“He is one of the most talented Cantonese chefs in the world, and we are honored to have him as part of our team.”
February in New England can be cold, dark, and dreary. But one thing we can always count on to cheer us up is a nice meal with our loved ones on February 14th.
This year, Lunar New Year also begins on Feb 12th, with celebrations lasting nearly through the end of the month. This means that there are two big feasting holidays (whether you’re out or in) starting the same week! And for restaurants that have been under severe strain for the past year, this could be just the boost that they need to keep up morale through the season.
While dining out still looks a lot different, one local restaurant has brought in some backup to offer their guests a special experience for both Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year celebrations.
Red 8, one of the dining options inside Encore Boston Harbor, hired Michelin-starred chef Richard Chen to take over the kitchen as executive chef. Having opened more than a half dozen new restaurants across the country, Red 8’s new chef brings significant experience to Everett.
Chef Chen opened the Wing Lei restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas, where he earned a Michelin Star in 2008 and 2009, along with a collection of AAA Four and Five Diamond Awards. Wing Lei remains the only Chinese restaurant in North America to have earned a Michelin star.
According to Encore Boston Harbor President Brian Gullbrants, “We are thrilled to welcome Richard Chen as the new Executive Chef of Red 8. He is one of the most talented Cantonese chefs in the world, and we are honored to have him as part of our team.”
Guests can celebrate Lunar New Year at Red 8 with a traditional Lunar New Year feast which includes: braised fish maws soup, crispy chicken, steamed whole fish, red bean jelly cake, and more. Packages start at $188 for four guests.
Chef Chen said, “We have planned special menus featuring braised fish maw soup, crispy chicken, steamed whole fish, red bean jelly cake and more. Whether you have been to Red 8 before or not, I hope that you can come and join us for a Lunar New Year celebration this month.”
In addition to his Lunar New Year menu, Chef Chen has also put together a special Valentine’s Day meal—a prix fixe menu for $68 per person. This four-course meal features Cantonese classics like assorted dim sum for two, Peking duck salad, black cod, and wok-fried beef. And of course, the evening has to include something sweet, so there is a grapefruit tart with a chocolate pecan crust for dessert.
Reservations are recommended but not required and this meal is available for both dine-in and to-go orders. With both Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year falling during the same week this year, restaurants are sure to be quite busy (and still limited by the state’s 40% capacity requirement). As guests, we need to do our part for this industry that has suffered so much. Follow all the health and safety guidelines, wear your mask, keep your distance, and be courteous.
And remember: the industry continues to be battered by the ongoing pandemic, and remains hanging on by a thread. Support our local restaurants this week, treat yourself and your family to a meal out, or to some takeout to enjoy at home. There is still a long road ahead for them all.
J.Q. Louise is a food and travel writer based in Boston. Join her 100,000+ followers on Instagram @jqlouise and on her blog at https://jqlouise.com.