Yeah, so now you all know what you’re doing tonight.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 25th, Han Dynasty in Old City and Sixpoint Brewing are collaborating on a special Taste the Seis dinner that will showcase Sixpoint’s SEISon Farmhouse ale. The five-course, five-beer dinner is $50. Only a few tickets are available so call (215) 922-1888 for details.
It’s been a little while since the last time Han Dynasty did one of their “First Monday” tasting dinners–as a matter of fact, the last one I can recall was in the former Old City location, prior to Han’s moving on up to his new digs in the old Reserve Steakhouse at 123 Chestnut.
But now that things are (somewhat) settled at the new address, the parties are starting up again. So on Monday night, February 3rd, at 7pm, Han Chiang himself will be back to host the inaugural dinner in the new Old City space–a 10-course feast full of lobster, abalone and Szechuan-style sausages.
Seats are $50 per person. And yes, reservations are required. Undecided? Check out the night’s menu after the jump.
In this month’s edition of Philadelphia magazine, I talk with Han Chiang about Szechuan food, weed, his upbringing, his early days as a restaurant owner, New York City, his plans for the future (next stop: Beverly Hills) and what to do when you find an unconscious food writer in your bed on opening night.
Han Dynasty owner Han Chiang is taking over [Philadelphia Magazine]
We already knew that Adam Platt, critic at New York magazine, was a fan of the new Han Dynasty that opened last year on 3rd Avenue in New York. He gave it three glowing stars in his early review and gushed over everything from the ubiquitous dan dan noodles to the hot pots.
In any serious food city in America, there exists a cadre of chefs and restaurateurs who are the Big Dogs. The guys (because, yeah, it’s almost always guys) who, by the weight of their presence on the scene, tend to define the scene—particularly to those from outside the scene, who don’t live and breathe the scene, who, maybe, just eat out a few times a month and don’t track, with OCD fanaticism, the movements of every chef and investor within the scene.
Think about Charlie Trotter in Chicago (RIP) and the upstarts who’ve been siphoning off his ink for the past decade. Think about New Orleans, with its deep reverence for tradition, age and Emeril Lagasse; Denver, with its magnetic pull on the young and wickedly talented; or Seattle, where they worship at the altar of the farm-to-table movement but still flock to the restaurants of Tom Douglas, who, with 15 spots in a city genetically opposed to chain restaurants, is like a mini-chain-emperor unto himself.
In Philly, we have Stephen Starr, Marc Vetri and Jose Garces—our culinary trinity, each of them big for different reasons, each of them representing an aspect of ourselves. There are chefs in town who have more restaurants than Vetri, but no one who has brought such high-gloss glory to our Italian roots. Jose Garces isn’t the most critically beloved of Philadelphia chefs, but he’s on TV. He’s Iron Chef Garces, and with his ever-expanding roster of addresses both here and elsewhere, he speaks to something in our immigrant hearts with his Cuban sandwiches, Irish whiskey, Spanish tapas, tacos, dumplings, noodles and Chicago deep-dish pizzas. And Starr? He’s got money. And connections. With his older places, he’s feeding tourists and rubes, keeping the flame of wasabi mashed potatoes alive in the hearts of the culinarily backward. And with his newer locations, he’s become our most brilliant producer—bringing in major talent, giving them a place to work, then sitting back and watching them go. He’s the Phil Spector of the Philadelphia restaurant scene, only, you know, without the crazy Afro and the murder.
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Han Dynasty in Old City isn’t the only location of Han Chiang’s empire that is doing fun things. Han Dynasty in University City is hosting a beer dinner this Wednesday, December 4th with Stone Brewing. Each of the five courses (three different dishes per course) will be paired with a beer from the Southern California brewery including a couple of their most unusual.
The dinner is $60 plus tip and begins at 7 p.m. in the newly completed expansion of the restaurant. All of the dishes will be off-menu selections that have never been seen on the regular menu. Chiang himself will be serving up the dishes and Lee Marren from Stone Brewing will also be there.
Tickets can be reserved by calling Han Dynasty at 215-222-3711.
Han Chiang has graduated, shutting down his beloved (if small) Han Dynasty in Old City and moving the Szechuan restaurant across the street into the enormous, opulent 180-seat space formerly occupied by Reserve steakhouse (among other operations). The bar manager from the University City location has come over to craft a cocktail program for the new space. The menu is roughly the same burn-your-face-off-spicy Chinese food that’s served at all of Chiang’s other locations (at the same price point, despite the upgraded digs), but he’s added a late-night menu inspired by Taiwanese street food, served fast and cheap across a small second bar on the main floor. Highlights include the dry pepper fried chicken wings and the pork belly buns, but be on the lookout for frequent changes as Chiang tinkers with the new board.
Han Dynasty [Foobooz]
First appeared in the December, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
And yes, we have a copy of that menu, so you can plan your assault on it in advance of hitting the brand new bar at the brand new location (123 Chestnut Street) tonight.
Word from the kitchen at Han Dynasty is that this is just the menu for now–that the whole thing is subject to change whenever they feel like it and that, in the future, they’re going to be bringing in “accomplished chefs in the Philadelphia area” to expand it. Can’t wait to see how that works out. And to see what kind of “accomplished chefs” they have in mind.
Check out tonight’s menu after the jump.
It was a big week for Philadelphia restaurant news. And next week looks like it’s going to be even crazier. So to catch you up on all the action of the past seven days, here’s what you might’ve missed.