Restaurant Review: Zhu Dang, Seattle, WA

Last week, I tried a new restaurant in the Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle called Zhu Dang with my big sis and one of my best girlfriends.  There has been a lack of good Chinese food in Capital Hill, and Zhu Dang opened December 15th serving "updated Chinese food with a Northwest vibe" in hopes of changing that perception.  The Chinese characters for Zhu Dang are 党, which translates to "Pig Party" and is something that owner Steve Cheng thinks sounds like the name of a cool, progressive political party.  The name is fun and I think it's a perfect fit for the neighborhood.  We dined last Wednesday evening, and the wait time for walk ins was fairly long (~45 minutes) for a weekday.  I was thankful that my friend had made a reservation the day prior--we were seated right at our reservation time.  I definitely recommend using OpenTable for a reservation if you are thinking about visiting soon.  Zhu Dang has a beautifully decorated large space with an open kitchen, a well-stocked bar, and a private room for events.  I don't have any photos of our drinks, but recommend the "Shanghai Sparkler" with vodka, blood orange puree, and sparkling wine if you like bubbly cocktails.  Please read on for photos and details of our meal at Zhu Dang.

Zhu Dang's modern and stylish exterior view (photo borrowed from http://www.zhudangrestaurant.com)


Sheng Jian Bao (pan-fried dumplings with pork & ginger filling) with five spice, lime, salt & pepper.  This type of dumpling is one of my favorites, and I have a high bar because of my time spent in Shanghai enjoying the best sheng jian bao in the world.  These were okay: they were not as juicy as I expected, but they might have been because they were a smaller size than I am used to eating.  However, the dough thickness and the crispy fried bottoms were just right.

 Zhu Dang created a special menu for Chinese New Year, which was a fantastic idea to drive traffic during this important holiday.  This is one of the New Year menu specials: pork and shrimp boiled dumplings with great flavor.  The dumplings were served with one savory and one spicy sauce - the spicy one was so good!  I read that Zhu Dang makes their own XO sauce, and this must have been it.

Another one of the New Year menu specials was these "longevity noodles" with green onion and bean sprouts.  It is good luck to eat foods like long noodles and long beans during Chinese New Year-- we also had the Blistered Green Beans but I didn't get a good photo.  I liked these noodles because they were a bit oily and had a nice wok-fried smoky flavor.

 Nine Flavor Chicken with lemongrass, garlic, shallots, basil, coconut, hoisin, peanut, and lime.  I don't know why the  menu only lists eight flavors - perhaps the ninth is supposed to be chicken?  This dish was a table favorite with it's sweet and tangy flavor.

One of the desserts we ordered was from the New Year menu: Chocolate Bon Bon with Seville orange curd filling, creme anglaise, and a white chocolate tuile.  Chocolate-y goodness!

The second dessert we shared was the Kabocha Squash Donuts with toasted sesame, osmanthus crème fraiche, sweet red bean, and apple compote.  These donuts were a favorite dish of mine - something different than you normally see on a dessert menu and absolutely delicious.

I hope you enjoyed this review of our dinner at Zhu Dang, and their website is below if you would like to learn more about this restaurant:

http://www.zhudangrestaurant.com

Thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope you have a great weekend!

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