Cho77 will launch officially on Monday, March 30. Chef Lon Symensma, who opened ChoLon in 2010, had a unique vision for this new venture. While his flagship restaurant falls more in the fine dining category, the new offshoot was meant to be much more casual and laid-back.
The result is a fine casual eatery where the skill of the cooks is evident and the atmosphere of the dining room relaxed. The space shows off exposed brick, murals for which local artists were commissioned, red chairs reminiscent of markets in Vietnam, traditional East Asian yokes used to hold plants, and a variety of custom wooden pieces crafted by chef Ryan Gorby's grandfather.
The chefs created a well-edited menu that is divided into four sections: Share, Noodle Soup (Take note: Only one ramen!), Wok, and Happy Endings. "Every dish on this menu tells a story. When we created the things we have on there now, we thought back to actually moments in our travels through Asia and adapted many things to our taste and our approach," chef Symensma explained.
That approach is playful yet respectful of culinary traditions. Among the dim sum shareable plates, there are bright vegetable samosas, spicy red pork chili dumplings, and a classic green papaya salad that brings mandarins instead of tomatoes into the game, to account for seasonality. There is also a bao bun, the Buffalo chicken buns, where confit chicken rests inside the lightest bun slathered in blue cheese toga-ranchy (a togarashi-sprinkled variation of ranch), topped with pickles and crispy chicken skin. That's the playful American influence. Four noodle soups range from a Malaysian shrimp and octopus Laksa to a Vietnamese noodle broth. There are three wok dishes and three sweet endings on the menu that is complemented with cocktails, wine, and beer.
Cho77 will be open daily from 4 p.m. to close.