Fusion 9th is Gone Fission at Launch
These guys work fast – days after we posted about TS Ma being replaced by Fusion 9th, I got word from my confidential source that they had opened. Here at Midtown Lunch, we don’t screw around when Malaysian options hit the desert of food deserts – southwest midtown – so with great sobriety and regret did I set aside the thought of a cold-cut sandwich for lunch. No looming reminder of a massive Super Bowl pigout would prevent me from getting my foot in the door at Fusion 9th to determine if it’s worth an eyebrow raise or if it’s just forgettable “fusion.”
The sign advertises a $6.95 lunch special with a soup or salad. I’m hopeful that the salad isn’t the Tabata-sized portion of limpness whose presence is just kind of an unknown add-on.
The space is small right now, but they’re building into the back. Tools were going, drowning out the Muzak.
Fusion 9th is owned by the TS Ma people, whose operation is now in Jersey. One of our commentors pegged TS Ma as decent sit-down Chinese, a dying breed. There’s plenty of warm-looking sit-down space, so if you aren’t in the mood for an ambience-free Chinese experience, it might be worth a shot.
Here’s the first incarnation of my lunch. I say this because after I took a few pictures and took my first bite, I was greeted by the most singular flavorless noodle or any other dish that wasn’t uncooked, unflavored freakin’ tofu ever. This was not the curry noodles with beef that I ordered ($8.95). I called the restaurant and explained it, and the guy was apologetic – bring it back and they’d remake it.
So I did, and this time it actually had curry. I was one of the lucky ones, though. Shortly after I arrived, someone else came in after me and ordered chicken fried rice. After I walked back, realized I got a wrongly-made dish, called, and returned, she was still there. It’d been 25 minutes at that point. I hope for her sake that it was the best damn chicken fried rice ever.
The portions are plentiful – the beef above was a huge component of the dish, both in its incorrect and correct versions. They still have that and other kinks to work out. They were out of the Thai iced tea and were still futzing with getting their credit card reader to enter NY tax automatically. Still, though, the kinks are worked out on the fly and with grace. They have an experienced team.
This is how stir-fried beef should look. It was as perfectly cooked as I’ve had it from any stir-fry dish from any cuisine. It was perfectly tender with no evidence of being soaked in unflavored meat tenderizer. I kinda wish that it was a little more flavorful in a marinated way, but it was still good beef.
The rest of the dish came together pretty well. When they said curry noodles, they meant it – the whole shabang is doused in curry. However, after I put a chunk into the dish (half of it and I’m freaking stuffed – this is a two-day lunch for a mortal human) I got to the bottom and saw a huge amount of oil, shimmering as you see. I’m not of the illusion that this is meant to be healthy cooking, but at least cut down on the grease, Fusion 9th. It conveys the curry well throughout the dish, but it’s pretty dang grizzy and we’re not talking Sichuan hot chili oil here.
The rest of the menu’s “fusion” state is fairly questionable, but it’s not totally out the window. They have separate options for Malaysian style noodles and even offer noodle soup or ramen. THOSE are going to merit revisits – hopefully they can stand up to Tabata’s ramen, just two blocks away, not to mention the Chinese noodle soup juggernaut Main Noodle House or Lunch Box Buffet, both nearby. Curry dishes pop up in the menu, but I’m disheartened that they didn’t go more into the Malay side. No char kuey tiow in midtown Southwest, it seems. Still, though, once the kinks get worked out, it merits a revisit or two. A decent curry noodle does not decent Malaysian make. We’ll have to see.
The + (What cold fusion advocates would say):
- Cheap Malaysian options are always a nice plus.
- They mean curry when they say it!
- They do stir-fry RIGHT.
The – (What the Nick’s Place loyalists would say):
- A remake on a simple dish, 25 minutes to make fried rice, and missing menu items? They opened too soon.
- We have enough Chinese and Thai options, and there’s barely any Malaysian here!
- When are Chinese restaurants going to lay off the massive grease excess?
Fusion 9th, 480 9th Ave (Between 36th and 37th)