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Celebrating its 30th year in business, Chef Chao feels like a neighborhood favorite, with its hundreds of photos of smiling patrons celebrating their birthdays and wearing colorful Chinese hats. Despite its history, this clean, pleasant Mandarin-style restaurant doesn’t feel aged or dated. More importantly, the food tastes fresh and vibrant. For starters, the pot stickers are house-made daily, and they taste it, while the “drums of heaven” are aptly named, offering moist, succulent chicken within a sweet, crispy, garlicky skin. The Singapore noodles—with shrimp, pork, carrots, scrambled egg, onions, and bamboo shoots—are a lighter-than-typical rendition. The braised tofu with bok choy and eggplant exemplifies the honest quality of this restaurant’s food: Each ingredient tastes fresh (not overcooked) and complements each other perfectly. Lunch Mon.–Sat., dinner daily.
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