By Rowan Beck
A fixture of Shelburne’s Chinese cuisine, Chef Leu’s House has received quite a facelift. Owner Mei Wang decided that after 10 years of ownership, it was time for a makeover. Chef Leu’s has been a landmark in town for 20 years with very little change. Walking through the restaurant, Mei proudly points out the new windows that have changed the façade of the building. “The restaurant has become much brighter,” Mei exclaims. And she has changed more than just the windows.
Gone are the white tablecloths and outdated interior. Fresh, colorful paint in warm tones of beige and red cover the walls, and new wooden tables adorn a bigger banquet room, suitable for large parties and meetings. A two-toned wooden sushi bar has been added, giving diners front row seats to watch the chefs in action. Mei has also overhauled the entire menu, adding a new sushi and sashimi section. Chef Leu’s has always been known for its Chinese cuisine but is now serving select Thai and Japanese specialties. Mei has also fixed some of their most popular specials to the menu – but there are still new creations on the menu’s horizon, such as the delicious Spicy Tuna Pizza, a variation on a spicy tuna roll. Even with new features and revamped menu items, Mei’s favorite, Pineapple Shrimp, remains on the menu: crispy jumbo shrimp with green peppers, carrots, water chestnut, and pineapple chunks in a sweet-and-sour sauce.
New patio seating opens just in time for the summer. Several black, iron tables with bright red umbrellas sit within the patio’s wooden enclosure. Hanging plants and flowers brighten the corners. The patio has been well received; now Mei is just hoping for better weather: “Many customers have sat out there, but a few have had to come in from the rain.”
Mei has been thankful for the local support and her loyal customers who continued to come for takeout despite the renovation. She was told construction would take six weeks, but it ended up taking three months. “These things always take longer,” she says smiling. But she’s certainly happy with the results: “It is easier to work in,” she adds. The space has been opened up, allowing for easier movement for waitstaff and providing coziness for customers. Her regulars comment with pleasure on the new interior: “Wow, you guys have changed a lot!” Since the renovation, Mei is happy to report they have been much busier. Reservations are encouraged, since it may be more difficult than before to come in and grab a table. Still, walk-in diners can eat in the bar area, should a table not be available.
The renovation may have taken longer but it was well worth the wait, Mei admits. She encourages people to come in and try their new menu. Chef Leu’s is open Tuesday-Thursday, 11 am-9:30 pm; Friday-Saturday, 11 am-10:30 pm; Sunday, 12-9:30 pm; and closed Monday. For more information on take-out, peruse the menu online at chefleuhouse.com. If you can’t make it in, they deliver to Shelburne and South Burlington. No matter what, the new menu and atmosphere makes Chef Leu’s House a nice choice close to home.