Chiko

Image: Brisket

Last Updated: 5/30/2020

Current Status:  They are doing take-out and delivery out of both locations.  They are also throwing in some occasional menu changes for fun.  This is food created for take-out and made for this moment.

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Before Times Review:

Last Visited: September 2019

The name is a mash-up of Chinese and Korean and pronounced “Ch-eye/koe.”  Though most still default to a Spanish pronunciation and memories of cathode-ray television.  The amenities are spare.  The setting is casual and bright.  The food is serious.  It also brings together two of the most talented chefs in D.C.  It is worth making a trip.  Now that there are two locations, you don’t even have to travel as far.

Danny Lee, of the popular and very good Korean spot Mandu, is one-half of the chef team.  Scott Drewno, formerly of The Source, is the other half.  Both of them are frequently spotted in the kitchen (though they also recently opened Anju, which may pull them away more).  Both of them also leave their imprint on the menu.

Even if you didn’t know the chef’s background the telltale clang of the wok and the occasional waft of smoke into the dining area gives away the nature of the food. It is not light fare. It is comfort food with pizzazz.  Orange-ish chicken is dramatically bright on the plate with a mix of sweet and crispy.  The brisket is cubed and served over rice with an egg.   It is a hearty dish.  So is the cumin lamb that has thick noodles and spicy pop.  The shrimp in XO sauce is a dinner only dish, and for some people reason alone to go.  At lunch, the bulgogi hoagie is creamy and meaty.  Add the tater tots and it might knock you out for the afternoon.

The formality of the place is somewhere between a sandwich shop and a pizza joint.  You order at the counter and food is brought to your table.  The drink list is limited to a few beers, wines and non-alcoholic choices.  The delivery folks come and go to pick up orders – and sometimes push the kitchen into the weeds even when it doesn’t seem that busy.

If you are in Dupont, take advantage of one of the best lunches you can get (though Sorellina a couple doors down is also pretty good).  You can get dinner at that location and the original on Capitol Hill.  If you are ready for a big experience, there are reservations for the chef’s counter tasting menu.

Rating: Worth the Cab Fare
Other Asian (Chinese – Korean.  Get it?)
Capitol Hill: 423 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003 (Dinner Only)
Dupont Circle: 2029 P Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20036 (Lunch & Dinner)
Website: http://chikodc.com/
Reservations: Walk-in.  For the four-seat counter experience: http://chikodc.com/reservations

Other Critics/Voices:

Washington Post: Tom gave it 3 right out of the gate.  3.0!!! (Well played, sir)

Washingtonian: #50 in 2020; #51 in 2019;  #25 in 2018. Note in 2020, they gave sister restaurant Anju the #1 spot.

DonRockwell.com

Lori (Been There Eaten That): “This is destination-worthy cuisine.”

Rick: #13 on his Spring 2019 Top 25.  He also could not resist a Chico and the Man reference.

Tyler: “Most of the dishes are on the “quite good by suburban standards for Asian” level.”