The highly-anticipated new Upper East Side dim sum spot, from the popular Shun Lee chain of Chinese restaurants, begins its soft launch Thursday night, Upper East Site has confirmed— and we have your first look inside the brand new Shun Lee Cafe.
Located at 1442 Third Avenue, Shun Lee Cafe takes over the storefront near the corner of East 82nd Street left empty when Mad River Bar and Grill closed permanently a year and a half ago, Upper East Site was first to report in late May.
The window coverings that kept prying eyes out for weeks have finally been taken down and inside the spacious, but simple new restaurant, dozens of tables set and waiting for their very first customers.
Minimalist would probably be the best way to describe the decor right now. The walls inside the new Shun Lee Cafe are painted plain white with only a few plants strategically placed around the space— including little shelves holding little succulents on the brick walls in the rear of the restaurant.
A Shun Lee Cafe representative says the restaurant also has a seating area on the second floor and there are plans to build an L-shaped bar near the front of the restaurant’s ground floor.
Several bouquets of a flowers wrapped with red Shun Lee Cafe sashes brighten up the space, clearly part of the celebration for the eatery’s soft opening.
The Shun Lee chain of restaurants is known for being a pioneer in fine dining scene for Chinese cuisine in New York City, however, their Cafes offer a more relaxed dining experience with an extensive menu of small sharable plates.
You’ll find a little bit of everything on the menu— from dumplings and shumai to pork buns and savory pancakes.
Right now, the restaurant is not serving alcohol just yet, representatives for Shun Lee appeared before the Community Board 8 Street Life committee seeking a recommendation earlier this week.
The new restaurant’s official grand opening wont be until September as the staff works out all the kinks over the coming weeks.
Once that happens, regular hours are expected to be 11:30 am to 11:00 pm seven days a week.