I stopped in the other night at the Macao Trading Co., which occupies a desolate block of the Tribeca landscape (or at least it seems desolate at 11 PM when there's sleet blowing in your face). It's a neat trick, then, to walk in and abruptly find oneself transported back to some fanciful version of colonial days in Macao; Somerset Maugham may have spent more time at the long bar at Raffles in Singapore, but I still wouldn't have been surprised to find him lurking in a linen suit somewhere in a back booth.
The restaurant brings together the disparate talents of David Waltuck, Chanterelle's longtime chef-owner, and Dushan Zaric & Jason Kosmas of the West Village cocktailian watering hole Employees Only. Waltuck handles the food end, which splits somewhat oddly between Portuguese-influenced and Chinese-influenced dishes (a nod to Macao's colonial history, but—like that history—a somewhat conflicted relationship). For my part, the winning dishes were mostly on the Chinese side of the menu, like an appealingly earthy-briny bowl of Manila clams with black beans and chilies, and a whole sea bass with a ginger-scallion sauce that was fun to pick at and expertly cooked.