the “Culinary Cocaine” course, a ritual that spoke volumes about the unexpected connections Foss was drawing between his culinary creations and the lives of his guests.

Indeed, One Dragon’s culinary narrative was a tapestry of surprises, each dish offering a glimpse into the complex and often unconventional world of modern Chinese cuisine. From the raw milk course that challenged traditional notions of service to the Twix Bar that blurred the line between savory and sweet, every element of the experience was designed to engage and delight the senses, pushing the boundaries of what was possible in the kitchen.

Elevating the Ordinary: One Dragon’s Culinary Alchemy

At the heart of One Dragon’s approach was a deep reverence for the traditional flavors and techniques of Shanghai cuisine, combined with a relentless drive to elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary. Foss and his team were masterful alchemists, taking the familiar and transforming it into something wholly unexpected.

Take, for example, the scallop course, which on the surface appeared to be a straightforward seafood dish. But with the addition of an arugula puree and a playful presentation, Foss had managed to breathe new life into a classic.

Or the chicken liver crouton, dipped in chocolate – a seemingly unlikely pairing that, in Foss’s hands, became a revelation, a delicate balance of savory and sweet that left me craving more.

“We play loud hip-hop, we do not give a fuck,” Foss had told me earlier, and that unapologetic attitude was woven into every aspect of the One Dragon experience. This was not a place for the faint of heart, but for those willing to embrace the unexpected and let their preconceptions be shattered, one course at a time.

A Culinary Adventure Awaits at One Dragon

As I stepped out into the cool Shanghai night, my senses still reeling from the whirlwind of flavors and experiences, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of gratitude. One Dragon Restaurant had not just served me a meal – it had taken me on a culinary adventure, one that challenged, delighted, and inspired me in equal measure.

In a world where so many restaurants play it safe, One Dragon stood as a beacon of culinary innovation, a place where the ordinary was constantly being reimagined and elevated to new heights. And for those brave enough to step through its doors, the rewards were plentiful – a journey of the senses that would linger long after the final course had been savored.

So the next time you find yourself in Shanghai, make sure to venture off the beaten path and discover the extraordinary world of One Dragon. After all, who knows what delightful surprises might be in store – from licking caviar off glassware to inhaling culinary cocaine. The only way to find out is to dive in, headfirst, and let the adventure begin.



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