Zhu Dang is Opening Next Month in Capitol Hill, Brings “Flavor above tradition”

Zhu Dang to launch weekend of Dec. 12 on Capitol Hill’s Olive Way

Capitol Hill will soon welcome an exciting Chinese restaurant concept with bold flavors and a diverse team approach – Zhu Dang. Set to debut the weekend of Dec. 12 at 1715 E. Olive Way, the restaurant is the first endeavor from Owner and General Manager Steve Cheng.

A Seattle native, Cheng spent the last decade cooking his way around locally acclaimed restaurants such as Urbane and TASTE. He grew up visiting his parents’ homeland of Taiwan and developed a serious love of Chinese food, and envisioned a restaurant in Seattle that would capture the flavors of authentic Chinese cuisine while embracing the fine ingredients he’d worked with in the Pacific Northwest.

“Zhu Dang creates authentic Chinese food, yet with an emphasis on flavor above tradition,” said Cheng. “Our team has built a menu full of interesting, delicious food with quality ingredients at a reasonable price, while still remaining true to the Chinese palate.”

Recognizing his own strengths and weaknesses as a first time restaurant owner, Cheng has lined up an A-team to offer guests the best possible experience – two executive chefs, a cocktail consultant and an exceptional front of house manager.

Cheng met Pat Chang, one of his executive chefs, during their positions at The Coterie Room during its launch. Chang’s experience at Café Campagne, Brasa, Joule, Revel and Nell’s has resulted in an eclectic palate and brings a modern, creative approach to Zhu Dang’s menu.

She is joined by Ken Lee, the other executive chef, whose expertise lies in traditional Chinese cuisine. Lee was raised in Cambodia and Thailand with his Chaozhou mother’s Southeast Asian and Southern Chinese cooking. This led to his own brand of Pan-Asian cuisine that was enjoyed by patrons at his longstanding restaurants, Provinces and Shallots, and in his position as Din Thai Fung’s master trainer.

Lee’s former front of house manager at Shallots Asian Bistro, Lanie Victor, was the opening bar manager of Japonessa, has worked at The Local Vine Wine Bar, Red Fin Sushi, and The Polar Bar at the Arctic Club Hotel, and will fill the same role at Zhu Dang. She will work with cocktail consultant Chris Tanghe to develop a bar menu, including cocktails on tap and offerings that infuse traditional Chinese flavors such as star anise and Szechuan peppercorn. Tanghe will supplement these beverages with a modest wine and beer list plus Herkimer coffee and Remedy teas.

Price points range from $12 – $22 and includes house-made items such as Chinese sausages, bacon, hand cut noodles, and sauces including their signature X.O. sauce. Menu highlights include pearl fried rice with house cured duck ham, seafood clay pot with preserved tofu, cumin lamb with red kale, and Taiwanese beef noodle soup with chili bean sauce.

Designed by architect Sergio Chin-Ley, who created spaces for Din Tai Fung locations, Canlis and Liam’s, Zhu Dang is housed in a former auto showroom built in the 1920s. The restaurant’s 2,500 sq. ft. dining space with vaulted ceiling exudes warmth and comfort, thanks to exposed brick, plush upholstered seating, lowered chandeliers, built-ins and vibrant art. Custom pieces include a street-art inspired mural from Los Angeles artist Kofie and copper plaster bar backsplash from Seattle artist Tina Randolph. The main dining room includes a bar and patio and seats 150. Plenty of C-shaped booths easily accommodate groups of six, with a 2,000 sq. ft. versatile event space in the back of the facility that will hold 100 guests for receptions and parties.

Here are some photos from the test kitchen (Zhu Dang | Facebook):

Written by Charles Koh

Founded EatSeattle, and has continued to use his expertise as editor-in-chief to guide the website’s growth over the last five years. Koh’s experience focuses on digital marketing and social media, and has been a part of several companies, some of which he created, specializing in both areas over the course of his career. Koh was previously with Google and Zagat where he helped expand and grow communities worldwide.

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