By Lesley Snyder
In the words of the hungry diner, “Chinese” is often followed by “takeout” – but Chef Leu’s House will have you rethinking your vocabulary. While the popular restaurant offers both pick-up and delivery, the 21-year-old Shelburne staple received a highly-anticipated facelift last spring. A revamped menu, modern dining room, spacious patio, and professional-grade sushi bar (as well as personable service) all work to convince patrons to dine out instead of order in. The idea of hunching over your coffee table, slurping noodles in the glow of the television set, will pale in comparison to the plush seats, softly lit tables, and attentive staff in the House that owners Mei Wang and Kevin Ke proudly built.
The building’s demure exterior gives modest indication of the beautifully-renovated interior. Deep reds are accented by modern lighting and sunlight steaming in through the façade of windows, warming the spacious dining area. The casual atmosphere invites patrons to order all of their go-to favorites, then try something new off the extensive sushi menu.
An order of vegetable egg rolls brings a plate of two hefty appetizers, a crunchy wrapper packing in a heaping serving of crisp cabbage. The scallion pancake is everything to write home about. A browned crust seals in the flaky, discrete layers of pastry and scallions, which congeal for a wonderfully savory and chewy dish. Let a slice soak in the flavorful ginger dipping sauce, and you’ll find yourself ordering another round for the ride home. Chef Leu’s take on General Tso’s chicken is as addictive as expected. Thick pieces of cubed chicken are glazed in the quintessential crunchy, sweet-and-spicy coating. Toss in a benign sprinkling of hot peppers, and this may be one of the most satisfying dishes on the menu.
If the low-key vibes don’t convince you to venture into the delicious unknown, a suggestion from Mei certainly will; her advice is spot-on. When it comes to meatless dishes, the Buddha’s Delight is her vegetarian diners’ favorite, she relays. A sampler of fresh veggies, including crisp snow pea pods and sliced brown bean curd, marinates in a classic and beloved brown sauce. The rice is cooked to sticky perfection; it’s delicious even without its entrée counterpart. Mei recommends the Black Dragon roll – spicy tuna and cucumber topped with eel, caviar, and avocado. Not only does it taste fresh, diners can watch the chef prepare the elaborately plated rolls from the sushi bar, complete with a dollop of leaf-shaped wasabi.
Thanks to the warm, flavorful dishes; friendly servers; and comfortable dining room, dinner at Chef Leu’s will surely become your weekly tradition.
Chef Leu’s House is located at 3761 Shelburne Road in Shelburne, across from Tenneybrook Square. The dining room is open Tuesday-Thursday 11am-9:30pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-10:30pm, and Sunday 12pm-9:30pm. Can’t pull yourself off the couch? Check out the menu at www.chefleuhouse.com and order take-out at 985-5258.