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RESTAURANT REVIEW: Chi Dynasty brings royal treatment to Chinese cuisine

Posted By Karen Young On October 14, 2010 @ 12:52 am In Chinese,Cuisine,Dinner,Eat,Featured,Food,Happy Hour,Lunch,My Daily Find,Restaurants,spotlight | 1 Comment

BY KAREN YOUNG

The restaurant scene in the 818 is definitely picking up with restaurateurs from “over the hill” choosing some prime locations on the Ventura Boulevard corridor. Chi Dynasty, which has been a culinary landmark in Los Feliz for 27 years, opened in early August on the bottom level of the Studio City complex housing the Russian restaurant, Romanov.

This is the third restaurant to make this space a home in just a few years, but this one might just stick, especially since it fits with the royal theme of Romanov.

Restaurateur Michael Israyelyan, who owns Romanov, along with his business partner, Rob Vinokur, joined forces with their Muse Lifestyle Group and Chi Dynasty’s Jonathan Chi, for this welcome new restaurant to Studio City.

Chi Dynasty has garnered a reputation for upscale cuisine that mixes traditional Chinese recipes with modern twist. The dishes aren’t unusual in terms of the ingredients, but it is the preparation that sets Chi Dynasty apart. The sauces are made with a lighter touch than traditional Chinese restaurants —that means no heavy oil or thick corn starch. The menu remains the same as the Los Feliz, but the overall ambiance makes the difference.    Plus, there will be special upcoming events, such as a unique menu for the MLB Play-offs this week with a special  $5 menu of appetizers and $4 beers, and a Soju tasting with complimentary pairings on November 3 ($20 pp or $12 with dinner).

With an open kitchen where patrons can see an occasional flame fly, the interior is dramatic with a color palate of red, black and splashes of gold. A sleek bar is set back against one wall, while the opposite wall is red and formed into a textured sculpture. Tables are formally set with crisp linens and beige napkins folded upright as fans. Gracious servers are ready and waiting in traditional Chinese formal garb.

The sophisticated décor vibe is more “dinner club” than Chinese restaurant, but as works as well for a family meal as it does for date night.

The Chi Chinese Chicken Salad, which is touted on their menu as voted “Best in Town” is prepared tableside in a large bowl. With a light dressing that balances a sweet vinegar with a hint of ginger, it does rank among the best.

Chef’s specialties are a standout. Try Shrimp a la Chi — plump shrimp cooked in Xiao-Sing rice wine with ginger, garlic and egg white sauce; the Yu-Shung Calamari — a signature dish is wok-tossed with a spicy garlic sauce; Double Delight Mandarin Scampi (in the shell so be warned) is crispy shrimp cooked in a wok with peppercorn salt, garlic, scallions and jalapeno peppers.

A wonderfully moist chicken dish is the Sliced Chicken Szechwan which is stir-fried in a rich sauce full of ginger and garlic and served on a bed of sautéed spinach. The Mandarin Beef is tender and thinly sliced with ginger and mushrooms in a brown sauce; and Orange Chicken, that all time Chinese restaurant favorite, is fried, but not with the doughy consistency found elsewhere.

The grandaddy dish is the Whole Duck which is slow-roasted and carved a table side. First course is duck skin served with cucumber, scallions and hoisin sauce rolled in Chinese crepes; followed by duck meat sautéed with vegetables.

Chi Dynasty is working on getting its full liquor license, but in the meantime, there’s an impressive list of specialty Soju cocktails for $8, like the Ku Blackberry Mojito with Soju Original, blackberries, mint, lime wedges and a splash of soda or the Passionate Kiss with Soju Gold, passion fruit, lime juice, sour and a salted rim. Wine and beer is limited, but reasonable.

Prices are a tad higher than other Chinese restaurants, averaging $9.95 to$15.95 a dish, but for the ambiance, use of top ingredients without MSG and the fresh quality of the food, it’s more than worth it.

Chi Dynasty 12229 Ventura Blvd., open 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. www.chidynasty.com (818) 753-5300

Karen Young is the Founder/Editor of My Daily Find. Email: karen@mydailyfind.com

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