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The Early Word on Chiko

“Wow. I wanted the whole menu.”

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Staff in the kitchen at Chiko.
Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater D.C.
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Chiko, the combination Chinese-Korean restaurant spearheaded by Mandu co-founder Danny Lee, Matchbox Food Group co-founder Drew Kim, and The Source by Wolfgang Puck alum Scott Drewno, joined the Barracks Row dining scene July 7.

A menu board displays the 14 dishes, half dozen “snacks” (think: pickled and marinated items, a la Korean banchan), and solo dessert — produced in conjunction with fellow innovator Dolcezza — the trio of dining aficionados have come up with so far. Smaller plates, including double-fried, proprietary spice-crusted chicken wings and assorted dumplings, range from $8 to $11, while more substantial rice- and meat-laden selections reach $14 to $18 a pop.

During two seatings a night at the by-reservation stools parked in front of the totally open kitchen, patrons can give the chefs carte blanche to spin out whatever they like.

Read on to hear what the public is saying, just a few weeks in:

The Greatest Hits News: Facebooker Jarrett L. Conway says, “The Brisket dish and the sorbet with basil seeds dessert are so good,” while Katy Schmid says the “potato and egg salad, double-fried wings and half-acado salad were standouts.” Bradley Bechok calls out a little bit of everything, including dumplings, vegetables, and noodles. “Wow. I wanted the whole menu.” [Facebook]

The Must-Order News: Yelper Salim B. says the smoked catfish and rice with squid ink “was one of the best ten things I've eaten in my life.” Yelper Julie A. says her “favorites were the shrimp, sirloin tips with rice cakes, Korean fried chicken, and of course the dumplings.” Zagat user Austin Graff calls it “a ‘fancy fast casual’ restaurant ... order any of the dumplings or pot stickers for an explosion of flavors in some bold ways. The cold noodles are also very good and well prepared.” [Yelp, Zagat]

The Flavorful News: TripAdvisor’s Dale O. says, “The tastes were flavorful and savory and the meats in each of the dishes we tried were some of the most tender and delicious that I have ever had, anywhere. This place just opened up and what a great find.” Zagat user James Dickey calls it “Nirvana between two chopsticks! Avocado salad was out of this world. Fine dining quality fast and affordable.” [TripAdvisor, Zagat]

The Void-Filling News: Yelper Pei L. is “SO HAPPY to have this addition to the neighborhood. Not only is the food creative and delicious, it's not something that's already been done over and over again in SE.” [Yelp]

The Summing Up News: Facebooker Gregor Young says he had “some very complex and wonderful flavors, and great service, we were impressed and will hurry back.” David Smelson calls it “quick, tasty, creative.” Yelper Tim O. ate at the kitchen counter and notes its “great, fun atmosphere” and that “everything we were served was thoughtfully executed.” BYT says “as soon as the meal is over, you are ready for your next one.” [Facebook, Yelp, BYT]

The Booze News: Yelper Marissa S. says, “The best part of the whole meal were the G&T's. They were so different and delicious and even my gin-hating friend loved them.” [Yelp]