Tuesday - Thursday
11:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Friday & Saturday
11:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Noon to 9:30 p.m.
Monday - Closed
The Chinese word for fish is homonymous to the word "overabundance", so being served a whole steamed fish is a symbol of good will. And good eating, as Chef Leu's delicate tilapia was served to me and my dinner guests a few weeks ago. It came atop a pungent pool of thin brown misa and soy with a clear ginger zest. A bouquet of lemongrass and scallions offered a crisp texture to the soft uncious meat of the white fish.
The selections made by my dining companions highlighted the many Asian territories covered by Chef Leu's menu. One dinner took advantage of the relatively new Thai dishes now available at Leu's. An overflowing plate of Pad Thai (with chicken) was his choice. And he was happy with not only the degree of heat, but also the subtle sweetness of the plate. It was a win both by standards of quality and quantity. There was enough left for lunch the next day. (Which, btw, is typically the case: what is already a reasonably-priced menu is made even more so by the amount of food offered on each plate and the cheerful readiness of servers to pack up the leftovers--perfect for lunch the following day.)
Another friend dining with me that night made the choice of Flaming Ambrosia, representing the Mandarin side of Leu's talents. Our waiter, Chi Chi, adroitly spooned the flaming sauce over the two enormous pieces of chicken that had been deep fried and served with the classic pineapple and cherry fruit.
My husband decided on a surf and turf combination: sea scallops and slices of prime beef in a rich brown sauce. Chi Chi introduced the surf and turf to a sizzling hot pan tableside before serving. Crisp green pea pods accented both the color and texture of the dish. It was a winning combination.
It ended up that we all ventured away from what would be considered our "typical" Chef Leu selections and tried something new. And we were all more than happy with our selections. I am going to try to "broaden my Chef Leu horizons" over the course of this lunar year (it's the Year of the Dragon) because I have never been disappointed when I do so. Yet for some reason, it takes an act of congress for me to move away from my favorite viet Nam Salad with Spring Rolls (the flavor of the fish sauce is remarkable!). Ditto for my husband to give up his pork lo mein, which is served at our house frequently thanks to Chef Leu's take out menu. But we are always happy with the results when we travel to new locations on the menu.
Make time to stop by and enjoy all the cuisines of Chef Leu's House -- just five miles South of Burlington on Route 7, at 3761 Shelburne road in Shelburne. It is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. For a complete menu, visit www.chefleu.com. (802) 985-5259.
BEST CHINESE FOOD
Taiwan-born chef Leu and his Vietnam-born wife met at the Shanghai Garden in Brookline where he was head chef. Now they've joined forces at their restaurant, CHEF LEU'S HOUSE, in Vermont, producing some of the best MSG-free sizzling shrimp and spicy string beans in the Green Mountains.
OPEN MONDAY-THURSDAY 11:30 A.M.-9:30 P.M., FRIDAY AND SATURDAY 11:30 A.M.-10:30 P.M.; MODERATE. ROUTE 7,
SHELBURNE; (802) 985-5258.
Chef Leu’s celebrates 10 years!
by Judy Christensen - Shelburne News - May 7,2004 Chef Leu's House is celebrating its lOth anniversary, opening on Shelburne Road in 1994. Chef Hu Shung Leu and his wife Nancy had years of experience in the restaurant business and decided it was time to have a restaurant of their own. The Shelburne location was ideal; it had been an Italian restaurant and there weren't any other Asian restaurants in the vicinity at the time. Nancy is known for her warm and enthusiastic greeting to customers and Chef Leu is in the kitchen supervising the preparation of all the dishes. Their daughter Louise, now in high school, has grown up working with her parents at the restaurant, taking on more and more responsibilities of her own. Besides helping her mother greet customers, she enjoys working on nightly chef's specials and generates colorful menu inserts with descriptions and prices of special offerings.
Chef Leu's is known for a varied menu featuring well-prepared dishes from the outstanding regional cuisines of China and Southeast Asia. One of my favorites is Shrimp with Garlic Sauce or Yu Hsiang Style Shrimp. Yu Hsiang means "aromatic fish," a Szechuan style dish of shrimp water chestnuts and green peppers in a sauce combining sugar and vinegar with garlic and chili sauce to create a unique and subtle sweet and sour flavor. My son enjoys Chef Leu's version of General Gau's Chicken deep fried crispy cubes of chicken coated with water chestnut flour and eggs and cooked in a tangy hot ginger sauce, a great dish for kids.
Although Szechuan cuisine is now the most popular Chinese cuisine in many parts of the world, Hunan cuisine (interestingly where Mao Tse Tung was born) has gained in popularity. Both Hunan and Szechuan are famous for their fiery cooking and production of rice - Hunan produces rice in higher quantities than any other province in China but while the two cuisines have much in common, there are some differences. Hunan cuisine is often even hotter than Szechuan cooking. Red chili peppers are used extensively to cleanse the palate. The peppers may also be a defense against the humid weather because it is thought that hot foods such as red chili peppers dry out and cool down the body, making it easier to handle the heat and dampness. However, while Szechuan recipes often call for chili paste, Hunan dishes frequently use fresh chili peppers, including the seeds and membranes where most of the heat is contained. Try the Hunan Chow Foon with chicken, a dish made with soft flat noodles, broccoli, green peppers, water chestnuts, baby corn, onions and straw mushrooms in a flavorful hot and spicy sauce. The portions are ample served with steamed rice and there is usually plenty to take home.
The sizzling Peking Noodle Platter is a fun dish to have served at your table, Kung Pao Szechuan style which the menu says was invented by a teacher of a Manchu Prince is made with chili peppers (very hot), garlic, celery, scallions, dark soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and roasted peanuts. Another favorite of mine is Moo Shu style, a northern dish of shredded cabbage, bamboo shoots, tiger lily flowers, mushrooms, scallions, scrambled egg and a choice of pork, beef, chicken, shrimp or vegetarian served in a rice "crepe." The Chef's specialties are all worth trying, but a real favorite is the Chef's Spectacular, an unbelievable combination of lobster meat, chicken breast, pork, shrimp, and beef in a beautifully flavored sauce. Chef's Leu's uses only 100% vegetable oil and no MSG.
Open Monday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sundays and holidays, 12 noon to 9:30 -p.m., Chef Leu's will please your craving for Szechuan, Hunan, Mandarin or Vietnamese cuisines.. Call ahead at 985- 5258 for take-out or eat in and take advantage of Chef Leu's full bar and pleasing decor. Either way, when Nancy or Louise greet you, they'll make you feel right at home!