Dao(San Sheng Wan Wu), Beijing
Nestled in half of a defunct Daoist prayer hall at the back of a crumbling residential cluster east of the Back Lakes, Dao is Beijing's most unique-and most obscure-new restaurant. There's no sign in the hutong outside, only an aged stone archway with the Ming-era temple's name (Guangfu Guan) carved in faded characters at its apex. The set meal includes fresh jiaozi, accompanied by delicate side dishes like goose liver rolls with hoisin sauce (e'gan juan), deep-fried pork with medicinal herbs (cungu shao), and sweet gourd-shaped red bean rolls with mountain herbs (shanyao hulu). The drink menu features a bracing "immortal's abode" koumiss (dongtian rujiu), made with fermented milk, and the somewhat more appetizing Daoist medicinal tea (gong cha). Expect options to expand once the chefs have settled in.
Yandai Xiejie 37(Next to the Lotus Bar, Back Lakes & Dong Cheng)