The 131st restaurant from Chinese restauranteurs Mr. Gang Wang and Mrs. Di Liang, Dongpo Kitchen is their fourth restaurant in the Los Angeles area, but their first "casual" table-service concept in the US. Tonight, Universal hosted a preview tasting of Dongpo's offerings for invited guests, including Theme Park Insider.
Most entrees will range between $10-22, though Universal only made sample sizes available, buffet-style, this evening. The room was too crowded to get a clear photo of the restaurant's interior, so we'll go with the publicity hand-out for that shot.
Inside the restaurant tonight, we were greeted with a camera-ready line-up of some of the restaurant's signature dishes, including Roast Duck and Dan Dan Noodles.
As the restaurant's name implies, you can watch the chefs at work in the kitchen from the dining room.
But since this was a special event, a few of the chefs stepped outside the kitchen to carve and serve the impressive roast ducks.
I needed two of the serving plates to get a taste of each of the dishes offered. I started with the Sichuan string beans ($10 as an entree), the Meizhou Pork Bun ($5 for an appetizer of two), the Roast Duck Slider ($9 for an appetizer of three), and Meizhou Dongpo Sausage ($15 as an appetizer).
On my second plate, I dished up the Spicy Chicken ($18 as an entree) and the Chilled Noodles with Shredded Chicken ($9).
Surprisingly, I found myself going back for more and more of the green beans, which delivered just enough spice to make them interesting without so much as to slow my devouring of them. I also enjoyed the lively seasoning in pork buns, and of course, that beautifully roasted duck. I don't know that I'd order the sliders on my own, though. While the steamed bao, cucumber, and lettuce help extend the duck to serve a whole banquet table, my inner carnivore eyes the $40 Dongpo Roast Duck entree — half a slow-roasted duck... with sides of duck sauce, rice pancakes, shredded scallions and cucumbers that I'd probably use sparingly as I tear into that tasty roasted meat.
Dongpo Kitchen opens officially on Monday at Universal CityWalk LA. You'll find it directly across from Blaze Pizza and the CityWalk Cinemas, across from the 5 Towers stage.Tweet
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