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I was reticent to write about Cha Kee here because - caveat - I’m friends with the chef. Not a close friend, but we’ve worked a couple gigs together and enjoyed a few drinks.

But the current Lunar New Year’s specials are something worth noting before they disappear. And the kitchen is way more on point than when they first opened, in general. Our first couple meals there were solid enough, but I knew she was capable of more. I don’t know what precipitated the changes, but that more is happening.

Standouts from the other night were miso Oysters Rockefeller, some surprisingly gamy (in a good way) cumin lamb dumplings, and duck with an XO sauce that did not pull its funky dried seafood punches. Though I think everyone’s favorite savory dish was the (vegan) romaine braised in soy milk. (Lobster and uni fried rice is also good because whatever it’s fried rice with lobster and uni.)

Of the two desserts available one we all agreed was a knockout - a yuzu-shiso gelee flan thing that was barely sweet, sharply acidic, and a touch bitter in a really bracing way on the finish. The other dessert - chocolate & five-spice - was also good but kind of paled in comparison. 

They’re still BYOB, which brings down the price of dinner considerably, so a bottle of champers to start followed by a rose Cava and two palomino finos (one not-Sherry, one Sherry) accompanied it all well.

Popped into their basement bar next door after (named “basement”) where the drinks were frankly too sweet for my taste but the crowd was very attractive. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Also really enjoyed it here last night. Still BYOB, and the Lunar New Year menu is gone, but we loved everything we ate. The gyoza, braised romaine, and lobster and uni rice were standouts, but I loved the oxtail udon noodles as well.

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54 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

Cha Kee has the inestimable advantage of being in operation.

Very true. The XO shrimp were excellent, and I liked the spicy tripe, but I wasn't sure what the tiger salad was about or why they'd serve such drab mapo tofu. Not much else of interest on the menu on a Tuesday night (and in line with recent trends - by 9pm the chef was drinking and smoking with friends and by 9:30 the rest of the kitchen was on its way out)

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