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CHAI
Photograph: Courtesy of CHAI

You'll feel like you're in the middle of Beijing at this new restaurant in midtown

Find CHAI in the Theater District.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan
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New York is filled with dining concepts that nod to far-off regions and cuisines, but seldom do said restaurants boast that same essence in terms of decor. CHAI, a new eatery at 353 West 46th Street by 9th Avenue in the Theater District, seeks to change that: the Beijing-inspired property offers dishes endemic to China but also looks just like the sort of venue you'd find in the far East.

CHAI
Photograph: Courtesy of CHAI
CHAI
Photograph: Courtesy of CHAI

At the bi-level restaurant, diners can select from over 80 regional dishes and a selection of craft cocktails made with traditional Chinese spirits served in eclectic vessels.

Palate satisfying standouts include the seafood bisque (cucumber, fish maw, abalone, beef tendon, rice and bok choy), stone pot tofu (sea urchin, edamame beans and pork slice), Beijing-style eggplant made with tomato and garlic, and Beijing zha jiang noodles served with soy bean paste and traditional accompaniments.

Make sure to try both the homemade plum juice with osmanthus, a flowering plant native to eastern Asia, and the Beijing-style pear soup, which can be served hot or cold, alongside your food.

CHAI
Photograph: Courtesy of CHAI
CHAI
Photograph: Courtesy of CHAI

But as interesting as the fare at CHAI is, it's the restaurant's interior decor that will give you pause (in a good way!). The architectural details of the space are meant to emulate a siheyuan, a traditional Chinese residence with buildings arranged on four sides around a courtyard. If you've ever been to that part of the world, the venue will also remind you of the city's hutongs, the alleys and narrow streets formed by lines of siheyuans.

The facade of the restaurant most readily embodies the spirit that shines bright inside of CHAI. Just walking by the new restaurant will make you feel like you've suddenly been transported smack-dab in the middle of awesome Beijing.

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