PHOTO: Cumin Lamb Stir Fry at CHIKO DC (c) Sery Kim
Last night my buddy Steve and I finally checked out Executive Chef/Owner Scott Drewno's much talked about CHIKO DC in Eastern Market. For those not already "in the know," like me and Steve, CHIKO DC is a Chinese and Korean food fusion restaurant co-owned by Danny Lee (Mandu) and one of the nicest guys in the business Scott Drewno.
Steve and I arrived super-duper hungry, having started the night with happy hour at The Green Zone, a new bar in D.C. Incredibly festive environment there in the narrow (small!) space. We were so fortunate to have smuggled ourselves in before the torrential downpour in D.C. commenced! More on The Green Zone later, but I have to say I definitely have a new favorite drink in D.C.: the Marocain AF, aka the Boisson de Bleu.
PHOTO: The "Fully Monty" of "Snacks" (c) Sery Kim
Whenever I go to a new restaurant, I have this habit of ordering everything I have the slightest interest in. It always creates quite a commotion because most people, typically, order 1-2 dishes and are done with it. Not me!!! When I sit down and 5, 6, 7, maybe sometimes 9 or 10 dishes comes out, people's heads swivel like a room when Kate Upton walks in. Hysterical!! This particularly makes a splash inside a small space like CHIKO DC, where there are literally just two columns of picnic tables, four on either side, for seating EVERYONE takes a look at what you order. The space is, it would appear, intentional, so as to represent the spatial challenges of most restaurants in Seoul. I loved the look because it reminds me of my childhood where I went to Korean restaurants all the time.
WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN TO CHIKO BEFORE?! I so feel like an idiot or, at the very least, a bad Korean, haha!
PHOTO: Spicy Soy Glazed Double-Fried Chicken Wings (c) Sery Kim
I immediately knew what I was going to order. "Can't come to a place with chicken wings and not get it," I sanguinely intoned to anyone who would listen. Lately, chicken wings have replaced french fries as my go-to meal of choice -- I'm trying to lose weight though, when you see what I eat and drink, it's really hard to tell! There's something deeply satisfying about the crunch of a fried chicken wing as opposed to the squish of a french fry. At CHIKO DC you can either order a dry spiced version (plain and lame!) or the Spicy Soy Glazed Double-Fried Chicken Wings.
OMG! BEST. WINGS. IN. DC.
Even now, my mouth waters just looking at the picture of this luscious perfection. The spicy soy glaze gets everything dirty and sticky, which is just how I like to eat my food (haha), while the wings are big and hearty. "I feel like Henry the VIII!," as I waved my chicken wing victoriously in the air as the spicy soy sauce smeared itself, along with slashes of my red lipstick, all across my face. I tell you ... what man wouldn't fall in love with a photo like this?!?
PHOTO: This is love (c) Sery Kim
Our collective favorite dish though was the Cumin Lamb Stir Fry. Made with wheat flour noodles, caramelized shallots and massive chunks of cumin braised lamb, this dish came together scrumptiously. The noodles were clearly hand-made and powerfully flavorful on its own, but the lamb really was marvelously cooked. I killed an entire side of Kimchi myself -- $3 Napa Cabbage Kimchi -- as I ate through as much as the noodles as possible. The saltiness of the kimchi was the perfect side to the entire dish.
PHOTO: Napa Cabbage Kimchi at CHIKO DC (c) Sery Kim
Also delivered to our table were the super fun Crispy Chicken Springrolls with Chinese Mustard Dipping Sauce. Instead of the traditional triangle shape, Scott made it extra long like a Chinese New Year present. My buddy Steve demonstrates the width and general dimensions below (happy birthday Steve!). Very delightful to look at it and eat! No wonder its 100% the most ordered item in the restaurant.
PHOTO: Steve displaying the Crispy Chicken Springrolls (c) Sery Kim
Other very popular items at the restaurant are too numerous to name but I can't wait to come back and try more. CHIKO DC also participates in a slew of delivery services so you should definitely utilize your funds to have the food delivered or head over there this weekend for their special crab menu if you don't want to sit at one of the shared tables. Don't forget to order some Peach Soju!!
PHOTO: Peach Soju at CHIKO DC (please ignore my terrible nails)