CHIKO Brings Chinese-Korean Takeout to Shirlington
Fan favorites at the fast-casual eatery by Danny Lee and Scott Drewno include cumin lamb stir-fry, char siu fried rice and kimchi stew.
Scott Drewno and Danny Lee had an instant hit in 2017 when they opened the first CHIKO, a fast-casual eatery specializing in Chinese-Korean takeout, in D.C.’s Barracks Row. Now devotees of their cumin lamb stir-fry and “orange-ish” chicken don’t have to go into the District to get the goods. In November, the chefs opened their fifth CHIKO—the first in Virginia—in the former DAK Chicken space (4040 Campbell Ave.) in the Village at Shirlington.
Prior to launching their partnership, The Fried Rice Collective, Drewno worked for Wolfgang Puck’s Fine Dining Restaurant Group for 19 years—10 of them as chef of The Source (now closed) in D.C.
Lee co-owns Mandu in the District with his mother, chef Yesoon Lee. The Fried Rice Collective also owns Anju Korean restaurant in Dupont Circle.
“Ever since we opened [CHIKO] in D.C., we had guests who’d come in from Virginia and ask us when we were going to open there,” says Lee, who grew up in Falls Church and Vienna. “Now we have, and we’re incredibly proud.”
The Shirlington café, designed by Lee’s wife, Natalie Park, is 1,300 square feet with seating for 30 inside and 12 outside.
Every CHIKO has a fried rice dish and a custard dessert that are exclusive to that location. Arlington’s renditions are a Chinese roast pork (char siu) fried rice, created by Drewno, and a makrut lime custard with blueberry compote, fresh blueberries and brittle-like candied sesame crackers.
Other standout dishes include kimchi stew packed with braised pork belly, dukbokki (chewy Korean rice cakes) and tofu in a ginger-chili oil broth; and salmon fillets rubbed with black-bean paste and furikake seasoning, served atop seasonal veggies in ponzu sauce. The stir-fried cumin lamb with wheat flour noodles, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, chili paste and fried shallots is also a fan favorite.
Make sure to order what CHIKO calls a “full monty” of six banchan (snacks). The spread features pickled daikon radish slices; a spicy Sichuan jicama-celery-carrot salad; Napa cabbage kimchi; steamed rice with furikake butter; Korean potato-and-egg salad; and poached shrimp with apple kimchi, chili oil and scallions.