New restaurant serves up huge portions of ribs and steak
Calix is a contemporary American concept backed by the Barbarossa Group, located in the tourist trap we know as Xintiandi. However, Calix has given locals and residents a reason to visit the area by offering hearty servings of ribs and tasty lobster rolls under a covered terrace that’s prime for people watching and all-day dining.
The first floor takes on a lounge/bistro vibe with a rectangular bar as the centerpiece and a small stage for live music. The second floor has a long chef’s table that overlooks the open kitchen and two semi-private rooms. We prefer the second floor for daytime dining due to its bright palate and natural light–it also has a terrace, but that’s due to open later.
The menu focuses on modern American classics and Asian-inspired dishes, along with steak and seafood of large portions that are made to share. The steaks are well priced for the upscale location, and the T-Bone (RMB598) was delicious and could easily be shared between two or three people. It came splayed with a kiss of char, the meat tender and beautifully marbled.
Following our carnivorous meal was the 8-hour slow roasted pork ribs (RMB158), which provoked a gasp of awe as the heaping portion of two full racks arrived at the table. Slathered in a sweet chipotle honey BBQ glaze, the meat was smoky, juicy and fall-off-the-bone tender. It came with a side of deviled egg potato salad, a perfect complement to the indulgent dish.
Our favorite next to the ribs is the Lobster Bahn Mi Roll (RMB158), a modern rendition of the Vietnamese street food classic. The three buttered and fried brioche buns stuffed with shredded, chilled lobster was a meal on it’s own and had a fresh, light flavor from the coconut and lemongrass cream sauce and shredded carrot.
Roping in carb and cheese addicts, the Million Dollar Lobster Mac (RMB188) is probably the most excessive dish on the menu—we believe it was created just for gluttons like us. Baked over with three different kinds of cheese and sufficient chunks of lobster, the dish put us into a food coma. Despite thoroughly enjoying the belt-buster, we don’t see ourselves returning for such a pricy comfort food item.
We also had some starters, including the Crab and Shrimp Cakes (RMB88) in a sweet mango and grain mustard aioli and the Char-grilled Octopus (RMB128), dressed with creamy chickpea puree with smoked tomato squid ink. Both were tasty and made with fresh ingredients, but were incomparable to our stellar mains.
We polished off the meal with the Apple Crumble (RMB58 for all desserts), which received nods of approval from our table for its combination of festive cinnamon flavor, crumbly oatmeal textures and vanilla ice cream.
We like that Calix serves food all-day and noted the good service, plus the lunch set is quite affordable. Despite some pricy dishes, we would still recommend going to try the lobster rolls and the ribs.
Where: No. 10-12, North Plaza, Xintiandi, 181 Taicang Lu (near Madang Lu)