For practical purposes, you can consider Zhu Dang, Capitol Hill's new "updated" Chinese restaurant, open for business. Technically, the restaurant from Steve Cheng and Meghann Seiler is still doing "soft openings" for the rest of this week (you can check the hours on Facebook). They're closed on Monday for a breather, and opening officially on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Eater previewed the menu last night. The dishes range from small plates to soups, rice and noodle dishes, larger mains, wok dishes, and vegetables, all meant to be shared family-style. Standouts included the Mongolian beef tartare with wagyu treated with house chili sauce and served on lotus root chips ($14); Shanghai rice cakes of spicy pork, served with escarole and kohlrabi, all dressed with a ginger bean sauce ($14); hoisin diver scallops with chili jam, tomato, basil, and jalapeno ($21); and Kung Pao frog legs with toasted chili, onion, scallion, and peanuts ($16).
Save room for dessert — and a cocktail. Highlights on that end included the Basil Smash with lemon, Thai basil, and a healthy dose of gin ($10) and the Vanilla Old Fashioned, laced with Madagascar vanilla bean ($12). The sweets side of the menu includes a refreshing grapefruit sorbet and an impressive pan-fried donut covered in sesame seeds, stuffed with kabocha squash and red bean, and topped with apple compote and creme fraiche.