DanDan Bringing Szechuan-Taiwanese Fire to the Main Line

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Courtesy of DanDan

The Rittenhouse DanDan was an instant success. In just two years, owners Kevin and Catherina “Cat” Huang grew their first restaurant into the neighborhood’s premier spot for solid noodles and dumplings, giving 9-to-5ers and the happy hour hordes something to sweat about without having to leave the comfy confines of Center City.

Come April, Devon’s heat-seekers will receive the same treatment.  Read more »

So Have You Eaten There Yet?

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We have a wall at the office entirely given over to a Post-It Note snapshot of everything happening in the Philly restaurant world at this given moment. Hundreds of yellow squares, on which are written the names of restaurants, initials, arrows and mysterious heiroglyphs that only Art and I (and mostly I) can understand.

The Post-Its move. Get grouped, get broken up. The restaurants we love and the restaurants we hate are all represented (in wildly unequal numbers). Restaurants that are coming–addresses chosen, opening dates optimistically scheduled–have their own space, as do established and open restaurants whose reviews are in the works. Lately, that particular section of wall has been growing crowded. There are just so many goddamn restaurants coming (it’s spring, that happens) that it feels overwhelming.

So with six months of (mostly) weekly reviews behind me, and dozens of new openings incoming, I figured this might be a good time to look back and highlight the best moments of the past six months–places that you might’ve missed, places that you really ought to get to (if you haven’t already) before the lure of new-new restaurants becomes too overpowering.

So let’s start with…

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DanDan Revamps The Taiwanese Side Of Their Menu

Photo courtesy of DanDan

Photo courtesy of DanDan

When DanDan first opened, they brought to the game a kind of sleek, sexy and modern version of the Szechuan cuisine Philly loves, then jazzed up the board with a sharp hit of Taiwanese flavors and specialties. And since switching the lights on last year on 16th Street, the menu has not changed all that much.

Until now.

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We Come to Eat Fire: DanDan Reviewed

Photo courtesy of DanDan

Photo courtesy of DanDan

DanDan on a Friday night is a mess in the best possible way—a riot of people and bags and plates, with servers squeezing through the spaces between while the bartenders do their best to keep up with the crush that keeps backing up to the door.

The place is small, but not small-small. Downstairs, the bar takes up an inordinate amount of room, and everything else is just squeezed in. Two-tops press up against the big windows looking out onto the hustle of 16th Street, and more are tucked under the overhang of the lofted second-floor seating area. The hostess stand half-clogs the only passage between the main floor and the stairs leading up. It would be a terrible place to eat if it weren’t also such a fun place to throw yourself into. There’s a mosh-pit sensibility to it: You can get where you’re going, but not without bouncing off a few bodies first.

I sit in the corner at the bar with a sweating Tsing Tao, slurping cold sesame noodles that have a nutty, sweet kick and working through a plate of cumin pork that leaves my tongue slick with a mix of dusty-hot cumin and peppers. Even the fizz of the beer won’t wash it off.

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DanDan Gets Liquor License, Begins Happy Hour

dandan-marqee-940On Friday, DanDan at 126 S 16th Street received its liquor license. On Wednesday, August 19th, the Sichuan/Taiwanese spot will be launching its interestingly named happy hour, “The Baby High-Five Happy Hour.”

The happy hour includes $5 beverages and bites. Drinks include a featured beer, house red and white wines by the glass, plus well liquors with a choice of mixer.

Happy Hour is available weekdays from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Check out the happy hour bites and full drink list »

DanDan Offering Free Noodles Through Friday

Free Dan Dan noodles with the purchase of any meal through Friday.

Free Dan Dan noodles with the purchase of any meal through Friday.

DanDan opened over the weekend at 126 S 16th Street. The restaurant serves Sichuan and Taiwanese cuisine in Center City for lunch and dinner.

For now the restaurant is operating as a BYOB, but soon enough the restaurant will have a full liquor license. The restaurant is run by Kevin and Catherina Huang, former operators and managers of Han Dynasty’s University City location. As such, the dan dan noodles are a must order (even better, they’re free with any purchase through Friday). Even after bringing leftovers back to the office, several staff members put the noodles slightly ahead Han Chiang’s renditions.
Highlights and full menus »

DanDan Coming to Rittenhouse in July

The space, currently in renovation, at 126 S 16th.

The space, currently in renovation, at 126 S 16th.

From the former operators and managers of Han Dynasty University City comes DanDan, a fresh combination of Sichuan and Taiwanese cuisine in Rittenhouse.  Kevin and Catherina Huang plan to open (tentatively) on July 1st at 126 S 16th Street.

In this upscale environment (think full, operating bar), the duo hope to offer healthy, authentic, and quality Chinese food that will be customizable for gluten-free and vegetarian diets (which isn’t exactly authentic, but we’ll let that slide) and will also, like Han Dynasty, be customizable for spiciness.

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