Han Dynasty First Monday Tastings Are Back On

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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.

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Talking with Han Chiang

Han_Chiang-marquee-by-MICHAEL-PERSICOIn 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]

Han’s Dynasty

Han Dynasty's Han Chiang

Photograph by Michael Persico

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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Stone Brewing Dinner at Han Dynasty

19_HANDYNASTY_Samuel Markey

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.

Stone Brewing menu at Han Dynasty » 

Where We’re Eating: Han Dynasty

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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.

New Han Dynasty Opens Today With A Late-Night Taiwanese Street Food Menu

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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.

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Greatest Hits and What You Missed: Han Dynasty Opening, Marathon Grill Bankrupt, Garces to Bookbinder’s, Top Chef, Shake Shack and Zombies

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.

Post-Weekend Planning: New Han Dynasty Opening On Monday

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We’ve talked about the new menu. We’ve checked out the space. We’ve even poked around in the kitchen. And now, just a reminder for all you Han Dynasty fanatics: The new location at 123 Chestnut Street (in the old Reserve steakhouse) is going to be opening to the public on Monday.

It’s big. It’s fancy. It’s going to have all the old Han Dynasty favorites plus a whole bunch of new stuff. There’s a big bar, a cocktail program, plenty of beer to wash down those dan dan noodles. And for those of you who just can’t go a day without your fix, have no fear. We’ve been promised that the current Old City Han Dynasty is going to operate as normal through Sunday night, then shut down and move operations across the street in the middle of the night so that the new location can (hopefully) be up and running for Monday lunch without missing a single service.

It’s a pretty bold plan. But from someone like Han Chiang, we wouldn’t really expect anything less.

All Han Dynasty coverage [f8b8z]

 

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