First taste of Universal CityWalk's new Dongpo Kitchen

August 3, 2016, 10:13 PM · On Monday, Universal Studios Hollywood will open its newest CityWalk restaurant — Dongpo Kitchen.

Dongpo Kitchen

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.

Dongpo Kitchen interior
Photo courtesy Universal

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.

Dongpo Kitchen menu

As the restaurant's name implies, you can watch the chefs at work in the kitchen from the dining room.

Chefs in the kitchen

But since this was a special event, a few of the chefs stepped outside the kitchen to carve and serve the impressive roast ducks.

Carving the roast duck

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).

Tasting sample

On my second plate, I dished up the Spicy Chicken ($18 as an entree) and the Chilled Noodles with Shredded Chicken ($9).

More tastes

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.

Replies (3)

August 4, 2016 at 8:19 AM · Food Looks Lovely but the juvenile in me can't get past the name. Gong-POooo...

August 4, 2016 at 8:35 AM · I can't phonetically figure out the meaning of the restaurant name. Not that it matters. The food is high end Chinese with prices that match and especially in a tourist trap. $40 for a half roasted duck is awfully expensive. In other places (if you know where to look), it might be $30 for a whole roasted Beijing duck and the dishes are around $8 to $12. Nonetheless, it looks fine, but its interesting that it features a pork bun as a dish. You don't eat the pork bun if you don't want to be too full to eat the duck.
August 4, 2016 at 10:09 AM · Here is the backstory of the restaurant company's name, from the menu at Dongpo Kitchen:

Mr. Wang met Di Lang in Beijing, herself a waitress who later became an accomplished chef. A culinary match made in heaven, they opened their first restaurant in 1996, which they named Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant.

Meizhou is the ancient name of Mr. Wang’s hometown, Mei Shan. Dongpo refers to the prominent Chinese essayist, poet, and chef of the 11th Century, Su “Dongpo” Shi. Su Dongpo of Meizhou not only penned some of the most beautiful literary pieces in Chinese history, he also created the re- nowned Dongpo style cuisine. Meizhou Dongpo has been dedicated to the Dongpo tradition since 1996.

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