You can’t help but say “wow” when you walk through the red lacquered door of Chi Lin. Located next to the romantic RivaBella Italian restaurant on Sunset Blvd., the décor inside Chi Lin is dark and sexy with an alluring jet black and red color palette.
Hundreds of small lanterns are suspended from the ceiling. The inspiration of this lighting was based on the ships sailing into Hong Kong harbor.
The front fountain adds some Feng Shui to the restaurant, while a retractable metal roof allows the outside to come in on warm summer nights.
Panes of glass in the dining room display garden vignettes of a butterfly migration path with colored lights creating different seasonal themes. It’s exquisite.
I dined with a group of Chinese food aficionados to enjoy Chi Lin’s Tuesday night Peking duck special – “Duck, Duck, Goose” dinner.
Our server, Thomas, first brought us a light pink Grey Goose sparkling Mau cocktail made with vodka – the goose part of the dinner.
Three crepes filled with generous pieces of crispy Peking duck skin and topped with julienne cucumbers and scallions were served with hoisin sauce to enhance the sweetness of the duck. Alan Young, the assistant general manager of Chi Lin explained the duck is air dried for eight hours.
“We stuff each duck with secret Chinese ingredients and roast them for almost one hour,” Young said. “While it’s roasting, we glaze the duck to give it a lacquered shine.”
As one plate was taken away, another arrived with wok sautéed Peking duck, Chinese broccoli, scallions and ginger scented heirloom rice. The two courses of duck with a cocktail is well-priced at $24 per person. Chi Lin’s signature full order of flavorful Peking duck is $68 and feeds up to four guests.
All of the dishes on the menu are now being prepared by the new Executive Chef Tyson Wong Ophaso. As a former “Iron Chef” alum, Ophaso is from New York and classically trained in Asia, France and the East Coast. He has enhanced the menu created by Chef Yujean Kang. While on Iron Chef, Chef Ophaso competed against the famous Chef Morimoto.
Wanting to experience more of the dishes from this talented chef, we ordered additional family-style dishes to share around the table. The tender filet mignon with black pepper sauce was topped with Thai and Opal basil with flash fried – crispy Shiso leaves. It was spectacular.
Peking prawns are tossed in a wok with piquant Peking sauce and served on a bed of chive blossoms.
Thin slices of steamed Chilean sea bass bathed in a light Soya sauce, ginger and scallions were delicious.
My favorite was the Yu-Shiang style eggplant chips made with baby eggplant and I will order this again on my next visit.
For dessert, we shared a luscious green tea layer cake filled with green tea mascarpone mousse and raspberries. And a beautiful cake with a Chi-Lin chocolate custard with five-spice ice cream. The prettiest dessert was the exquisite Yuzu cheesecake made with an Oolong shortbread crust and topped with a lychee elderflower relish. These desserts completed a wonderful Hong Kong meal with a modern twist.
Valet parking is available in front for $10 if you get your ticket validated. $$ Prices range from $8 to $68. Open for dinner nightly at 6 p.m. 9201 W Sunset Blvd. (310)278-2068.