Kong, Michael O’Halloran and Sophia Lee’s new Northern Liberties restaurant serving Hong Kong street food is set to open this Saturday, August 15 at 5:30 p.m. The good news: you can see the dinner menu, broken down into dim sum, dumplings, buns, house-made noodles and rice bowls, and the beer list, here. The great news: all dishes on the opening menu are $16 and under and they plan to keep them under $20. O’Halloran, who also owns Old City’s Bistro 7 and will be chef at Kong, was inspired by visits with Lee’s family to the homestyle food stalls in Hong Kong called dai pai dong; he and Lee, are eager to expose Philly’s population to that type of street fare, as opposed to the more traditional Chinese restaurants that make up the region’s Chinatown.
“Most Chinese restaurants are defined by tradition,” says O’Halloran, “there are no twists in Peking duck houses or noodle houses or dim sum places. Those are well-repped in Philly, but you don’t see any of that street food from the dai pai dongs,” which O’Halloran describes as home-cooking served in a convivial atmosphere. He plans on keeping it simple, “It’s street food - we don’t want to take it and gussie it up and strip the soul out of it. We want to serve big, giant, beer-friendly, full-flavored plates of food in a raucous environment, not a fine dining atmosphere.” There will also be Asian-inspired cocktails incorporating flavors like lychee and ginger.
We got an early look at the Dominic Episcopo-designed restaurant, which is still partially under construction; you can check out the details of the unusual decor in our slideshow.
Kong, 702 N. Second St.; 215-922-KONG