For diners venturing past the Crosstown into the developing West Side, a quirky, gourmet Chinese restaurant is quickly becoming a Charleston, South Carolina neighborhood favorite. Just one month since opening its doors, Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen has gained a loyal following.
One step inside the cozy and colorful ambiance was all it took to ensure I was in for an enjoyable experience. With jazzy music playing overhead, walls adorned with vintage firecracker art, bright red bird cages hanging above the bar, as well as appetizing smells and flavors tantalizing the taste buds, Lee Lee’s is treat for the senses. The Sichuan dumplings may be light and delicate but boast bold and spicy flavors. The kale salad is another must try (The rich, green chopped kale mixed with lightly breaded chicken, caramelized onions, and almonds, tossed in a tangy and sweet lemon-orange dressing is enough to share as a starter or enjoy as a meal.). The chef’s specialty, Hong Sho Ro, is a traditional Shanghai dish of pork belly in a piquant, five-spice brown sauce.
Be sure to order a few of the bar’s specialty drinks and spirits, especially one made with housemade grenadine. After sipping and sampling all Lee Lee’s has to offer, you will realize the Charleston culinary scene extends far beyond King and East Bay Streets. And that’s a firecracker of a good thing for discerning diners.